The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 22, 2013

Geneva police warn of cell phone, bank card scam

GENEVA — A national scam is hitting close to home, Geneva Police Chief Dan Dudik said, as identity thieves target debit card users through cell phones.

The identity thieves send a call to a cell phone from an unknown number. Instead of a number coming up on the called identification, it will simply say, “unknown number.”

Dudik said callers will receive this ‘canned’ message: “We are sorry to inform you that your debit card has been locked, please push the number one to be connected with our security department.”

“If you get a call like this it's a scam,” Dudik said. “Do not give them any information. Terminate the call, and call the telephone number on the back of your credit card or debit card to report the activity.”

Dudik said the scammers use “phishing” to lure their victims.

Phishing is attempting to acquire information such as user names, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy company or person in an electronic communication.

“This scam is a phishing attempt,” Dudik said. “If you were to push the number one, you will be asked to provide personal information by either voice prompt or an aggressive operator. You never want to do this.”

Dudik said financial institutions should never have to ask a customer for information — they already have it in their files.

“Your financial institution will have your information. If (the contact) is legit, they will not have to ask you for it.”

Dudik said phishing scams are often run by people outside the United States, making restitution for the crime unlikely.

“If in doubt, never give out your personal information,” he said.

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