New Scam Reported; Never Give Out Personal Information Over Phone

The Plymouth branch of First Source Bank has reported a new scam in the area that has already victimized a client of the bank. Cheryl Scarberry, operations manager at the bank, said a woman called her and explained that her husband had died just a few weeks ago. Recently, she said she had been called by someone who claimed to be with Social Security and expressed their sympathy at her loss before explaining they wanted to help her get things arranged to get the most benefits that she could from her late husband’s Social Security.

Scarberry said the woman reported being asked a variety of questions like whether or not she owned her home, how many vehicles she had and whether they were paid off, how much she spent on average at the store, and several other questions. Afterward, the scammer asked her for her credit card number and Social Security number. Unfortunately, the victim complied, but after the call was completed she realized what she had done.

She called the credit card company to cancel her card, and called First Source Bank to report what had happened. After Scarberry helped her through the process of placing a security freeze on her credit, she sent out a mass e-mail informing people of the scam.

Scarberry said it is easy to avoid being a victim of such scams; simply do not give out your information when solicited.

“Probably the best practice that you can have is give no information by phone unless you know, for a fact, that you are talking to somebody that really needs it. No one from Social Security or a bank is ever going to call you, ask you for a credit card number; they’re not going to ask you for your Social Security number because they already have that information,” said Scarberry.

Scarberry said it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep such information to yourself, as the companies already have that information and do not need it. Unless you started the call, and know that you will need to provide the information, do not give it away.

“So, unless you’ve initiated the call and you know that you’re talking to the bank or that you are talking to Social Security, or your credit card company, just don’t give that information. Any private, personal information, birth dates – no one needs to know that information. They ask you for spending habits, if you own property, if you own cars; don’t give them that information. It’s just not anything that anybody else needs to know,” Scarberry explained.