Bangor Savings patrons targeted by phone scam

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 27, 2009, at 11:35 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Nearly 30 Bangor Savings Bank customers gave out their account numbers to would-be thieves Wednesday during a mass automated voice system scam, a bank official said.

No money was taken by the scammers and all of the bank customers who notified the bank have had their accounts or personal identification numbers changed, Senior Vice President Yellow Light Breen said Thursday.

“Yesterday morning we [started] getting calls that folks were getting automated messages pretending to be from the bank,” he said. “It’s one of those automated mass dialing programs that randomly dialed numbers, whether you are a Bangor Savings customer or not.

“They want to harvest the card numbers to run hot cards to access your account,” Breen added.

The scammers targeted only cell phones with the 299 prefix, he said. The automated voice message said the customer’s debit card had been “locked” and asked them to press 1 for further assistance. Then, it asked for their 16-digit bank account number and later their PIN.

One of the people called Wednesday was the wife of the bank’s chief executive officer, Breen said.

“It was all yesterday,” he said Thursday. “There is no new scam originating today.”

Bangor Savings Bank received about 300 calls from customers and others who were concerned about the scam.

“Between two or three dozen customers … said they had fallen for it,” Breen said. “We helped them change their account numbers or their PINs.

“There is no evidence that anybody had anything stolen or hacked,” he said.

Bank officials are reminding customers to protect themselves and not give out their account numbers or PINs to anyone who calls them.

“We will never ask for confidential information or passwords or PINs over the phone,” he said. “We never will. We already have that information.”

In April, Bangor Savings and other banks were hit by a widespread scheme using voice mail to call people. That one hit several telephone exchanges, affecting hundreds or thousands of people. Wednesday’s automated voice system scam was much more narrowly focused, Breen said.

Those who may have been scammed Wednesday are asked to call their local bank branch as soon as possible.

“If they’ve given up any information, they should definitely call us right away so we can help them change their numbers and void the fraud,” Breen said.

Lewiston Sun Journal writer Dan Hartill contributed to this report.

nricker@bangordailynews.net

990-8190

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/08/27/news/bangor/bangor-savings-patrons-targeted-by-phone-scam/ printed on August 1, 2014