Forest, VA - A new scam seems more personal. The scammers are using text messages, instead of emails, and it's working.
These texts target people's bank accounts. Central Virginia has seen a handful of victims in just the last week, four in Bedford County alone. Friday, ABC 13 talked with a Forest woman who fell victim to the scam texts.
Meredith Livengood got a text message late Friday. She believed it was her credit union.
"It said, I needed to go online because my account had been suspended," said Livengood.
She rushed to fix the frozen account, clicked the link, and typed in her private information.
"The name, the card number, the expiration date, and I believe it was the pin as well," said Livengood.
That moment, Livengood says, it felt okay.
"Did it feel legitimate?" we asked.
"It did to me. Because normally I'm very careful, but it wasn't careful enough this time," said Livengood.
The next day, someone drained $343 from Livengood's account, and law enforcement stepped in. Turns out, the text was not from a credit union; it was from a scammer.
"It's just like fishing. You're just throwing out your line there and hoping somebody's going to bite," said Major Ricky Gardner, Bedford County Sheriff's Office.
To avoid getting phished, the FTC gives a few tips: One, don't respond to an email or text asking for personal or financial information. And two, check your bank account frequently for charges you didn't make.
"Before releasing any information, you've got to verify you are giving it to the proper people," said Gardner.
Fortunately, Livengood's credit union will repay the $343. But, lesson learned: if it smells slimy, it probably is.
"I was a little it fishy about it. Should have followed my gut," said Livengood.
Law enforcement says these scams are hard to solve . The scammers are often out of state. And federal agencies, which handle these reports, are often too bogged down.