Phishing scam still lures victims

Aug 2 2011 - 10:48pm

Phishing scam still lures victims

OGDEN -- Despite previous warnings, people continue to fall victim to a phishing scam and give out their Social Security, debit card and PIN numbers.

The Weber County Sheriff's Office does not know the total number of victims at this time, but Cpl. Nichole Jones said she spent a good part of Tuesday fielding complaints of phishing incidents.

"When you are talking to one complainant," Jones said, "they tell you about five other complainants that it happened to last week."

The scammers, usually pretending to be from Wells Fargo, make automated calls to area residents' cellular phones and ask for personal information. The calls claim there is a problem with the victim's account, that it has been compromised, and ask for the personal information.

Officials from Wells Fargo said some scammers send text messages attempting to get the same information.

Not everyone receiving the calls is a Wells Fargo customer. The scammers are casting a big net, using the name of a well-known bank to ensnare victims.

Jones said the scammers are calling from a trunk phone number that so far cannot be tracked. The number appears to be similar to one used by Wells Fargo Mortgage, but police do not have a suspect at this time.

Those who get such a call should immediately hang up and contact their bank, Jones said.

The bank's phone number should be listed on the back of the debit card, online or on bank statements.

But most importantly, do not give any information to the caller.

"They won't call you back," Jones said. "They hang up and they move on to the next potential victim."

However, many people give out all their information without giving it a second thought.

"People are still giving out their information and then they go, 'No, that wasn't smart,' then they call us," Jones said, "but there isn't much we can do about that."

Jones said most people do not realize they have been scammed until after they hang up. The effects of such a scam may not be noticed until months or years later, when the victim applies for credit.

Those who fall victim to the scam should contact the Weber County Sheriff's Office to file a report, as well as the three major credit reporting companies and their bank. Wells Fargo customers can call 1-866-867-5568, and Wachovia customers should call 1-888-647-3648.

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