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'Bank Of Cascades' Scam Switches To Text Messages

Published On: Feb 08 2013 11:15:46 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 15 2010 06:50:23 AM CDT

Scammers posing as Bank of the Cascades officials continued to seek victims in Central Oregon Monday, but have switched from phone calls to text messages, the Oregon Department of Justice reported.

The DOJ Consumer Hotline reported receiving half a dozen calls Monday afternoon about text messages telling consumers that their bank accounts had been deactivated and asking consumers to verify their bank account numbers.

This is a phishing scam, officials warned yet again. Never provide your bank account number over the phone or by email.

No legitimate financial institution will call you and ask you for your bank account number or other sensitive financial information. The scammers are trying to trick consumers into turning over their bank account numbers to they can empty the bank account.

A week ago, scammers posing as Bank of the Cascades officials bombarded Central Oregon residents with phone calls seeking account information. At least one consumer fell prey to the scam and lost $515 immediately after providing their bank account number.

Anyone who believes they have been approached by a scammer should contact the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov.

The Consumer Hotline has received more than 20 telephone calls from Central Oregon about this scam. At least one consumer fell prey to the scam and lost $515 immediately after providing their bank account number. This is a significant number of calls for such a short period of time.

NewsChannel 21 reported on the phone scam Friday, March 5 and warned people not to fall for it, as an automated machine called thousands of phone numbers to seek out PIN and credit card numbers.

Lori Patch got one of the calls, with an automated recording saying her Visa card had been deactivated, and that she needed to provide personal information to solve the problem. On Monday, she said she'd gotten one of the text messages as well.

"I just want to make sure that people don't get victimized," Patch said. "It's tough out there, and nobody else needs to get ripped off."

The bank says, as always, that they will never ask you for PIN numbers, because they have all of that information. Officials say the automated caller has no actual information about you - calling customers and non-customers alike - so don't give them any and ignore the call.

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