In the middle of the holiday rush, all of Western New York exchanged messages of season's greetings.
Added to the mix of texts for many Upstate was a text from "MT Bank" notifying them their bank cards were locked.
The texts were sent to both members and non-members of M&T Bank asking for user IDs, passwords, card numbers, and social security numbers to remedy the problem. Many fell prey to this latest phishing scam.
"It gives you that pause that it’s your bank account, people get nervous they think that, ‘Oh my god I need my money, I need gas for my car, I need to pay my bills.’ They are going to do whatever they can to make sure their bank accounts are OK, but unfortunately some people are clicking through and losing money," said Melanie McGovern, of the Better Business Bureau.
Hundreds of dollars have been reported lost so far. M&T Bank has refunded most of its customers.
Victims took to social media to describe the setback from the hack. Bank representatives say they never ask for sensitive info via texts. The Better Business Bureau says the legitimacy of the texts were spelled out but many victims missed it.
"It just says ‘MT Bank’ not ‘M&T Bank,’" added McGovern.
According to the BBB, communication with most banks via texts are done via the request of customers. Therefore, consumers should be aware if they applied for it.
All victims are encouraged to report thefts to the BBB's Scam Tracker.