With so many scams now being executed with the help of the Internet, we often forget that the old-fashioned telephone is still a powerful tool for fraudsters.

Add a “robo-caller,” and a scammer who can send out millions of spam emails can also hit thousands of vulnerable consumers with a phone call. Posing as a bank or government agency, these scams seek to gain access to consumers’ banking and social security information.

Scam shows up in Massachusetts

“There are widespread reports from consumers who have received the automated phone calls asking people to enter their debit or credit card number,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. “We are warning people not to provide any personal banking information based on an automated phone call. If you receive one of these automated calls, you should immediately hang up.”

Based on information and complaints received from consumers, Coakley said she believes the scam is new and just got started in early September. Bank customers, non-customers, and employees have received automated robo-calls typically between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. These calls have frequently contacted consumers on their cell phones.

What to listen for

According to people who have gotten these calls, a typical script goes like this:

“This is a call from NAME Bank. Your Mastercard account has been locked. Please press 1 now to unlock.”

The recording then instructs the individual to enter his or her debit card number in order to activate it. There have been additional reports that consumers are now being asked for their social security numbers.

Originating numbers for these phone calls include, but are not limited to:

  • (508) 475-1394
  • (214) 232-0615
  • 1262 (just a four digit number)

 

Many calls are from Unknown, Restricted, or Private numbers.


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