Phishing scam calls went out Saturday, from an overseas scam artist, informing some Bank of Chickamauga cus-tomers that “your debit card has been restricted” and directed them to call a 1-888 number to unrestrict the card.
“If they chose to give this number (their debit card number), then that gave the perpetrator of the scam permis-sion to access funds (by computer) through that debit card and pin number,” said Gary Woods, executive vice presi-dent of the Bank of Chickamauga.
“If the information (debit card number) was not given out by customers, then there is nothing to worry about,” Woods said.
“Phishing” alludes to the random nature the scammer employs to fraudulently obtain information.
The scam didn’t hack a computer system at the bank. It was simply a series of random phone calls to the 375 phone prefix — Chickamauga’s prefix — which was aimed at customers of the Bank of Chickamauga. Any customer who gave up the information subsequently became a victim of the scam.
The Federal Trade Commission has taken over the 1-888 number with a recorded message to potential victims.
The Bank of Chickamauga has not been informed of how many calls were made and would not divulge how many customers were affected or estimate the amounts that customers lost, citing confidentiality concerns.
The Bank of Chickamauga contacted customers once the fraud was discovered, resulting in a “hot card” status for cards that were targeted, rendering the card unusable.
“This is a painful lesson, but one we need to realize in the day and time we live. The scams are more complex and they are getting more aggressive,” Woods said.
The Bank of Chickamauga website has this notice: “Fraudulent e-mails and phone calls are circulating that are targeting our customers. Please do not give out any information regarding your account i.e. pin numbers, card num-bers, or expiration dates. Bank of Chickamauga will never call you asking for this information. If you think you may have been a victim of this type of fraud please call us at 706-375-3112 ext 108 or 128.