The perpetrators of the scam have sent automated phone messages to publicly published phone numbers at random households. Most of the messages state a scenario in which the customer’s Heritage Bank account needs its transfer services to be renewed. It then provides a number to call where the person may be asked to provide sensitive information such as their account numbers or personal identification numbers. Many have also received e-mails with similar instructions.
Heritage C.E.O John Peck told The Cadiz Record that if a customer were to provide sensitive information the fraud ring could then manufacture a duplicate ATM card and access the customer’s funds through an ATM, usually outside the United States. He said that no Heritage customer or other banking customers that knows of have been taken in by the scam.
“We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been proactive in dealing with it from the beginning,” Peck said. “A lot more people who have received these messages are with Heritage.”
Peck said that no breach of data has occurred during this latest scam. He attributed the success in combating the fraud to Heritage’s “fraud detection unit.” He said that a software matrix monitors the banking patterns of customers. If a pattern deviates from the norm in a big way, an electronic banking staffer is alerted and that person will review the transaction. Most of the time, the employee can tell there isn’t anything to worry about and they let it go. If the transaction seems too suspicious, though, the account is shut down. If it turns out that the bank has made a mistake and it was a legitimate transaction, the customer can contact Heritage and have the account started up again.
Peck said he didn’t know why this latest fraud ring targeted Heritage Bank. He said he suspected that it was they have a substantial market share in the area and because the word “heritage” is a common name for may institutions across the country, financial or otherwise.
Learn what to avoid to protect yourself from scams in The Cadiz Record.