Phishing scheme hits Region 8, claiming to be Bancorp South

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "People try to obtain information by a normal means, such as a text message or a phone call. The only way it works is if people cooperate," Bancorp South Community Bank President, Joe Williams said regarding a scheme hitting Region 8.

The latest attempt was through a batch of emails, explaining to consumers that their bank cards had been deactivated. It then prompted them to reactivate it by calling a number made available. That's when the "phishers" try to fish information out of you, but it's information your bank already has.

"They have your name, your social security number your address and your card numbers," Williams said.

So when you get a phone call from someone claiming to be your bank, needing that information, Williams said hang up the phone. Williams told Region 8 News that many people have already been tricked into this scheme, though.

"People who have entered their information, we're seeing transactions processed against their accounts within a matter of minutes," Williams said. He told Region 8 News that giving away that kind of information can lead to identity theft, which can take thousands of dollars to correct. Williams said it wasn't just Bancorp South members who were targeted.

"All because you got a call doesn't mean you're a target. It was just random chance."

Williams explained that the system is like that of robocalls you receive during an election season. The software goes through and dials numbers sequentially. Williams said because of this, even Bancorp South received robo dials from the same people who are scheming their customers.

"When they saw our caller ID of course they hang up. But it's just an indication that everybody across Region Eight, cell phones, personal lines, business lines, may receive phishing attempts from any bank."

In order to keep people from falling victim, Williams says they've been proactive in stopping the phishers.

"We have actually shut down hundreds of websites and hundreds of phone numbers to stop this scam," he said. He added that they'll continue to do so, at the bank's expense, until it's over.

Region 8 News tried calling the number. An automated message informed us that the party we dialed wasn't accepting calls at that time.

Williams said if you do happen upon a website or a phone line that is still active, to contact your bank.

"Send it to us, send it to your bank. But most of all, don't answer the question. Let's keep your money safe," Williams said.

If you have given away your personal information, contact your bank so they can stop any further transactions. After that, contact local law enforcement to further resolve the problem.

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