Local News

Authorities warn about cell phone scam

SEBRING -Authorities are warning residents about a new scam where cell phone users are receiving fake automated calls about their debit cards being locked. The Highlands County Sheriff's Office has been notified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement of a new scam, said a news release from the sheriff's office. Cell phone users are reportedly receiving automated calls, which show up as a four digit number on caller ID. The calls indicate the consumer's debit card is locked and prompts them to press "1" on their keypad to unlock the card. Once the number is pressed, the call connects to a live operator posing as a representative from the National Credit Union Association, who requests at least the debit card number and address, and sometimes also asks for a list of recent transactions and the card's PIN number.
"If you receive a call like this please simply hang up. You may want to check with your financial institution just to be sure, but it is unlikely that your debit card has actually been compromised. If you suspect your information has been compromised your financial institution should issue you a new card, and you should file at least an informational report with your local law enforcement agency," the news release adds. A financial institution will never send an email or phone call asking for personal information, the news release adds. "Any such communication is definitely a scam." This scam is similar to a recent one involving computer operating systems where victims turned over control of their computer to a caller posing as a representative from MicroSoft, going to "fix" your system. "Instead, the caller installs a virus and significantly damages your computer and retrieves your information," the news release adds. "In general people should not follow the directions of any technician on the phone or over the Internet when you have not initiated the call," warns Sheriff Susan Benton. "Be sure you use qualified people if you have a problem with your computer, credit or debit cards or smartphone."