My phone dinged the other day, indicating that I had a new text message. It was my bank letting me know that there had been unauthorized activity in my account and asking me to respond to the link in the text ASAP.

It is alarming any time you get a message like this. My instinct was to stop everything and respond to the text to ensure that my money was safe. But then a more rational thought hit me—This is likely a scam…don’t respond!!

In 2022, consumers lost a staggering $10.3 billion to scammers, according to the FBI. By pretending to be from banks, credit card ­issuers and investment-
management companies, scammers prey on our fear that our money will be stolen. By responding to the text or clicking on the link, you open the door for the scammer to get personal information from you that will allow him/her to invade your account.

You’ve heard all this before, but it bears repeating—even for me, who reads about scams like this every day…

Never respond to a text from your bank or other financial entity via the link or phone number in the text. Instead, contact the company using the phone number on your bank, credit card or investment statement.

Don’t trust Caller-ID. Scammers know how to fake the name of your financial institution on Caller-ID.

Never share your infonot your Social Security number, password, username, credit card or bank account numbers, birth date, etc.

The most basic advice I can give you—beware of everyone when it comes to your money!

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