Numerous Kaplan residents made the right decision to call the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office after receiving suspicious phone calls relating to their private bank accounts.
According to Sheriff Mike Couvillon, the concerned individuals received phone calls from unknown persons indicating their banks accounts had been compromised.
Couvillon stated these calls had originated from “spoofed” or untraceable numbers originating from foreign countries.
“The purpose of these calls were to obtain credit card and/or debit card account information,” said the sheriff. “The callers have no idea of who you bank with.”
Couvillon went on to say this practice is called “vishing” versus “phising” which is an internet or email based scam.
Vishing exploits the public’s trust in landline telephone services.
He also stated the calls went to local residents, regardless of who they banked with, but were targeted towards Kaplan State and Vermilion Bank. This was due to the proximity of their location.
This is how the scam is set up. A consumer receives a pre-recorded phone call identifying themselves as a specific local institution.
The message informs the consumer that their personal bank accounts have been frozen and advised them to immediately input their ATM or debit card number, along with their PIN number to reactivate the account.
Unauthorized withdrawals are occuring (in other countries) immediately after the information is input.
Bank officials want everyone to know that if one of their employees should contact you, they will NOT ask you to divulge your account number, social security number, PIN number or password.
“There are many scams that have been occurring over the past months,” said Kaplan State Bank President, Paul Meaux. “This most recent one has not targeted any of our customers. What is good about small community banks such as Kaplan State and Vermilion Bank is that we know our customers and our customers know us. If anyone should contact you for information, kindly ask their name and call the bank back. Do NOT under any circumstances give out your personal information or your bank account information”
Vermilion Bank President Blake Williams added, “I would like to re-assure our customers that there were no breaches in our system or any account numbers compromised.”
“Scams are everywhere and coming at you from various mediums and while the bank spares no expense to protect our customers information, the consumer must be vigilant about protecting his personal information.”
Finally, Sheriff Couvillon says that his office is working closely with the two banks in regard to this matter and offers these safety tips in an effort to help pevent you from becoming a potential victim.
•Adopt a needtoknow approach about giving personal information to others.
•Never give out your credit card number or bank account number.
•Pay attentionto billing cycles.
•Use passwords on credit cards and bank accounts.
•Remember that when you have an open account with any financial institution, they should already have all of your account information, and you should not have to provided them with any additional information.
•Use common sense, “If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.”