FTC: Bogus bank messages most common text scam

Bogus bank fraud warnings are the most common text message scam reported to the Federal Trade Commission, with scammers usually impersonating larger financial institutions, the agency said Thursday in a new report.

Consumers reported losing $330 million to text scams in 2022, more than double what was reported in 2021, the FTC said. The agency examined a randomized sample of 1,000 scams and found that fake bank security messages were the most common type, with scammers often impersonating large banks. It also noted that reports of texts impersonating banks have increased nearly twentyfold since 2019.

“These texts are designed to create a sense of urgency, often by asking people to verify a large transaction they did not make,” the FTC said in a statement. “Those who respond are connected to a fake bank representative.”

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission has issued a series of proposals to crack down on text scams. The American Bankers Association and eight financial sector trade associations this week urged the FCC to require text messages to be authenticated and set a deadline for the development and mandatory implementation of a text message authentication solution. The groups also said they support the agency’s proposal to require terminating mobile wireless providers to investigate and potentially block texts from a sender after they are on notice from the commission that the sender is transmitting suspected illegal texts.