This past weekend, many of our customers and area residents found their holiday activities interrupted by a recorded phone call made by criminals intent on getting personal debit card information so they could use it fraudulently.
We quickly discovered the scam, the calls have now stopped, and our security protocols are helping affected customers replace their cards.
But this event emphasized the importance of understanding the tool used to run this scam: Robocalls.
You’ve probably gotten a lot of robocalls; those pre-recorded messages that look for donations, want you to buy something, or ask for your opinion when you answer the phone.
Here are three important things you should know:
Why you get so many robocalls
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), companies using autodialers can send thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost. Some robocalls, like an appointment reminder, flight status update, prescription refill reminder and other purely information messages, are permitted by the FTC. But if the recording is a solicitation being used without your written permission to receive it, the call is illegal.
Why robocalls are so prevalent and so hard to stop
Many fraudulent robocalls use ID “spoofing” to fake the caller ID information you see on the phone, so you think the call you’re receiving is from a company you know or already do business with. When it turns out the call is a scam, the robocallers, who have used internet technology to hide their location, are difficult to track down.
What to do if you get a robocall
Hang up. That’s it. Don’t try to argue your case with a fraudster. You can also report your experience to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by phone at 1.888.382 .1222.
Yes, technology that helps you remember your dental appointment is great. But be wary and beware of calls that don’t sound like the trusted companies you know.
And remember, at Bank Midwest, we will never ask you to give your account information, PIN, or password to us over the phone!