Thousands of area debit card users target of phishing calls

May 17, 2013 (NILES, Ill.)

These calls appear to be phishing scams.

That's when scammers try to get your checking, debit or credit card information to steal from your accounts or go on an unauthorized shopping sprees.

The Swidler family got a call at their Niles home recently.

An automated voice saying a problem with their account required giving up their account number.

Saundra picked up.

"I listened to this and thought no no no. This is not for me. Hang up," she said.

"I told her she did the right thing," her husband Eddie Swidler said. "And she is very, very smart-which she is."

The Deputy Chief of Park Ridge Police Department, Lou Jogmen, got three similar calls: to home, his cell and at the police station.

"To inform you that debit card has been temporarily suspended. In order to reactivated it please press one now and you will be transferred to your security department," the calls said.

"They are preying on your fear of having your information stolen yet they're the ones ironically that are trying to do it," Jogmen said.

The assistant director of the Midwest region for the Federal Trade Commission Jeff Kossow says if you think there's a real problem, you make the call to the bank.

"Never give out your bank account or any other information," Kossow said. "If they call you, you don't know who you are talking to."

"Call the customer service number that's on the back of your card or that's on your bank statement so that when you're making the call you know who you are talking to," he said.

Back in Niles, there is much we can learn from the savvy Swidlers.

"By all means don't give out any information on your checking account your credit cards or anything like that," Saundra Swidler said.

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