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Attorney General William Sorrell, The Vermont Department Of Financial Regulation And Merchants Bank Warn Consumers Of Telephone And Text Phishing Scam

CONTACT: Jason Duquette-Hoffman, Consumer Assistance Program, (802) 656-8755

May 21, 2012

Attorney General William Sorrell, together with the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation and Merchants Bank, is warning consumers of a resurgence of fraudulent text messages and telephone calls to consumer mobile phone numbers claiming to come from their bank, in this most recent case Merchants Bank, and indicating that the consumer’s debit card has been compromised. These calls are scams and do not originate from the bank.

These scam calls and text messages direct consumers to call or text debit card or account numbers and information to “confirm” the account. The calls are “phishing” scams, attempts to steal consumer account information by posing as the bank and scaring consumers into providing sensitive account information. The messages are typically some variation of the following:

"This is an official notification from Merchants Bank, informing you that your Mastercard (or VISA) needs to be updated for security reasons. To begin the update process, please press "1" now."

Consumers should not respond to any call or text asking for bank account, debit card, or pin numbers, no matter how “legitimate” it sounds. If you have received one of these calls or text messages, you may report it to the Consumer Assistance Program at 800-649-2424 or by email at consumer@uvm.edu. If you responded to one of these calls or texts with account information, please contact your bank immediately. You may also report these calls to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

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