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AG: Scam targets bank customers

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is warning Arkansas consumers about a widespread scam in which con artists are posing as representatives of financial institutions in order to obtain credit card information.

The scammers use automated telephone calls and text messages in attempts to mislead consumers into believing that their credit cards have been “locked” by a bank. Consumers are asked to begin the “unlocking” process by providing their credit card numbers.

“These calls are clearly intended to deceive Arkansans into thinking it is their own bank on the other end of the line,” McDaniel said. “Consumers should never provide sensitive financial or personal information to unsolicited callers.”

In the scam affecting Arkansans, consumers hear an automated message in which they are told their “Liberty Bank MasterCard” has been locked and that they should press “1” to begin the unlocking process. If consumers stay on the line, they are asked for their credit card numbers, which would presumably be obtained for illegal purposes.

Liberty Bank in Jonesboro is now Centennial Bank. Representatives of the bank said that the scam calls are going to customers and noncustomers alike. The scam calls originate from a variety of numbers and area codes.

Similar scams have been employed in the past few months with the calls claiming to be originating from different banks in different parts of the state.

McDaniel reminded consumers that banks and credit-card companies already know their customers’ bank account numbers and card numbers, so those institutions would not make unsolicited calls seeking such information.

Bank customers unsure about the legitimacy of a call should hang up the phone and contact their financial institutions directly.

Those customers who have received the scam calls and provided their information should immediately contact their financial institution.

McDaniel said consumers who receive scam calls or texts should hang up and report the originating telephone number to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Anyone who receives a threat or feels threatened should contact local law enforcement.

Consumers may reach the Consumer Protection Division at (800) 482-8982 or visit www.GotYourBackArkansas.org.

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