HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A new scam may be hitting the Tennessee Valley, and it starts with a simple phone call. It’s a call that hits close to home and has folks searching their wallets.
WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to warn you about scams like this. We spoke with the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama to get specific information on this.
Consumers have reported getting concerning, automated calls from a 931 number.
“It told her that her debit account was frozen. This call came from Clarksville, Tennessee,” said Elizabeth Garcia, President of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama.
“What the scammers want is any information they can get on your Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or in this case bank account numbers,” said Garcia.
She said banks don’t contact people about their accounts using automated calls. That’s the first red flag.
“They will not call you on the telephone and say that your account is frozen, and then ask for personally identifiable information,” said Garcia.
If you do happen to press a number during the call or give over personal information, Garcia said to do the following:
“Call your local banks, local credit card companies and put a fraud alert on all your accounts with the three major credit reporting firms,” she said.
Those firms are Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. If you normally do online banking, place alerts on each account so that you will be notified by email or text of any transaction based on parameters you set. This will help you spot fraudulent activity on your accounts right away.
Scammers will strike when banks are closed though, like in this situation over Easter weekend.
“That’s most definitely a plan to get people to panic because they can’t call the bank over the holiday,” said Garcia.
If the banks are closed, there is not much you can do right away. But Garcia said start gathering information to report once they do reopen.
“If you see any fraudulent activity on your accounts go ahead and track that and be ready to report it right away,” she said.
The credit reporting agencies are available 24/7 online or over the phone. You can call them immediately with any questions.