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Fake Bank & Custodian Texts: How to Identify and Avoid Scams

Safeguard your savings by understanding real-life, fraudulent text-messaging schemes.
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Published: June 24, 2024 | By TruWealth Advisors

In today’s digital age, the prevalence of fake financial institution text (bank and custodian) messages is a growing concern that demands immediate attention. Often part of sophisticated phishing schemes, these messages are designed to swindle individuals out of their hard-earned money and compromise their personal financial information. As technology evolves, so do the tactics of scammers, making it increasingly important for individuals to stay informed and vigilant.


Since 2020 (the COVID pandemic) we have seen a tremendous increase in text messaging scams involving financial institutions. As shown below, one particular client received a text message from her bank as follows (information changed to protect privacy).


The client received a text message at 2:02 PM from her bank. The bank’s name was included in the text message to trick the client into thinking that her bank was the actual SENDER of the text message.



Most people would not think it harmful to merely click Yes or No to such a text message. But as you will see in the next text message, by clicking Yes or No, the client was playing right into the hands of the scammers.



Some scammers will have fake call centers set up to call you in furtherance of the scam. In this particular situation, the client received an automated call from the scammers using the name of the financial institution notifying the client that they would receive a text message to reset their username and password. Within seconds, the client received the text messages as shown below.



When the client received the request to reset her password, she became concerned and discontinued the process, and called her financial institution. The financial institution told the client that she had just avoided a scam that could have emptied all of her bank accounts.


The ability to identify fake bank text messages and understand the mechanisms of these scams is not just advantageous—it’s essential for protecting one’s financial security and peace of mind.


Unrecognized Short Codes: Legitimate banks typically use consistent, recognizable short codes for communication. If a message comes from an unfamiliar number or a code that does not match the bank’s official communications, it’s a strong indicator of a scam.


Suspicious Links: Scammers often include links that lead to fraudulent websites. These links may be shortened to obscure their destination, making it difficult to determine their legitimacy without clicking. Always verify links independently rather than clicking on them directly from the message.1


Poor Grammar and Spelling: Professional messages from banks are usually well-written and free of errors. Messages containing unusual phrasing, grammatical errors, or spelling mistakes should raise suspicions. Such errors are often tactics used by scammers to evade spam filters. 2


Unusual Urgency in Message: Phishing attempts often create a false sense of urgency to provoke immediate action. Messages demanding urgent attention or quick responses, especially those involving your financial accounts, are likely fraudulent.


Requests for Personal Information: Any text message asking for personal or sensitive information like passwords, PINs, or banking details is a red flag. Banks do not request such information through insecure platforms like SMS.3


Scammers employ various deceitful tactics through text messages to manipulate individuals into divulging personal information or transferring money. Below are some common types of fake bank text messages.


Fraud Alerts: Often, scammers send messages mimicking bank fraud alerts. They may claim that suspicious activity has been detected on your account or that a large purchase was made. These messages typically prompt you to verify the transaction by clicking on a link or contacting a fake customer service number, leading to potential theft of personal information or funds.


Account Suspension Notifications: Another frequent scam involves messages stating that your bank account has been suspended due to unusual activity. The message urges you to update your account information through a provided link to lift the suspension, which is a ploy to capture your login credentials.


Large Purchase Confirmations: Scammers might notify you about a supposedly large purchase and request confirmation. This type of message aims to create panic, prompting you to act hastily without verifying the claim, leading to potential information compromise.


Unusual Login Attempts: Messages alerting you to unusual login attempts can appear to be security measures from your bank but are often scams. These texts may ask you to secure your account by clicking on a link that leads to a fraudulent website.


Password Reset Requests: A common phishing tactic includes fake notifications for password resets. These messages suggest that your account security is at risk and provide a link to reset your password, which instead leads to a phishing site designed to steal your credentials.


By understanding these common types of fake bank text messages, individuals can better protect themselves from falling victim to these scams. Always verify the authenticity of any suspicious message directly with your bank before taking any action.

Do Not Respond

If you receive a text message asking for personal or financial information, do not respond. Scammers use urgency or alarming content to provoke immediate action. Legitimate companies, including banks, will not request sensitive information through text messages.

Verify through Official Channels

Before taking any action, verify the authenticity of the message by contacting the company directly using a known phone number or website. Do not use contact details provided in the message as these could be part of the scam. This step is crucial to prevent giving out information to potential fraudsters.


If you receive a call from someone stating they are a representative of Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab and you feel uncomfortable with the questions being asked, or if they ask you to provide any personal information, hang up immediately and call TruWealth Advisors at 504-779-7799. We will assist you in verifying if the call you received was legitimate or a scam.

Report to Authorities

Forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (SPAM) to help your wireless provider block similar threats. Additionally, report the incident to the FTC at or through the messaging app you use. These reports assist in tracking and mitigating such scams effectively.

Use Strong Passwords

To enhance security, individuals should create passwords that are at least eight characters long, incorporating a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Alternating between upper and lower case letters, such as ‘tRAnsFeR’, and using “hacker speak” by substituting letters with similar-looking numbers or special characters, like ‘b@Nk1nG’, can significantly strengthen passwords. It is also advisable to base passwords on phrases or sentences to facilitate recall of complex combinations. Importantly, personal information, common words, or easily guessed details should be avoided in passwords to prevent security breaches.4 5

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor or multi-factor authentication adds a critical layer of security, combining something you know (like a password) with something you have (such as a phone or code). This method has significantly enhanced account security, though it is not entirely foolproof. Financial institutions often offer multi-factor authentication options, adding questions or sending codes to a registered device, thereby providing additional protection.6

Regular Monitoring of Accounts

Regularly reviewing account activity is crucial for early detection of unauthorized transactions. Setting up alerts for unusual activity and monitoring account statements can help identify and address potential fraud swiftly. Financial institutions typically provide options to receive notifications for significant account changes, which should be utilized to maintain security. In the event of suspected fraud, immediate contact with the bank is essential to secure accounts and mitigate potential damages.7 8


To fortify your defenses against scams, it is crucial to leverage various tools and resources. Here are some recommended categories.


Security Apps: Security software is essential for maintaining safe online interactions. Regular updates for security software, including on your mobile devices, are paramount. Utilize multi-factor authentication for added security layers on your accounts, ensuring only authorized access.


Credit Monitoring Services: Credit monitoring services play a pivotal role in protecting your financial health by alerting you to any unusual activities or changes in your credit report. Services such as Experian and Identity Guard offer comprehensive protection features, including fraud resolution support and extensive monitoring capabilities, which cover everything from your credit score to social media and home title monitoring.9


Educational Resources and Guides: Staying informed is your first line of defense against scams. Educational resources that teach you to identify, react to, and report suspicious activities are invaluable. Websites like the FTC provide guidelines and updates on the latest scam tactics, helping you stay one step ahead of fraudsters.


By integrating these tools and resources into your daily routine, you can significantly enhance your ability to detect and respond to potential threats, safeguarding your personal and financial information effectively.


Hopefully we have armed our readers with critical insights into the growing menace of fake bank text messages and the sophisticated phishing schemes behind them. We sought to shed light on key indicators of fraudulent messages - from unrecognized short codes to suspect links, spelling errors, unwarranted urgency, and unsolicited requests for personal information. Equipped with this knowledge, alongside actionable steps such as not responding directly to suspect texts, verifying information via official channels, and reporting potential scams, individuals can significantly bolster their defense against these digital threats.


Furthermore, adopting best practices for securing personal banking information, which includes using strong, unique passwords and enabling two-factor authentication, forms an essential stopgap against unauthorized access to financial data. Regularly monitoring bank accounts and engaging with credible credit monitoring services ensures any discrepancies are caught and addressed promptly. Should you encounter a text message from our custodians, Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab that raises suspicion, do not hesitate to call us at 504-779-7799 and let us help verify the legitimacy of the request. Ultimately, staying informed and applying these preventive measures can safeguard your financial well-being against the increasingly sophisticated landscape of digital fraud.


Building wealth is a journey, but protecting it is equally important. At TruWealth Advisors, we understand that identity theft can be a significant concern. Our experienced financial advisors and staff are here to guide you. We can answer your questions about identity protection and provide peace of mind knowing your assets are secure. Contact us today – let’s work together to safeguard your financial future. Contact Us to explore options that best align with your personal financial goals.


Contact Numbers


Fidelity Investments: 800-343-3548


Charles Schwab: 800-435-4000


TruWealth Advisors: 504-779-7799



  1. Roger Grimes, Here Is What You Can Do to Inspect SMS URL Links Before Clicking.
  2. Joseph Steinberg, Why Scammers Make Spelling and Grammar “Mistakes.”
  3. Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Advice, How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages.
  4. Citi Group, Creating Strong Passwords.
  5. Texas Tech Federal Credit Union, 4 Tips for Creating a Strong Online Banking Password.
  6. Bankrate, Two-Factor Authentication for Your Financial Accounts — Here’s How Secure it Really Is.
  7. Gorham Savings Bank, Account Monitoring Tips.
  8. Rebecca Lake, How Often Should You Monitor Your Checking Account?
  9. Jackie Lam, Best Credit Monitoring Services: Your Options to Keep an Eye on Your Score.

Additional Resources

  1. City National Bank, How to Identify & Avoid Bank Text Scams.
  2. Bank of America, A New Bank Imposter Scam Is Circulating. What to Look for if You’re Targeted.
  3. MidWest One Bank, The Importance of Two-Factor Authentication for Cybersecurity.
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