Phone scam phishes for bank account info

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Sgt. William Baker said local residents reported getting phone calls with a recorded message of a person claiming to be from Greylock Federal Credit Union.

The message tells listeners that fraudulent activity has been detected on their Greylock Federal credit card, and it has temporary been suspended, he said.

He said the message continues to say that in order for people to reactivate their cards, they have to plug in their account and pin number using the phone key pad.

"I just wish it would stop because our phones keep ringing," Baker said.

In order to slow down the calls to the police department about the scam, North Adams Police set up a message on the reverse 911 system Saturday, which will run until Tuesday. The system will make two automated attempts to contact residences — between 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. — and messages will be left on answering machines.

The automated message lets people know police are aware of the scam, he said, but now the police department is getting calls questioning if the police message is legitimate.

Adams Police estimate they received between 100 and 150 calls this weekend about the scam and Williamstown Police received 16 calls.

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Baker said the recorded message has targeted people with accounts through Greylock Federal as well as those who have no connection to the credit union, and police are advising people about what to do if they gave out their personal information.

John Bissell, senior vice president of marketing and administration for the Greylock Federal Credit Union, said this weekend's scam is similar to one reported in The Berkshire Eagle on March 16, and it has hit other financial institutions in Berkshire County as well as across the country.

Besides Greylock Federal, alerts about the scam have been posted on the Web sites of the Williamstown Saving Bank, Hoosac Bank and South Adams Savings Bank.

The phone scam was first reported in The Berkshire Eagle after 70 Pittsfield residents reported recorded phone calls from a person claiming to be with Greylock Federal to the local police department. An article published the following day stated Greylock Federal estimated thousands of its 65,000 customers received the weekend phone calls.

Bissell said Greylock Federal has been educating its customers not to give out personal information over the telephone or Internet, and plans to team up with some larger financial institutions to continue educating people.

"The bright spot is of the people here who are members and nonmembers, very few have fallen for (the scam)," he said.

He said the primary message Greylock Federal is trying to get out to people who receive the recorded phone call is to just hang up the phone.

Anyone who has fallen victim to the scam is asked to contact their financial institution immediately.


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