Many Marion County residents received phone calls late last week, saying their debit card had been restricted because of recent activity. The callers requested the card number, expiration date, and PIN to reactivate the card.
Marion Assistant Police Chief Clinton Jeffrey was one of the people who received such a call. After seeing the scam for what it was, he contacted his bank and was told that several other people had called about the scam over a brief period, starting May 9.
He said the call he received sounded like an automated call, but the bank told him some people had been on the phone with a live person. Another variable was that the calls some people received indicated it was from their bank, while others represented the call as coming from Visa Inc., Jeffrey said.
Jeffrey said he attempted to call the number indicated on his caller ID, but the phone call didn’t go through, indicating it was from a fake phone number.
Marion National Bank Vice President Don Noller said MNB and at least one other bank locally had received multiple reports of the scam from customers.
“Don’t give out information over the phone,” Noller warned.
He said a banks do not call customers if a card is closed to get information to reopen it, and a bank would never ask for a customer’s PIN for their debit card.
“We don’t even know our customers PINs,” he said.
A good rule of thumb, Noller said, is that if a customer receives a call from someone they don’t know or an automated call asking for bank information, to hang up and call the bank — using a phone number you know or look up, not one provided by the caller.
Noller said the response to the scam is an indication of one of the positives of living in a small community. He estimated 90 percent of people would recognize whether the people calling were actually from their bank.
“We know our customers, and they know us,” Noller said.
Information Noller received from a bank in Salina that had been contacted about the scam indicated the perpetrators had attempted to run cash transactions in Romania using information they received.
Friday afternoon, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce sent an e-mail alerting its members that the scam was going on in the area and warning them not to give bank card information to callers.