Eye On Boise

Idahoans targeted in 'phishing' scam that poses as calls from bank

Idahoans increasingly are being targeted in a "phishing" scam in which people receive calls that claim to come from their bank, suggest that their account has been compromised, and ask the victim to provide information to reactivate the card. The Idaho Attorney General's office today issued a "Consumer Alert" about the scam, which often uses the name of Wells Fargo bank; click below to read the full alert. Also today, the Idaho Bankers Association issued a warning about the scam.

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
LAWRENCE WASDEN

For Immediate Release
August 22, 2011

* * * CONSUMER ALERT * * *

(Boise) - The Attorney General’s Office has received many reports recently regarding phone calls and text messages claiming to be from various financial institutions, including Wells Fargo Bank, Boise Federal Credit Union and Home Federal Bank.  The calls and texts state that recipients’ credit or debit cards have been compromised, and instruct them to call a phone number to provide information and reactivate the card.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden warns Idaho consumers not to respond to these fraudulent messages. “Your bank will never contact you to ask for your account number.  Your bank already knows your account number,” Attorney General Wasden said.  “These messages are ‘phishing’ attempts by people trying to steal your account information so they can steal your money.”

Any consumer who did responded and gave out an account number or PIN number should contact their financial institution immediately, Wasden said.  Use the customer service number on your most recent statement or look up the number in the phone book.  Do not use the phone numbers provided in text, phone or e-mail messages.

Although this type of scam has been around for years, the recent surge is alarming.  “These messages are designed to reach as many potential victims as possible,” Wasden said.  “The senders do not know anything about you or your card.  Many people who have received the messages do not have accounts with the bank or credit union purportedly sending the message.”

Wells Fargo is currently investigating these phishing scams and requests that consumers forward suspicious messages using Wells Fargo’s name to reportphish@wellsfargo.com.

The Attorney General’s Office publishes an Identity Theft manual to assist consumers whose personal information has been stolen. For more information, visit www.ag.idaho.gov or call the Consumer Protection Division. In the Boise area, call (208) 334–2424. Elsewhere in Idaho, call the toll–free number, (800) 432–3545.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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