LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Scammers are using text messages in an effort to steal Californians' Middle Class Tax Relief payments, prompting Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer to issue a warning to the public.
Criminals are sending out fraudulent links to mobile devices, urging recipients to "activate" or "reactivate" their refund debit cards. But the links actually lead to a website that allows the senders to steal the victim's personal information, such as a social security number or credit card number, or install malware on the device.
In a video statement, Feuer noted that Middle Class Tax Relief payments are made by direct deposit or a debit card sent via postal mail. However, he said, many Californians are unaware of the program or how it works -- "and this creates an opening for scammers."
"Californians are so eager at this time of year to get this tax relief," Feuer said in an interview. "It would be a fairly automatic gesture to simply click onto a link, when you're asked to activate a California prepaid debit card. Any of us could be vulnerable to this."
Feuer said even he and some of his staff members received the nefarious text messages.
Anyone who is sent a similar text is advised to simply delete it.