Mass Phishing Expedition Targets Bitterroot Banking Customers [AUDIO]
Bank customers and others in the Bitterroot Valley were contacted by phone or text Wednesday morning and told their debit cards had been 'locked', and to enter their card numbers on the phone. Marketing Manager Owen Robbins at Farmers State Bank in Hamilton said the bank received over a hundred calls.
"This didn't really happen with us, in that there was no security breach on our side," Robbins said. "This was a random phishing attempt via voice and text-messaging asking people to call in to a number with a 210 area code, and input their debit card numbers because their cards had been locked."
Robbins said many of the calls came from customers other than Farmers State Bank.
"We had over a hundred calls this morning, and of course we assume there were more than that," Robbins said. "Probably 30 percent of those that called were not even bank customers. It wasn't directed at our bank, but cell phones and landlines, both personal and business lines were contacted."
Robbins said callers to the bank were strongly advised not to answer the call or enter their card numbers.
The Hamilton Police Department is working with FBI on the case, and reported that the number has since been disconnected. They also said that if you or someone you know has received such a call and entered their card information, they should contact their bank immediately.
"First of all, we advised them not to call the number," Robbins said. "If they did, and they were our customers, then their cards would be cancelled and we would reissue cards for them. If they were not our customers, they were advised to contact their financial institution to get help if they input the information."
Robbins said Farmers State Bank has a firm policy never to solicit information in such a manner.
"Our practice at our bank is to never solicit personal information, whether its personal or bank information, via email or text, we just don't do that. We advise people to always use caution, and if you ever have a question, contact your financial institution at a number that you know and never give out personal information in a manner that is not secure."
Vice President of Marketing for Farmers State Bank, Owen Robbins