After receiving multiple reports of "robo calls" targeting Rhode Island debit card holders, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is warning consumers of the latest scam attempting to steal debit card and bank account information.
The scam works like this: consumers receive an automated call, or "robo call," claiming that their debit card has been compromised, suspended or even deactivated. The call then prompts the consumer to be put through to a live operator, or, in some cases, contact a callback number. Once the consumer speaks to an operator, they are asked to confirm sensitive information, such as debit card numbers, pin codes, and bank account numbers.
"Over the past few days, our office has seen an uptick in complaints about this latest scam. Technology has made it cheap and easy for thieves to blanket unsuspecting consumers with fraudulent calls, often originating outside the state and even possibly outside the country," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Fortunately, none of the consumers who have contacted our office have fallen prey to this scam, which shows that education really is the best way to protect oneself from these criminal outfits."
To help you avoid being scammed, Attorney General Kilmartin has put together some tips so consumers can recognize and prevent this scam:
• The number one advice to consumers is to NEVER give out banking information (routing number, debit card number, pin number, etc...) to someone who calls you.
• Banks do NOT contact customers looking for this information.
• If you receive a call like this, hang up without giving out the information and contact your bank directly - using the phone number listed on the back of your card or on a bank statement you have received in the mail.
• If you receive a voicemail with a call back number - do NOT call that number back. Call your bank directly, using the phone number listed on the back of your card or on a bank statement.
• If you believe you have been scammed, contact your bank to report the possible scam as soon as possible.
• It may be safest to cancel that credit card or debit card and request a new one from your bank.
• Monitor your account daily for suspicious activity or debits, and report any to the bank immediately.
The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, this office may file in the Superior Court a civil investigative demand, which is a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.
Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.
The Consumer Protection Unit is available to speak to community groups on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft and other scams. For more information, please visit www.riag.ri.gov or call (401) 274-4400.