CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – “Bank Fraud Alert – Did you approve a transaction for $1,000? Reply YES or NO,” a new text message scam pretending to be your bank to obtain money is circling cell phones according to the Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users of a new scam that con artists are impersonating your bank. A text message that looks like a fraud alert from your bank is sent in order to steal your money or personal information.

“Bank Fraud Alert – Did you approve a transaction for $1,000? Reply YES or NO”

If you reply to that text message, the scammer now knows they have an active number and a person to scam. They will then call with a number that appears to be from your bank and claim to help stop the fraudulent charges.

The caller walks you through the process of sending yourself money via Zelle or digital wallet app and they ask you to verify the connection by sharing the code your bank sent. The scammer can then set up an account with their banking information. When you send money to “yourself,” you’re actually sending money to the scammer.

One consumer reported this experience to BBB Scam Tracker: “I received two texts stating it was the Wells Fargo Fraud Department wanting to know if I had made a Zelle transfer… I responded no and immediately got another text stating, ‘Thank you, no further action is needed, a representative will call you from 800-869-3556.’ Within a few minutes, I got a call from an individual stating they were with the Wells Fargo fraud department. The caller ID on my phone said Wells Fargo, and the person said they could reverse the transaction if I sign into my online account and open the Zelle app. I did this and the caller asked if I saw my name. I told him I saw my name in two places. It looked like I would be sending money to myself. The caller said everything was fine and the money would come back to my account. After the call ended, I got two texts stating funds for $2,500 and $1,000 would be deposited in my Wells Fargo account. I went back into my account and there was no evidence of any deposits. What I did see was $3,500 taken out of my account and a zero account balance.”

Disputing the charges will be difficult, according to the Better Business Bureau because the scammer has tricked you into approving the transaction. Sending money through a digital wallet app is like using cash, making it very hard to get your money back.

The BBB has the following tips to avoid bank fraud scams:

  • Understand your bank’s policies. Know that your bank will never ask you to send money to yourself. If someone tries to convince you otherwise, it’s a scam.
     
  • Watch out for fake caller IDs. Scammers can spoof caller ID names and numbers to make you think you are receiving a call from a reputable source. If you weren’t expecting to be contacted by your bank, it’s best to avoid answering. Instead, call the number on the back of your ATM card to confirm that there is an issue.
     
  • Never share one-time passcodes. Scammers can use one-time passcodes from your bank or any other company to access your accounts and change information. Don’t share them with anyone, no exceptions.
     
  • Contact your bank if you suspect a scam. If you receive an unsolicited call, text, or email that you suspect is a scam, contact your bank immediately and let them know.
     
  • Don’t reply to suspicious texts. Ignore any instructions to reply yes or no if you receive an unsolicited, suspicious text message. If you reply to a scammer, they could save your number as “active” and target you with future scams.