Citizens Bank SMS: Scam or Real Message?

In recent years, there has been a growing number of phishing attempts being made in the financial industry, including on Citizens Bank customers. Scammers use what appears to be legitimate texts to trick Citizens Bank customers into providing sensitive information such as their login credentials and passwords.

These scammers either act as bank representatives or generate texts asking customers to confirm payment or other information in an attempt to gain unauthorized access to their personal bank accounts.

This post will shed light on how you can identify Citizens Bank text message scams.

Legitimate Citizens Bank SMS

While Citizens Bank does send text messages to their customers as part of their customer fraud protection services, it’s helpful to know the type of communication they send so you know what’s legitimate. Citizens Bank may contact you via SMS for some of the following reasons:

  • To confirm transaction amounts and merchant details
  • If they detect suspicious activities in your account
  • To send you a unique pin for multi-factor authentication when you log in to your account.

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Red Flags of the Citizens Bank SMS Scam

While it’s reassuring to know that your bank is monitoring your account, fraudsters are trying to take advantage by sending text messages that are supposedly from Citizens Bank. These text messages are designed to steal your personal information.

Here are four ways of telling whether a Citizens Bank SMS is a scam or not:

1. Look for Spelling and Grammatical Mistakes 

Grammar and/or spelling mistakes are telltale signs of an illegitimate source. All official communications from a bank are usually checked thoroughly for any errors before being sent to customers. As such, it’s highly unlikely that they will have spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Spelling and grammatical errors can be hard to spot with some of the abbreviations used in text messages. However, simple things such as a hyphen used in Citizens-Bank or spelling the name of the bank as Citizen Bank instead of Citizens Bank are a red flag. You should also check for unfinished sentences, missing signs, and unusual spacing between characters. If you catch such mistakes in the text message, then there is a reason to be suspicious.

2. The Sender’s Email Address Looks Suspicious 

Scammers tend to send emails that have a forged sender address. Such emails are aimed at tricking the recipient into thinking that someone or an organization they trust sent the email while, in fact, they were sent by a scammer. Spoofed email messages are quite straightforward—the threat actor usually emails to steal their victim’s personal information.

If you have a reason to question the legitimacy of an email address, or even if you’re unsure that it’s from your banker, don’t reply. Maybe you’ve received an email from someone claiming to be a representative of Citizens Bank saying that you have a balance on your credit card that needs to be paid, but your online account information says otherwise. You should contact Citizens Bank to report such activities or check whether they are authentic.

3. The Message Threatens Some Sort of Adverse Action Such as Your Account Being Closed 

Another telltale sign of a scam is receiving a message that threatens you to take action urgently or face a consequence, say your bank account being closed. If you receive a message that is supposedly from Citizens Bank urging you to take drastic action urgently, the chances are that it is from scammers. It is advisable not to take the action that the message asks for. Rather you should visit the bank to ascertain the legitimacy of the message.

4. The SMS Contains a Link or a Phone Number That Instructs You to Click or Call Urgently 

Clicking on links or calling phone numbers sent to you via text message can provide scammers with the gateway for accessing your personal or bank account information.

If you suspect a link sent to you is unsafe, there is an easy way of telling where it will take you. Suppose you have a PC or desktop; simply hover over the link to find out where it leads. On a mobile device, hold your finger on the link until a preview pops up.

The Best Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed

  • Don’t respond: If you are not 100% sure of the source of the text, then don’t call the number or click on the link on the text, or reply to it.
  • Don’t give out your information: Unless you are certain you are communicating with a Citizens Bank representative, never provide any personally identifiable information. Remember: Citizens Bank associates will never ask you to provide login credentials and financial information via text, email, or unsolicited calls.
  • Research and validate: If you receive a suspicious SMS that is supposedly from Citizens Bank, ensure that the request is made on the text is legitimate by calling through the bank’s official number from their website. Alternatively, you can visit the bank to validate the request.

What Should You Do in Case You Share Your Personal Information

If you have mistakenly shared your personal information, it’s crucial to have a recovery plan in place to safeguard your assets and minimize the damage. Here are some measures that you can take:

  • Contact Citizens Bank: Reach out to Citizens Bank and report what happened. The bank can immediately put a hold on your account to ensure that no one accesses your money.
  • Change the password on your Citizens Bank account: Ensure that your password is unique and strong. Suppose you don’t use a password manager, then it is time to sign up for one.
  • Continuously monitor your account for signs of unusual activities.
  • Report the incident to the credit bureaus and freeze your credit.
  • Report the scam to the local authorities and the FTC.

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Written by James Forbis
Posted on: August 19, 2022
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