Archive for Monday, June 30, 2008

Beware: Fraudulent callers soliciting personal information

Automated calls falsely say bank accounts have been suspended

June 30, 2008


An ominous phone message warning of her bank accounts being compromised scared Veruschka Frolow into disclosing her bank account number, personal identification number, even the access code on the back of her ATM card to an unnamed voice at the end of the phone line.

Then she really got scared.

"I called my bank as soon as I hung up," Frolow said Monday, a day after she had put an immediate freeze on her account, fearing she had been scammed by calling the unnamed entity back. "Usually I don't ever give out anything. I don't know what happened to me, but it panicked me. I thought somebody was messing with my accounts, and I wanted to rectify the situation. But really it was a scam."

Turns out the call to Frolow's Lawrence home wasn't the only one placed over the weekend to residents in the area, with automated voices on the other end of the line seeking access to personal financial information.

Ginger Wehner, vice president of KU Credit Union, said that a "fraudulent entity" had targeted the credit union's customers and noncustomers alike. In the calls, an automated voice said the call was pertaining to an account that had been suspended because of suspicious activity.

She said the calls were part of a random "vishing" expedition - a scam she described as a combination of "voice" and phishing, one in which a caller aims to gain access to private personal and financial information with designs on stealing money.

Victims often are unaware that people engaging in vishing can engage in caller ID spoofing and use of complex automated voice systems that can lead some to believe that the improper calls are legitimate, Wehner said.

"KU Credit Union maintains strict security standards and procedures to prevent unauthorized access to member information, and we are doing everything possible to shut these illegal operations down as quickly as possible," Wehner said, in a statement.

"It is important for our members to know these are random phone calls proven by the fact that we have a lot of nonmembers notifying us about the fraudulent calls, and the only way accounts are compromised in any way is when unsuspecting individuals respond and give these scam artists their personal account information."

Wehner's advice to anyone receiving a call suspected of being a scam:

¢ Be alert when receiving messages directing you to call and provide any type of personal account information. Rather than provide information, members are advised not to respond to any phone call, e-mail, or other communication asking for personal information such as user names, passwords, PIN numbers, or account numbers including credit or debit card information, as the credit union already has this information.

¢ If making a call to the credit union, members should only use the phone numbers listed on the credit union's Web site,, or (785) 749-2224 and (800) 897-6991.

Frolow, for her part, doesn't even have an account at KU Credit Union. And she's confident she won't be responding to any calls from scammers in the future.

"I'll know what to do next time," she said. "I'll call my bank first, before I do anything."


chucknoblet 9 years, 10 months ago

I got that call in the middle of the night. It woke me up. I had to play the answering machine message several times the next morning to make out who they said they were. They gave a phone number to call back. Last time I tried to report a fraud call like that to the state's consumer protection office, they made it SO hard to file a complaint that I just gave up, so I didn't even attempt it this time. The state office makes you do so much work to report it, that it's less time-consuming to just put up with the calls.

adriennerm 9 years, 9 months ago

XTC (Anonymous) says: My 75 year old mother got the call Saturday night too.She called me, try and explain phishing to a 75 year old at 1:30 in the morning!! I hope the Feds nab themI agree with you. I have an elderly father and he keeps getting emails from jerks like this. He almost gave up his info, but thank God he called me first. I warned him about the calls also.

Godot 9 years, 10 months ago

I checked my email right after reading this account, and there was this message:Dear Customer,66 Federal Credit Union temporarily suspended your account.Reason: Fraud attemptsTo reactivate your account call the total free number: 870-390-4311¢Don't click on links within emails that ask for your personal information.¢Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen.¢Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up to date.¢Only open email attachments if you're expecting them and know what they contain.¢If someone contacts you and says you've been a victim of fraud, verify the person's identity before you provide any personal information. ¢Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information. Local: 870-390-4311Toll Free: 1-870-390-4311© 2008 66 Federal Credit Union. All rights reserved.

4chewnut 9 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know if there is anything you can do -- other than the obvious just unplug your phone during the night?

onceinawhile 9 years, 10 months ago

SWGlassPit: The article clearly defines vishing. "Vishing, she said, is a combination of "voice" and phishing, in which a caller aims to gain access to private personal and financial information with designs on stealing money."Also, the same frauds have been sending out fake KU Credit Union e-mails, many of which I've received. Don't follow the link it provides or respond to those e-mails, either!

Katherine Greene 9 years, 10 months ago

I got one of the middle of the night call this weekend and sent emails to the Federal Trade Commission, the Kansas Attorney General's office, and to 66 Credit Union. So far, no one has replied.

Ragingbear 9 years, 10 months ago

There are also those calling people about stuff claiming to be from the Fraternal Order of State Troopers or some hogwash like that. So watch out.

tir 9 years, 10 months ago

I got called in the middle of the night by these jerks. I didn't answer because my caller ID couldn't identify who it was. A machine left me a partial voicemail ..."account suspended due to unusual activity" and then gave a phone number that had an Oklahoma area code and is NOT an 800 toll-free number, so I figured it was a scam. I Googled part of the message and saw that people all over the country have been targeted by these phone calls, often in the middle of the night, also by text messages on cell phones and emails. I think they must call during the day, too, because lately I've been getting a lot of "no name/no number" phone calls without any voicemail being left. I don't answer those either.

bangaranggerg 9 years, 10 months ago

Wow I got the calls from the State Troopers and KU credit union last night, so both were fakes. I figured that the Credit Union was because I don't even have an account there.

asbarkincat 9 years, 9 months ago

4chewnut...If you have Sunflower phone service hit *80 and you can go thru instructions on how to block their phone number, but you'd have to have the phone number.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

Credit Union. So far, no one has replied.---Kat, just wait, when I phoned the KUCU, as we are members, it took forever to get through on the phone! there are very very many people being called. I answered the call, 10p.m. hour saturday night, heard the tellme female computer voice say that "your account has been suspended due to unusual activity." recommended calling a phone number down in northern ok, where the head office is (its owned by 66federal credit union). call was placed from a 518 area code number. I gave that number to the kucu staff once I finally got through. they seem to really want those numberrs, so if you have it on caller-id, get that in to them. ***the warnings in this article should apply to every one all the time these days! don't give your account info out over the phone! if you do, you're too stupid to have money.

Bunny_Hotcakes 9 years, 10 months ago

50Year, they are probably using VoIP phones. They can get an American-looking phone number that rings anywhere in the world. Voicemail systems (press 1 for this, 2 for that) are cheap and easy to configure, too. Tracking the number might get you an IP address, but that depends on local law enforcement's ability and willingness to cooperate and the ISP's ability to track down who has what's pretty much a nightmare to investigate and prosecute.

50YearResident 9 years, 10 months ago

Can't these scammers be caught by tracing back the phone connection? I got one of these calls and Called ID showed out of area.

Piggles 9 years, 10 months ago

I got a call 9:36 pm saturday night and an automated voice machine saying it KUCU and my acct "suspended due to suspicious activity". It gave me a number to call that is in Okla. I figure a scam. My mom told me she got call after midnight and she does not have caller ID so she answered thinking phone call in middle of night means emergency?. Someone else got one at 2:30 in the morning couple weeks ago. The number that showed up on my caller ID was from Ontario, Canada!! That's when I knew it was a fake. I emailed KUCU and told them what happened and gave them the two numbers- where it was from and the number that was mentioned to call to "straighten out my acct" so that KUCU can catch the operation and shut it down. I got a response back from KUCU plus they also sent me another email about "vishing".

XTC 9 years, 10 months ago

My 75 year old mother got the call Saturday night too. She called me, try and explain phishing to a 75 year old at 1:30 in the morning!! I hope the Feds nab them.

Deb Stavin 9 years, 10 months ago

I got the call at 2:10 a.m. What idiots!

Mari Aubuchon 9 years, 10 months ago

I received this call at 11:30 on Saturday night. The CallerID was for some guy in Alameda CA (according to reverse lookup) but the number they asked me to call was in OK.I do not have an account with KUCU so it seems to be affecting others as well.Grrrrr...

KansasPerson 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad they carried this story on the front page this morning. We got the call late Saturday night, I think, and I spent some time trying to call KUCU on Monday morning. I knew it had to be a scam because I don't even HAVE a KUCU account. I never did get through to KUCU (I was on hold forever, and I had other things I had to get done) so I'm glad they already know about it and are trying to put a stop to it.One part of the article I don't understand -- it says that Veruschka Frolow gave out all that info (bank account number, etc.) to someone on the other end of the line, but then at the end it says that she doesn't even have a KU Credit Union account. What bank account info was she giving out then?

4chewnut 9 years, 9 months ago

FYI -- they are using different phone numbers. Not sure that blocking would work.

1029 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm suprised that Kansans are being targeted. Don't these scammers know that Kansans are some of the most intelligent Americans out there? We won't be fooled by some amateur scam like this just like we weren't fooled by liberal propaganda such as "evolution" and "global warming". These scammers should move on to California or New York or some other wacko leftist state!2:10 am? Only latte liberal don't-have-a-family democrats would be up at such an hour to make phone calls. This all just really comes down to a lack of family values...

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