Beware of scammers posing as your bank

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To the Editor:
Don’t respond to calls that claim to come from your bank and ask you to provide your debit card number or other account information.
If you get one of these phony calls, hang up. The calls come from scammers trying to steal your personal information and drain your account, not from your real bank.
North Carolina consumers have reported getting fraudulent calls this week from scammers posing as the Bank of North Carolina and High Point Bank and Trust.
A number of other banks with North Carolina customers have been impersonated by previous scams seeking personal information, including State Employees Credit Union, Gateway Bank, Bank of America and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo).
According to consumers’ reports, the latest versions of this scam often start with an automated call saying that your debit card has been blocked and then ask you to press one to proceed.
If you press one, you get a live a person who asks for your debit card number. Consumers who’ve received the calls report that they appear to come from numbers in Indiana, North Dakota, New Jersey and Canada.
However, the criminals behind these scams are often located overseas and use technology to make their calls appear to come from numbers inside the U.S.
The calls are a variation on the phishing scam called vishing or voice phishing. Con artists will use phone calls, text messaging and email to pose as legitimate businesses or even government agencies in an attempt to steal your bank account, credit card or social security numbers.
Don’t take the bait when criminals go phishing for your money and your information.
To avoid becoming a victim of phishing and vishing scams, remember:
Never share your account number and/or PIN with anyone who contracts you, even if they claim to be with your bank. Your bank already has your account or debit card number and will not contact you to ask for it.
If you get a call, email or text indicating that there’s a problem with your bank account, don’t respond. Instead, contact the bank at a phone number or through a secure website you know to be legitimate.
If you’ve shared information with a possible scammer, contact your bank immediately.
You can also contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.
– Attorney General Roy Cooper

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