PhoneScam 300KENTUCKY (1/25/13) – Unfortunately, some local citizens have fallen privy to a telephone scam in which an automated spokesperson is representing themselves as a non-specific financial institution or company and prompting the person answering the call to enter their ATM, Debit, or Credit card information.
 
SurfKY News received a call from a local woman today who preferred to remain anonymous, stating that she had received one of these automated calls yesterday and didn’t answer her phone because it was shown as an “unknown” or “blocked” call at first. She said she checked her voicemail right after she received the call and the message was from an automated operator stating that there was an ATM withdrawal on her account and prompted her to “Dial 1 to speak with security.”
 
The woman immediately called her financial institution regarding the matter and they instructed her not to respond to the call again and informed her that it is a scam. The woman was concerned for elderly citizens or anyone else who may misunderstand the call and enter their credit or debit card information.
 
This scam is not limited to any one specific bank or institution’s card holders and any and everyone is liable to receive the same kind of call. Local banks have been receiving calls from their customers regarding the issue since around 9 a.m. yesterday morning and, unfortunately, have had to close the cards and accounts of a number of their customers who entered their full card information, security codes, and dates of expiration on their cards. One bank spokesperson verified that the account numbers, “Most likely have not been accessed or used yet, considering how quickly the banks responded and got the accounts closed. There should not be any money lost to a customer because of this because it usually takes days for a transaction to complete and/or weeks for scammers to wrap up their project and start using the numbers.”
 
Each bank asked that they not be identified by name because they didn’t want to confuse the citizens about who is being subjected to this scam. “There are no specific institution’s customers being contacted,” said one bank representative.
 
The Madisonville Police Department has issued an alert about the calls, but no one has tracked the number location as of yet. Every documented call that has been received has been from an “unknown” or “blocked” number. A security officer from one of the banks did say that sometimes the operator in these automated calls will refer to person’s “Visa” and other times will refer to “ATM card.”
 
The same security officer, again, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that often times a financial institution will have a card monitoring service that makes similar automated calls to people if their card is being used, however they identify themselves specifically, unlike these callers, and rarely ask for the entire account number, typically only the last few digits. “A financial institution or company that you did not initiate the call to or that does not identify themselves as yours specifically, should never be granted your full account numbers. Your bank already knows the first digits of your account numbers because that is what identifies the bank itself.”
 
The security officer suggested to card holders a few wise practices with your ATM, Debit, or Credit cards: “Never provide your full social security number or card number to anyone you did not initiate the call, and call your bank immediately if you have provided any of that information in a call similar to the account fishing scams going around the area right now.”
 
If anyone has received similar calls, and pressed phone keys that have prompted them to enter their account numbers, and you have done so, contact your financial institution immediately to notify them of what happened. If you receive one of these calls and the call comes from a number listed that is not “Blocked” or “Unknown,” contact your financial institution and/or the Madisonville Police Department at (270) 821-1720 and provide them the numbers the call was received from.
 
Jessica Frodge
SurfKY News

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