North Alabama bank officials warn customers of phone scams

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- North Alabama bankers warn people on Monday to watch their wallets.

Customers say they've received frequent phone calls from scammers who pose as bankers and try to steal their information.

"It's out there right now. Your information, my information. It's readily available for sale. They have a treasure trove of information," North Alabama Educators Credit Union President Greg Olmsted said.

Bankers in northern Alabama say scammers paid so they can get your name, phone number and in some cases, card number.

"These thieves have a lot of data, but they don't have those last three digits. And that's what they're calling about," Redstone Federal Credit Union CEO Joseph Newberry said.

"When they get that information, within 15-20 minutes, money is coming out of your account," Olmsted said.

Bankers say in recent weeks, customers have gotten a rash of phone calls from scammers who try to talk people into giving over the three numbers on the back of your card.

"They convince the person they are who they say they are, even when they're not. A lot of people will say, 'I should've known better.' And it's after the fact," Olmsted said.

Olmsted says aside from just hanging up the phone if it sounds like a scammer is calling you: be proactive, take control of your account, set daily limits on transactions and purchase limits, so you'll know if anyone else, but you, are trying to get access to it.

"If a transaction goes through for $75, even if I did it, I'm going to get an alert," Olmsted said. "If I didn't, I know right away my card has been hacked and I can start calling, telling people to block my card."

Bankers say recent data breaches put millions of people's information at risk. Thieves also mask their phone numbers, victims think it's the bank, a friend or even law enforcement calls.

Bankers say to watch your credit, because scammers may be using your account information to apply for loans.

You're entitled to three free credit reports a year, from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.