Attorney General Steve Bullock and the Billings Police Department are warning Montanans – particularly those in the Billings and Whitefish areas – of a scam targeting banking and credit union members with credit or debit cards.
The scam artists call Montanans claiming to be from the citizen’s bank or credit union. The scammer says the individual’s credit or debit card has been cancelled and the person must call a number to rectify the situation. When the victim calls, they are asked a list of questions soliciting their personal financial information – information that can be used to assume the identity of the victim and use their funds to make unapproved purchases.
“People think they’re talking to their own credit union; they give out sensitive, personal information they would never otherwise share,” Bullock said. “When it comes to stopping scams, knowledge is power. I encourage Montanans to share this information with their friends and family and to call my Office of Consumer Protection if they have any concerns at all.”
The Office of Consumer Protection is within the Attorney General’s Office and has also received multiple reports of the scam. The office can be reached at 1-800-481-6896.
Tracking down the scammers behind the con is next to impossible, said Billings Police Det. Brett Lapham. The scammers are using either disposable cell phones or utilizing a computer technology that generates fake telephone numbers, he said, making it virtually impossible to tell where the calls are really coming from.
Like Bullock, Lapham urged people to know and share the details of the scam and be wary of phone calls that sound similar.
“The more we spread the word about this, the less power the scammers will have,” Lapham said.
So far, the scam has been known to involve the members of two Billings credit unions and third in Whitefish. It is nearly identical to a scam that went through the state earlier this year.