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MONDAY, DEC. 9, 2013, 5:13 P.M.

Area residents being sent ‘phishing’ attack looking for card information

Spokane police say area residents are receiving “phishing” text messages from a scammer posing as a bank official needing personal information to reactive credit cards supposedly shut down because of fraudulent activity.

Spokane Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lydia Taylor couldn’t say how many such text messages have been received.

But she noted “a large number” of would-be victims told at least two Spokane area credit unions they received the bogus messages sent from the number (208) 758-0211.

The scammer appears to be exploiting fears generated by recent reports of widespread card fraud for customers of Spokane and North Idaho grocery stores.

Last month, more than a thousand area credit or debit cards were involved in a data breach. URM Stores, a Spokane-based cooperative that handles card payments for several area chains, including Rosauers, Harvest Foods and Yoke’s Fresh Market, has said it’s patched whatever security hole in its network was exploited.

Area law enforcement has made no arrests and say they have not yet identified the source of the credit card exploit.

The scam tells would-be victims their credit or debit card is inactive due to fraud. It can be reactivated if the recipient calls back to provide account information, Taylor said.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.