Washington, DC - Shaun Dakin, CEO The National Political Do Not Contact Registry - Sign up for free at StopPoliticalCalls.org
I've been keeping an eye on this non-political robo call story that seems to be unveiling itself slowly nationwide.
What: Robocall "Phishing" around the nation, specifically regarding bank accounts. Essentially, the criminals are now using robo calls (vs. email) to spam American consumers via the phone rather email.
The goal is the same. Throw a net out wide using cheap tecnology and see which suckers you can reel in to scam.
In Oregon: Over the last several days the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety has received numerous calls from the public regarding an automated fraudulent telephone scam.
- In Michigan: Police in Southwest Michigan are warning people about a new phone scam. State police out of the Paw Paw post say that they've received complaints about someone calling residents in Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties with automated messages, supposedly from the Kalamazoo County State Bank. Update.
- In Maine: Scarborough police are warning residents not to fall for a credit card telephone scam. The department has heard from some potential victims who receive an automated call, stating that the call was from Visa and that their credit card account was above the contract limits. In order to avoid a $60 fee, they need to call 1-800-458-8914.
- In Indiana: On Tuesday afternoon on August 26, 2008 several concerned citizens in the Vincennes area called VPD complaining about a phone scam in which the automated phone call from unknown name and unknown phone number (caller identification), calls the complainant advising that the complainant’s credit card from a local bank has been deactivated and for the complainant to push #1 to contact their security department and to reactivate their credit card and report the incident. The Vincennes City Police Dept also received the automated phone call more than once.
- In Utah: State Bank of Southern Utah received a few calls Monday about a telephone scam targeting Southern Utah residents. By Tuesday, those few calls turned into "a flood," said Kirk Jones, SBSU vice president of operations.
- In Hawaii: American Savings Bank is warning customers about a scam involving automated telephone messages falsely identified as coming from the bank.
- In Washington State: Yakima. Members and non-members are reporting phone calls from an automated female voice that says "gas-sah Credit Union" is calling from our "security department."
- In Texas (9/1): Mexia. Incommons Bank and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) are raising awareness by educating banking customers and offering tips to combat the scheme.
- In IL again (9/3): Better Business Bureaus and especially the BBB of Northern Indiana has been receiving repeated contacts from consumers who once again are getting telephone calls claiming to be from Salin Bank stating their account has been suspended or that their bank account number has “expired” and to call 703-953-1916.
- In Texas, again (9/3): Bank accounts can be wiped out overnight through new scam techniques, and East Texas residents are on the call lists. These scam artists, who originally used the U.S. Postal Service and the Internet, are now turning to the telephone in their quest to steal sensitive bank account information from unsuspecting customers. A check with local bank officials revealed the terrible stories of customers who have been taken advantage of. "We are really being hit," said Lewie Byers of Texas National Bank in Rusk. "But, the folks in Jacksonville are being hit even harder."
- In Iowa (9/30): Mason City, IA - Mason City Police are warning people about a credit scam. People around the area are getting automated phone calls. The voice on the line claims to be from the North Iowa Community Credit Union. The message tells you your credit, or bank debit card is deactivated, It then asks for your card number and information like the pin number and expiration date.
- In Maine (10/3): Central Maine residents are the targets this week of an uptick in automated phone scams. Since Tuesday, KV Federal Credit Union has received more than a dozen calls from members and others targeted by calls warning that KV Federal Credit Union accounts or credit and debit cards are poised to expire.
- In Texas (10/8): Orange, TX: The Texas attorney general and the Orange police chief are warning people not to give out personal information to unsolicited phone callers claiming to be from Orange Savings Bank. Click here for a second story.
- In Kansas (10/10): The Winfield Police Department is alerting area residents of an automated phone dialer scam, according to an emergency dispatcher with the department. The dispatcher has been inundated with calls from concerned citizens about receiving phone calls from an automated voice message system stating the call is from Ark Valley Credit Union regarding a Visa. The message asks for the personal information of the call's recipient.
- In Massachusetts (10/10): Martha’s Vineyard’s three local banks have warned customers to beware of phone scammers, who targeted large numbers of Island residents on Thursday night, seeking their account details. The automated calls attempt to trick people by saying their accounts have been “suspended,” then transferring them to a “security center” where they are asked to provide their card numbers and security codes.
- In California (10/13): Customers are reporting to the bank that they've received night-time automated calls this weekend, saying that their credit card has been compromised, and are asked for their account numbers. Customers of Butte Community Bank are among those being targeted by scammers looking for credit card information.
- In Washington (10/13): (BURLINGTON)- Police warn Burlington residents that automated phone calls purporting to be from Skagit State Bank and asking for “security pass codes” are fraudulent.
- In Tennessee (10/15): NASHVILE, Tenn. - Metro police issue a warning about a scam targeting a credit card holder's identity.
The details from one of the incidents:
A bogus call targeted hundreds of people Monday night, falsely telling them that their debit card was suspended and then asking for personal information so it could be reactivated.
A “robo-caller” rang hundreds of city residents between 9 and 11:30 p.m. claiming that they needed the person’s Shell Community Federal Credit Union debit card numbers, card expiration date and personal identification numbers.
It marks the second time during the past month River Bend residents have received a “phishing” scam call. In July, residents and businesses received automated calls claiming there were problems with their Olin Community Credit Union debit cards.
“We would never contact a customer about getting information because we already have it,” said Kathy Swearingin, president of Shell Community Credit Union.
Many of the people called had unlisted numbers; credit union officials said the scammers did not obtain the telephone numbers from Shell. There were also many people who were not even members of the credit union.
This is a particular problem, particularly with Seniors who may not have internet access, but certainly do have a land line telephone at home.
Seniors can often be home alone and can be lonely and vulnerable.
What better population to scam?
This from the FBI: (Click to read more)
If you're age 60 or older, you may be a special target for people who sell bogus products and services by phone. Older women living alone are special targets of these scam artists. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and travel offers.
There are warning signs to these scams, including promises of "free" or "low cost" vacations and get rich quick schemes. If you hear these--or similar--"lines" from a telephone salesperson, just say "no thank you," and hang up the phone: