UNION COUNTY — A scam that uses automated phone calls to try to trick people into giving out their credit card information is also sending out text messages.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that several Union County residents had received phone calls involving a recorded message claiming to be from a credit card company. Sheriff David Taylor said the message gives the resident a phone number and instructs them to call it and leave their name and credit card number and the company will call them back about problems with their card.
Taylor, however, said that he’d contacted SLED about the calls and that together they’d confirmed that the calls are a scam. He said the calls, which are showing up all over South Carolina, are originating from outside the United States.
This morning, the sheriff’s office announced that not only are the scammers using phone calls to try and scam people, they are also using text messages. Since it first warned the public on Thursday, the sheriff’s office has received a great deal of feedback on its Facebook page not only from people who said they’d received the phone calls, but from those who said they’d received text messages directing them to call the phone number.
The sheriff’s office provided the following sample of the text message, errors and all:
([A c h i e v e C a r d])
Contact HelpDesk: 205
490 7688 . Immediatelly.
Taylor said that scams like this can give themselves away if people pay close attention to signs that it is indeed a scam.
“One of the best ways to tell whether or not it is a hoax is if it has misspelled words in the text or broken English,” Taylor said. “That’s pretty much the easiest one to look for.”
Taylor added that the misspellings and broken English are due to the fact that the scams often originate in countries where English is not the primary language.
In addition, Taylor said legitimate credit card companies do not contact their customers in this manner. He said this is another sign that such messages like the one going around now are scams.
Taylor reiterated that the public should ignore the calls and the text messages and not give out their credit card information. He said that if a scammer gets a hold of that information they can use it to drain a person’s account
If anyone has called the number in the phone and/or text message (205-490-7688) and given their credit information, Taylor said they should immediately contact their credit card company and have the their card canceled and contact his office.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.