Someone I know showed me a text message they had received the other day. The full text message was as follows:
URGENT: Capital One Fraud Case 240: Did you chrg $12.50 on 03/05 at 7-ELEVEN 29261 on card 5451? Yes, rply 000. No, rply 001. Std carrier chrges apply
My usual knee-jerk response is that it was fraudulent, probably an attempt to sign victims up for monthly charges on their mobile phone bills, but I wasn’t 100% sure because my acquaintance does, in fact, have a Capital One credit card. Furthermore, she doesn’t actively use her card, so any charges that did suddenly come through would likely be flagged as suspicious. And, just to make things more complicated, some people online (we did a search on the phrase “Capital One Fraud Case”) claim that these ARE legitimate text messages.
But here is where we find out that this text message is fraudulent:
- The last four digits of her card number are not 5451.
- I told her to log in to her account online and check the “Messages and Alerts.” There were none.
- I asked if she had ever added her mobile phone number to her account. She had not (the field was blank).
- There were no charges for $12.50 from anywhere.
- I called Capital One’s customer service and asked; if there were suspicious charges, they send emails or call, and there WOULD be an alert when you log in to your account online. “If you haven’t given us your cell number, we certainly wouldn’t be able to text you.”
So I’m calling this definitive: THESE TEXT MESSAGES ARE A SCAM. Most likely they’re trying to sign you up for a non-service that just charges your phone bill every month (that “Std carrier chrgs apply” portion of the message).
Now, the Capital One service rep made it sound like they might use text messages to contact their customers (I neglected to ask the question outright), but the evidence against this particular one is pretty overwhelming.
If you get a text message like this, no matter whom it appears to come from, DO NOT REPLY TO IT. You have to find out if it’s real before you act, with 100% certainty. Log in to your credit card account online and check whatever message/alert system they have in place, as well as recent charges. Look at the card number referenced in the text…does it match?
If you don’t use their online system, sign up for it, using an email you only use for bills and a very long password made of random letters, numbers and special characters.
Or, call their customer service line directly (use what’s on the card, on your bill, or look it up at the company’s website) and ask about charges on your card, as well as fraud alerts or any other relevant information.