Image of a computer scammer in red.

Texting Scams On The Rise

A number of fraudulent text messages, carefully designed to mimic legitimate card fraud alerts, have recently been reported in the area. These deceptive messages are designed to trick individuals into revealing sensitive card and personal information. Union State Bank is urging its customers to exercise caution to protect themselves from falling prey to these scams.

According to Mike McWhirt, Union State Bank’s Chief Risk Officer, these types of scams, commonly referred to as smishing, are unfortunately on the rise. The term "smishing" is derived from combining "SMS" (Short Message Service) with "phishing," indicating the deceptive practice of using text messages to trick individuals into divulging personal information. The popularity of smishing is attributed to its effectiveness and the widespread use of texting in today's society.

“Use caution before responding to a text message from a number you don’t recognize.  If you receive a text from an unknown number, look it over carefully and look for red flags before responding.  Red flags could include misspellings, grammatical errors, missing or inaccurate information, or other information requesting urgent attention or response,” cautioned McWhirt. 

The scammers have gone to great lengths to make this most recent message appear authentic, displaying a fabricated transaction at a Target store in North Carolina. However, McWhirt cautions that the specific verbiage could be changed at any time.

“The more people know about these types of scams, the less likely it is that they will become a victim. Education is key. The bank provides customers with fraud education through its website, social media, and newsletter,” McWhirt said.

One of the keys to customer education is understanding what your financial institution’s fraud monitoring procedures consist of. Union State Bank has secure authentication practices and monitoring in place to detect and respond to fraudulent activity. 

“USB utilizes fraud monitoring software to identify transactions processing out of the state, or out of the country, the software also analyzes if the transaction is larger than the customers prior transaction activity,” explained Stephanie Quiggle, Union State Bank’s Bank Secrecy Act Officer.

If customers receive a text alert that seems suspicious, particularly if it lacks the last four digits of their card number or is sent from a different phone number than previous alerts, the bank recommends refraining from responding.

“Don’t respond before taking a minute to think through what is being stated or asked within the text or email. Are you being instructed to call a phone number or click on a link to take you to another site? Don’t! Look up the phone number to the branch you normally visit, not the phone number provided,” said Quiggle.

In the unfortunate event that a customer believes they have fallen victim to a smishing scam, Union State Bank advises immediate contact with the bank. Prompt action will be taken to protect their accounts and update any compromised account or security information. Victims are also encouraged to file a police report and report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at For those whose social security numbers may be compromised, placing a fraud alert on credit reports is recommended.

By remaining alert to the red flags associated with these scams and promptly contacting the bank for verification, customers can play an active role in protecting themselves from falling victim to such deceptive practices. If in doubt, Union State Bank encourages individuals to reach out directly to verify the legitimacy of any communication, reinforcing the importance of a collaborative effort to combat financial scams.

Union State Bank is committed to working with its customers to ensure the security of their financial information and will continue to educate and update them on potential threats.

About Union State Bank: Founded in 1908, Union State Bank has banking locations serving communities of Arkansas City, Newton, Udall, Winfield, and Wichita in Kansas and in Bartlesville and Edmond, Oklahoma. Union State Bank offers a full range of electronic, deposit and cash management services, as well as business and agriculture, commercial real estate, construction, mortgage, residential and consumer loans. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender, NMLS# 412388