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November 07, 2016

A.G. Beemer warns Pennsylvania residents of email, text message scam

Pennsylvania residents should be on the lookout for unsolicited inquiries for personal information, according to state Attorney General Bruce R. Beemer.

Beemer issued a warning Monday that his office has received a number of complaints regarding a phishing scam. State residents have been targeted via email and text messages.

During one attempt, a woman claimed she was sent a text message from a scammer posing as a representative of a legitimate financial institution. The message directed her to fill out personal bank account information on a website.

“Your bank will never ask you to provide personal information in an unsolicited email, text message or phone call," Beemer said. “These scams aim to cause confusion and force consumers into a quick decision. It is extremely important to take the time to assess the situation. When in doubt, contact your bank."

PayPal users should also be on alert for another scam. A man reported that he received a message about an erroneous purchase. To cancel the transaction, he was asked to enter his account information on a spoof website.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection advises those who believe they are being targeted by scammers to do the following:

• Never reply to unsolicited emails, pop-up messages or texts asking for personal or financial information.

• Do not call any phone numbers contained in messages. Also, do not open any links or documents contained in these messages — they may route you to a bogus website or download a virus onto your computer or mobile phone.

• Providing sensitive information to strangers by phone is as dangerous as sending it in an email.

• If you are not sure whether your bank or another company is trying to reach you, call the company directly at the telephone number on your card or monthly statement to speak with a representative.

• Carefully review your account statements to look for unauthorized transactions.

Anyone who wishes to file a complaint is urged to contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-(800)-441-2555 or submit here electronically.