Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – Area residents are urged to be on guard against a telephone scam claiming to involve the Vinton County National Bank.
VCNB does business locally as the Pickaway County Banking Center with branches in Circleville, Ashville and Commercial Point, as well as the Salt Creek Banking Center in Laurelville.
Audra Johnson, vice president of marketing for VCNB, said the call is believed to be a phishing scam calling random numbers and often reaching people who don’t even have accounts through VCNB.
The computerized call claims to be from the fraud department of VCNB alerting the customer their debit card has been locked, Johnson said, and to press 1 to unlock the card. When the caller does as instructed, they are prompted to enter their debit card number.
“The best course of action is to hang up and not give any information out,” Johnson said. “But if you think you may have given out any personal information at all, you definitely need to contact the customer service department at your local bank and let them know.”
Johnson said there is no clear estimate of how many of these phishing calls have gone out, but it could range from a few hundred to a few thousand in a number of counties throughout the area.
“It’s definitely a large enough scam that we’re very concerned, not just about our customers but others as well,” Johnson said.
She said the bank had an inkling something was happening on Thursday of last week, and by Friday they had put out a warning to local customers.
“We think the majority of it started Saturday morning, though,” Johnson said. “Our customer service line started getting flooded with calls.”
She said the calls originally appeared to originate from Ontario, Canada, but then people started reporting numbers affiliated with U.S. cities or just random numbers ranging from two digits to a long series of digits. Some of the calls also have been reported through caller ID as “unavailable,” she said.
Johnson said VCNB has not experienced a security breach, and these calls are simply trying to trick people into providing personal information.
To avoid becoming the victim of a scam, VCNB offers the following tips:
- If you have provided information to one of these calls, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your account.
- Never give out personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem. When in doubt, contact the company directly using a telephone number you know to be genuine.
- Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Report account discrepancies immediately.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal