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Local authorities are urging residents to take caution if they receive messages claiming to come from local banks.
According to a SPD press release, several residents have received texts, phone calls, and messages saying their Cadence Bank accounts have been temporarily deactivated and require a cell phone number to reactivate.
The release said Cadence officials had confirmed the messages were phony and part of a phishing scam to gain access to customer accounts. Residents are encouraged to ignore these or any similar messages and to always contact their local bank if they have any questions or concerns.
SPD Detective Scott Carrithers echoed the release and said residents had to be careful if they got suspicious messages.
"Anytime a message comes in from your bank, it needs to be verified before you take any action," he said. "If something doesn't seem right about it, immediately notify the authorities. That goes for this situation and anything else people find that they aren't comfortable with. Because there are so many scams going around that we get reports on. If it doesn't feel legitimate, try to make contact with the source of where it's coming from."
Carrithers said he'd seen several instances of people receiving messages from the scam.
"There have been several reported incidents," he said. "I've had people that know me personally come to me. I've had officers come to me and say 'I've had this person and this person contact me.' We've had a tremendous amount of reports, but no one's reported having anything taken. There's just been a lot of reporting that this has been taking place."
A Mississippi Bankers Association release noted that scammers had been using automated phone calls, text message and emails.
The MBA warned residents to not respond to calls that warned of dire consequences unless account information was validated. It also advised never to give out financial information to unsolicited text messages, phone calls, or emails.
"A financial institution is not going to contact a customer through a text, phone call, or email to solicit financial information," said Mac Deaver, president of the MBA. "If someone approaches you that way, it's a red flag. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is going on all the time so people have to use caution."