You should always know and be able to verify where a text originates from. Some Missouri residents are finding that out the hard way as there is a current scam that is emptying bank accounts suddenly and with little opportunity for recourse.

Here's the short version of how this scam goes as reported by CNET and other tech outlets. You suddenly get an alarming text from your Missouri bank that claims there is unusual activity and you need to "verify your identity". If you take that one simple step and follow the link on your phone, your bank account balance can become zero in a heartbeat.

The Bank of Missouri has confirmed this is a scam that is victimizing customers in their area as they have a stern warning about what's going on. They warn that the scammers will make the notification look urgent and will ask you to enter your personal information and "confirm your bank account" and if you do that, your funds are gone.

The Missouri Department of Social Services says that a similar scam is causing resident EBT accounts to be emptied, too. They say you should never "respond to texts, calls or emails asking for your private information such as birth date, social security number or EBT card number or PIN".

It's sad to see so many in Missouri who are losing their life savings in some instances because of how authentic the scam appears. CNET says that some scammers are even using artificial intelligence to create variations and nuances of the scam to make it harder to detect.

Here's a simple way to avoid being victimized. If you receive a text or email from someone claiming to be your Missouri bank, do not click any links or provide any information. Instead, directly contact your financial institution by a known trusted method via a local number or contact and alert them about the activity and verify if the message came from them. Most reputable banks and financial institutions will not contact you about anything urgent via text unless you have set up specific alerts through your online portal. Even then, don't trust links, but verify through a local customer service representative.

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