Scammers Text West Texans

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

It's the latest scam to hit West Texas and it could really catch you off guard.

A text message is going around claiming your debit card is deactivated.

The scammers even provide a number for you to call to fix the problem, but most people didn't fall for it.

Instead they called their credit unions and Heritage USA Community Federal Credit Union, the calls were pouring in and it's all thanks to a text message.

"I got it at 10:01 p.m.," Resident, Raymond Tilley, said. "I didn't think about it a whole lot at the time but like I said I came into town today and I thought I'd come by and check with the Credit union today and make sure it was a fraud."

It turned out Tilley was right. It was a scam, trying to trick people into handing over personal banking information, and the scammers were smart.

"It does look very legit," Tilley said.

Only because they acted like they were with the Credit Union National Association.

It's a real group, but it has nothing to do with card activations.

Unfortunately, a handful of Heritage customers fell for it.

"We had a total of about 68 people call us and say they did receive the text message," Adam Ortega, Harmony USA's V.P. of IT & Security, said. "But only about 3 or 4 people called and said they did what they were asked to do."

Luckily Heritage was able to swoop in before those customers lost any money.

While the credit union has seen scams come and go but this one was different.

"We've only had maybe 3 or 4 members call about emails or phone numbers, but we've never had something with this high volume of calls," Ortega said.

After receiving a copy of the text message, NewsWest 9 tried to call the scammers, but the number was no longer in service. So the scammers may already be out of business.

Local credit unions are warning their members about the scam in person, by phone, and online.

Odessa and Midland police are keeping tabs on the scheme, but Tilley still wants the culprits to pay up.