September 13, 2023

Citibank text scam: What it is & how to avoid it

Citibank text scam: What it is & how to avoid it

People trust banks with their hard-earned money and they’re typically quick to react when there’s a problem. Scammers aim to capitalize on that urgency by tricking victims into giving up sensitive information they can use to steal their money. Citibank text scams are a particular brand of smishing attack, a type of phishing scam done via text message. 

Phone scams can be incredibly dangerous, and scammers are craftier than ever. Keep reading to learn what a Citibank text scam is and how you can avoid it.

Inside Citibank text scams: A closer look

Phishing scams of any kind can have severe consequences, so it’s important to know the enemy’s strategy. Unlike other types of scams, Citibank scams have your money in the crosshairs from step one. Let’s take a closer look at Citibank text message scams.

What is a Citibank text scam?

A Citibank text scam is any text scam that involves a Citibank account. The goal is to retrieve login information, bank account details, or other sensitive data that scammers can use to steal from their targets. The perpetrator might use a combination of website and caller ID spoofing to impersonate Citibank, tech support, or a third-party financial app, often claiming there has been some kind of security alert.

Why am I getting Citibank text messages?

Many who receive these scam texts aren’t even Citibank customers; because of auto-dialing technology, scammers can afford to spam people at random. Citibank does sometimes text its customers, so some recipients don’t immediately find it suspicious. Whether or not you’re a Citibank customer, getting these scam texts means a fraudster has your phone number. 

What are the consequences of falling for a Citibank text scam?

Text scammers aim to access personal information to steal from their victims. This makes bank scams especially dangerous because the jackpot is the person’s life savings. It doesn’t stop there, though, because, in addition to draining bank accounts, scammers can open new lines of credit or even assume people’s identities. If you fall for a Citibank text scam, there’s no guarantee you’ll recover what was stolen.

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Types of Citibank fraud text messages

Bank scams like Citibank fraud texts may come in a few different forms, all equally dangerous. By recognizing the types of Citibank scam texts you might encounter, you’re more prepared to deal with them if they show up in your inbox.

Locked card

Phone scams are ironic in that they often use false security claims to create real security breaches. One popular Citibank text scam claims the bank locked your card as a security measure after noticing unusual activity. The text usually includes a link to change your password or verify account information. It’s only after you give scammers your information, however, that fraudulent activity will actually occur. In reality, your card was never locked.

Blocked bank account

In a similar Citibank text scam, scammers claim your bank account is blocked, citing repeated sign-in attempts, unusual sign-in locations, or other fake security threats. They may send a phone number and instruct you to call “tech support” to change your password, revealing your login information and granting them access to your account. They may even request that you download desktop-sharing software, which is always a red flag.

Transfer confirmation on third-party apps

Other criminals send scam texts that allegedly confirm transfers between your bank account and third-party payment services like Venmo and Zelle. They may send you a “confirmation” after a fake transfer and instruct you to reply “Yes” if it was you — which you wouldn’t since the transfer isn’t real — or follow a link to secure your account. Of course, the link either sends you to a spoofed website or triggers a malware download.

How to identify Citibank text scams (real vs. fake)

Not all text messages that claim to be from Citibank are scams — sometimes, Citibank actually does text their customers. The easiest way to tell if a Citibank text is real or fake is by looking at the number that sent the text message. Legitimate Citibank texts will always come from a specific shortcode: 95686. If the text came from a 10-digit number or any other shortcode, it’s a scam.

Like all phone scams, Citibank text scams may come with the usual warning signs. You may be a Citibank text scam target if you get a message that:

  • Comes from an unknown number and contains suspicious links
  • Creates a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly
  • Includes grammatical mistakes and spelling errors
  • Asks for personal information like email addresses, passwords, or banking account information

What to do and what not to do when facing a scam

A fraudster can send you a scam text message, but they can’t make you take the bait. If you know what you should and shouldn’t do when you get a scam text, you can avoid falling into the trap. 

Memorize these five do’s and don’ts to stay safe when facing a scam:


  1. Be careful with texts from unknown numbers
  2. Block contacts that send suspicious messages
  3. Change potentially compromised account information
  4. Alert the authorities when you’re targeted by a scam
  5. Download a third-party spam blocker


  1. Tap or click links in their text messages
  2. Respond to those messages, even to “opt out”
  3. Share personal data via text message
  4. Attempt to give the sender a piece of your mind
  5. Give up your privacy or security

I fell for a Citibank text scam. Now what?

The threat of losing your money can be scary, so it’s understandable if you take action before you can clearly assess the situation. However, a successful Citibank text scam can have serious consequences. 

The good news is there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and try to recover your losses:

  • Block the scammer’s number and report the text as junk through your messaging app
  • Alert local law enforcement
  • Keep track of your bank and credit card statements so you can quickly dispute fraudulent charges (if necessary, close any accounts or cards that may have been compromised)
  • Use Citibank’s Security Center to customize, monitor, and protect your accounts
  • In the Citibank app, use Citi Quick Lock to block new charges
  • Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), or your phone carrier
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Best practices for protecting yourself from scammers

If you receive a suspicious message claiming to be from Citibank, Best Buy, or any other legitimate company, knowing how to respond can mean the difference between peace of mind and identity theft.

Follow these best practices to ensure you don’t fall victim to text scams:

  • Don’t share confidential information like login credentials, Social Security numbers, or financial details over text message or email
  • Never follow the links in text messages from unknown numbers or people claiming to be legitimate businesses
  • Learn about popular phone scams and familiarize yourself with the red flags
  • Download and update security services such as antivirus software and a third-party spam blocker like Robokiller

Robokiller: Your best defense against scammers

There are many steps you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to Citibank scam texts and other forms of phone fraud, but only a dedicated third-party spam blocker like Robokiller can remove scams and spam entirely. When the stakes involve your privacy, financial security, and identity, it’s crucial to have the best defense possible.

Robokiller is the ultimate defense against spam calls and scam texts thanks to:

  • 99% effective phone call and text protection
  • 1.5+ billion phone numbers in our global database
  • Audio fingerprinting, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology
  • Customizable block and allow lists
  • Years of industry research and user feedback

Protect your privacy, family, and peace of mind when you start your free 7-day trial of Robokiller today.


What is a Citibank text scam?

A Citibank text scam is any kind of text scam that targets Citibank users and attempts to steal sensitive information like account numbers, passwords, and other personal data to break into the victim’s Citibank account.

How can I identify a Citibank text scam?

Citibank scams may come with many of the usual phone scam warning signs, but there’s one obvious giveaway: Legitimate Citibank texts will always come from the shortcode 95686. If you get a text from a 10-digit number or any other shortcode, it’s not Citibank.

What should I do if I receive a suspicious Citibank text?

If you get a suspicious text from Citibank or any other entity, don’t respond or click any embedded links. Instead, contact the company at an official, publicly-listed phone number to ensure you’re talking to an actual representative.

What are the consequences of falling for a Citibank text scam?

Since Citibank text scams target people’s private financial information, there can be severe consequences for falling into the trap. Citibank text scammers may use your personal data to steal your money, open up new accounts or lines of credit, or even commit identity theft.

How can I protect myself from a Citibank text scam?

When you understand the warning signs of a Citibank text scam, you stand a better chance of getting out of it unscathed. The best way to protect yourself from text scams like these is to use a third-party spam blocker like Robokiller, so unwanted spam and scam texts never make it to your phone.

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You’re one step away from a spam-free phone (and a little poetic justice, thanks to Answer Bots).
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