Local banks battle text message scam

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Local banks are warning customers of a text messaging scam that began Wednesday afternoon.

“This started around 2:30 p.m. and we’ve received literally hundreds of phone calls,” said Dianna Lee, director of marketing and public relations at Troy Bank and Trust.

Customers report receiving text messages on their cell phones alerting them to a “BANK ACCOUNT ALERT.” The alert warns that the “CARD has been DEACTIVATED” and directs the recipient to call an Alabama area code number for assistance.

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Lee said the texts are a scam. “Number one, we don’t give out our customers’ cell phone numbers and number two, if there’s a problem we’re going to contact you by another means,” she said.

John R. Ramage, senior vice president at First National Bank, echoed Lee’s concerns. “No one will ever contact a customer of locally owned community bank via a faceless text message asking for this type of information on your debit card or any other bank account,” he said. “Please do not respond to any such text messages and do not give anyone your bank account or debit card information.”

Lee said bank officials do not believe this scam is related to the recent compromise of customer information reported by Zaxby’s restaurant, which involved specific account information.

“This is not the first time we’ve seen a spam text go out like this. However, this is one of the most widespread we’ve seen,” Lee said.

“The best advice we can give our customers, and anyone who receives this text message, is to simply delete it. Do not under any circumstances give them your 16-digit card number.”

Bank officials were making contact with local law enforcement officials, as well.