Fraudulent Phone Recording Targets Debit Card Holders

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) People across the Mid-South have been receiving phone messages saying their debit cards were compromised.

The message says: “It seems that your debit card has been involved in fraudulent activities. To avoid debit card suspension, please press 1 and complete the identity verification process.”

The scam then asks the customer to verify information by offering the PIN and 16-digit card number.

“There's an element of fear. You think, oh my goodness, what's going on with my credit card? How much have they charged, and am I liable?” said Susie Hite.

Hite received the call recently. Because she has formerly been a victim of identity theft, she knew something didn’t sound right.

“I have elderly parents as well, and I know a lot of people that, they might not catch it. So I just feel like they need to be notified. That it's coming, whether it's on your cell phone, or your home phone or the Internet,” she said.

Hite lives in Bartlett. But the calls have been received in many other places. Police in Selmer, Tenn. have gotten at least 20 reports of this phone message, with one person unfortunately following through with the prompts.

“We’ve had several, several complaints about receiving these phone calls, and I’ve actually received one myself, and it’s coming from an unknown number,” said Lt. Roger Rickman of the Selmer Police Department.

No one is exempt. A senior executive at a bank also told News Channel 3 he received the same message.

He said that a substantially higher number of calls like this have gone out since Memorial Day. The suspicion is that criminals rely on the chance people traveling over long weekends or summer holidays will give the sensitive information for fear of having their cards deactivated on vacation.

The bank representative also said banks generally will not ask for PINs or account numbers over the phone. Banks already have that information. If something is really wrong with your card, your bank will find a different way to verify your identity.

While Internet scams are called “phishing,” voicemail scams like this are referred to as “vishing.”

Either way, Hite warns that falling victim to identity theft can be a nightmare, taking months or years to clear up with the help of attorneys.

“Don't bite on the hook. Don't give them anything.”