Monday, February 23, 2009

T-Mobile Text Scam! Revealed on the train!

I got a text today, at 6:24pm, from 5000 that read:
"ApplicationCenter / This is an automated message from Transwest Credit Union.Your ATM card has been suspended.To reactivate call urgent at 1-888-400-6825."

I thought it was a little weird that it came from 5000, since usually texts not from phone numbers are from T-Mobile, acknowledging payment or whatever.

Still, I only have 2 ATM cards.  My main bank is Key Bank, and they are fantastic.  But they really have no reason to suspend my account.  And if they were thinking about it, they would call me first.  I got a call from them when I was back east last year, because I was using my debit card far from Utah and they wanted to make sure I knew about it.  So I let them know I was on vacation and they put a note in my account.

My other ATM card is for WaMu (now Chase.)  I opened an account with them because I wanted a savings account with them (they promised an unheard of interest rate for a regular savings account), and they said I needed a free checking account to start a savings account.  But that account has like $5 in it, so it's nothing to worry about.

And anyway, neither of those banks are Trans-whatever, so I didn't worry about it.  I figured it was a scam and forgot all about it.  That was at 6:24pm today.

Just now I got off of TRAX, where we had an amazing conversation.

TRAX was packed.  People had been waiting at the transfer stop for like 30 minutes, and finally a University train came.  "What are you guys all coming from?" I asked one of the guys near me, and he told me they were coming from a Jazz game.  And then he started talking to his friend.  

He said he'd signed up and they gave him a $20 gift card.  He used it to buy a hat.  He still had to pay $15 towards the hat, but that was what he had used it for, anyway.  And then he got this text.  He read off a free number, and his friend tried to call it, on speakerphone.  "ALL CIRCUITS ARE BUSY" the line said, and it disconnected.

"It's probably because I'm not calling from your phone," the friend said.

"Oh.  Yeah," the guy realized.  "Well, when I called earlier, the first thing it asked me for was my credit card number, and I was like oh, no, you are not getting that, and I hung up."

And then he said something about Transwest.

"Hey!  Wait!  I got that too," I told him. 

"You did?  You got the text too?"

"Yeah!" I remembered, and I pulled my phone out to bring up the message.

"It said your ATM card was suspended?" he confirmed.

"Yeah!" I said.

"I got that too," another girl near us announced.

And it became a whole conversation among the eight people seated across from each other and me standing in the aisle near them.

"Did you all sign up at the Transwest booth too??" the guy asked us.

"Huh?  No.  I wasn't even at the game."  The other girl shook her head.

"I am so relieved.  I signed up at the Transwest booth at the game... you know how they'll give you things if you sign up for a credit card...  Well, they gave me a $20 gift card, and I got this hat that I'm wearing."  He lifted the bill a bit, to show us.  "And then all of the sudden I got this text during the game!"

The other girl nodded.  I didn't, because I don't sign up for credit cards to get free stuff.  Ever.

"I never sign up for anything," I said.  (I don't.)

"I always sign up for those.  You know, you get a blanket at the U games.  Or one time!  One time I signed up for a credit card to get a free pizza," he continued.

We all kind of laughed.

"What time did you guys get the message?"  I asked.

"8:30," the guy said.  "I couldn't even pay attention to the game after that.  I was so worried!  My buddy asked me the score, and I was like [he made a blank face, staring off]"

"6:30," the other girl said.

"I got mine at 6:24."

And then we kind of talked about how it came from 5000, which seemed like an official number.  And we talked about how I never put my phone number on anything, and I don't have Transwest, so it's definitely a scam.  

But the fact remained that although three of us had gotten us, several people around us had not.

"Do you guys have T-Mobile?  Is this a T-Mobile thing?" I asked them.

"I have T-Mobile," the girl said.

"I have T-Mobile too," the guy said, holding his phone up.

"I have Verizon and I didn't get it," another girl near us said, "It must be a T-Mobile thing."  

"Mine is Verizon too, and I didn't get it either," another guy said.  And that settled things.

"You guys, I was so worried!  I'm so glad you guys got it too!  I was like, I signed up for a credit card and now I have a time share!"

The guys who were originally talking about it got off at the next stop.  The rest of us kept talking about it for a few more stops.  We talked about how crazy it was that they could hack the customer list, or whatever happened.  We talked about how this couple got a call years after they were married, where someone told them they had won a vacation, and they said there was no catch, but they wanted to know if he was 25.  He wasn't.  So they wanted his parents' phone number.  And he said no.  He was like, "I'm 23, and you want to talk to my parents?  Why?"

It was a pretty funny conversation.

And then we all got off the train a couple stops later.  "Have a good one!" the guy said to me as I was getting off.  

"I dunno," I said seriously.  "I hear my debit card has been suspended..."

And our half of the train chuckled.

[N.B. Photo lovingly stolen from here, because I thought it was fantastic.]


Katie843 said...
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Katie843 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

sorry i don't know what happened with my last posts. i don't know you, but i found your blog because i received the same text message tonight at 8:22. after i got it i knew it had to be a scam because i've been studying in my apartment in provo all night, and i've never done anything with transwest credit union. so i got on google to find out if there was anything about this text. however, i'm on sprint, not t-mobile. it doesn't even have a number that it came from, just a number to call and probably get your identity stolen. ha. so weird.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I got this message today at work. I didn't recognize Transwest and I only have two credit cards and haven't used them in a few months. I called the number and the first thing they wanted was the credit card number (after prompting me to press one before any rings came through).

I also have T-Mobile, something must have been hacked. I wonder if they know about this.

Michael said...

Hey, thanks for the informative post. I just got a text at 1:00AM. I thought it was real since I just made a purchase online.

I logged on to MACU instead, to see if there were any issues on their side, but I couldn't find anything.

Thanks for posting so quickly and for helping me avoid this scam.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I live in Utah and I received this text at 1:42 AM, so I immediately searched with Google to confirm my suspicions. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I appreciate the information as I too live in Utah, have T-mobile, received the weird text. But it came at 9:51PM.

Emily said...

You're welcome, everyone!

It's crazy that so many of us got this.

Anonymous said...

I WORK at TransWest and can confirm this is a phishing scam. Upon talking with T-Mobile apparently this is a nationwide problem and it is likely the entire T-Mobile customer database has been compromised. So far we have contacted the company owning the 1(800) numbers and have had 5 1(800) numbers disconnected in an attempt to prevent further fraud.

T-Mobile will not do anything to help us hault these messages, as we are not customers and I encourage you (if you are a customer of T-Mobile) to call and complain.

Anonymous said...

I got a text around midnight and another around 2:30. I found your blog this morning and started asking all my family and friends with t-mobile if they'd gotten it. They all had. Me, my mom and sister all got second messages at the same time so my mom called t-mobile. It's not only a t-mobile thing, it's happening to lots of phone companies and there is an investigation going on to find out what exactly is happening. I also searched around the internet and found someone in another state talking about a similar message they also got from "5000" but theirs said "Vantage" credit union, not transwest. I've never heard of transwest till today but apparently the scammers are changing the name of the credit union for each state. You'd think they'd change it to Zions or Wells Fargo if they really wanted to trick people....

Amy said...

Emily you're famous girl! Sorry it's under scammy circumstances...

Anonymous said...

I got the same text message 4 times. Thank you for the heads up because when I got it I immediatly searched the internet for answers. Thank you so much!