Camilla phones ringing off the hook with scammers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Camilla phones ringing off the hook with scammers

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

December 19, 2008

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) - Scammers targeted hundreds of people in Camilla this week and they succeeded in ripping off thousands of dollars.

Local banks are still getting calls from people confused and concerned about the attempts to get their personal banking information.

Business was fairly slow at the Bank of Camilla Friday. But Thursday the lobby was packed with concerned bankers.

"There were some 200 calls made to our customers in a 10 minute time period," said Bank of Camilla Security officer Jay McKenzie.

Starting as early as 7 am scammers hit house and cell phones of at least 500 Mitchell Countians.

"They would tell them that their information had been compromised at the bank, and that they wanted to verify their information," said Investigator Vernon Nobles with the Camilla Police Department.

Scammers asked for bank account and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and the back three digit code.

John McKenzie got two calls Thursday. The first one came early from an automated recording.

"Second call came about 6:30 Thursday night and it was a lady and she wanted to know about my security card, and I hung up," says 84-year-old John McKenzie.

He didn't fall for it, and neither did any other bankers at the Bank of Camilla.

"We were very lucky that we had no one give out any information," said Bank of Camilla security officer.

But customers at Planters and Citizens Bank did fall for the scam. 12 people gave out their information and six of those accounts were jeopardized. Each scammer took out over 300 dollars from people's bank accounts.

"On those phone numbers that come up on the caller Id's, they were legitimate businesses in other states. One was as far away as California.

Scammers have ways of spoofing any number they want, even legitimate businesses.

It's important not to let the number, or even an actual person's voice fool you.

"I've learned better after 84 years," says John McKenzie.

So if you haven't learned already learn now. Never give out your personal information over the phone.

You could find yourself a victim of a scam.

Unfortunately customers who fell for the scam...have to pay back the bank for the money lost. Feedback