Local bank customers targeted
By LPR Staff
Officals from local banks have recently reported that some customers have fallen victim to a telemarketing scheme preying upon customers’ trust for their banks.
Ken Doran, president of American National Bank reported recently that several bank customers had received calls from people claiming to be doing a survey for A
merican National Bank and asking for account information.
Unfortunately, the callers are actually part of a nationally recognized scam, wherein the con artist obtains identification and bank account information, which he or she then uses to steal money from the account.
“We would never do that,” Doran said. “We might call a customer that’s a long-time, known customer that we’ve dealt with on the phone before, but we’d never call someone and ask them for information about their account.”
According to Doran, at least three customer have called his bank to make complaints of such activity.
“I don’t think that everyone that it’s happened to has reported it,” he said. “There are some that might not know about it yet.”
Doran noted that some customers do not check their balances routinely. Instead, they depend upon their own bookkeeping and their knowledge of their accounts. This type of customer is in the most danger of such scams because the theft could go unnoticed for months, or until checks start bouncing, Doran said.
Because of the customers that have reported the fraudulent phone calls and the nature of their complaints, Doran suspects that the con artist might be local.
“Whoever is calling them knows that they bank here,” he said. “I can’t imagine how they would know that.”
Randy Till, the Vice President/Senior Account Officer at First-Lockhart National Bank has received reports of customers falling victim to similar schemes, but said he has no reason to believe his bank’s customers are being targeted by someone from this area.
“There are a number of different forms of scams like this,” Till said. “They all take different properties, but they are basically the same. The caller wants to get account information so they can steal your money.”
Till said that First-Lockhart National Bank customers have reported similar scandals that originated both in the United States and abroad, as far away as Africa.
“The hardest thing is educating people that these folks are out there and will steal their money,” Till said. “The main thing is to remember that most banks will not call you and ask for information that they already know.”
Till and Doran both advised that banking customers never give information about bank or credit accounts over the telephone, unless they initiated the telephone call to the bank or creditor.
If you receive a suspicious telephone call, ask the caller for a return phone number and contact your bank and local authorities immediately. To make a report of a past incident, call your bank and notify the police or sheriff’s department.