Local bank targeted by robocalls

April 20, 2009 3:51:32 PM PDT
By now most people have seen emails that claim to be from a national bank asking for account numbers and passwords. Now that trend is hitting local financial institutions too. Customers of one Houston-area bank were on the receiving end of computer generated calls that attempted to get their debit card information.

If you get a call in the middle of the night, there's a good chance it is important. When the phone rang at Joe Simmons' home at 1am his wife answered.

It turns out the call was computer generated which is referred to as a robocall.

"It indicated there could possibly be fraudulent activity on an account or a credit card or debit card and they were asking for account numbers and pin numbers," Simmons told us.

The call claimed to be from Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union. While Simmons admits he was a bit groggy at that hour, he knew better than to divulge the information because he happens to be the president of the Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union.

"This credit union and no other legitimate financial institution will call and ask for that information, it does not happen," he told us.

But people do fall for the scam and armed with debit and credit card numbers and pass codes, it only takes minutes to wipe out a checking or savings account.

"They have a plan and they implement that plan immediately so they can start using that debit card or credit card right away on Web sites," said Deana Turner with the Houston Better Business Bureau.

Turner says early morning calls are designed to catch you off guard.

"Don't give the person that is calling you, your information," she warned. "You need to hang up and call the number that you know, this is probably an institution that people have used for years and years."

The phone calls went out to both members and non members of the credit union and now the institution has warnings about this posted on its Web site and on the front door of its building.

A few of those who were called fell victim to the robocalls and that's why it's important to get the word out. Never give out any information to someone calling you on the phone claiming to be from a bank or credit union.

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