It happened to the Bank of the Cascades three years ago -- Central Oregonians were bombarded with automated phone calls and scams asking for account information -- and on Friday, the fake texts were back.
"Our customer Service team at the Bank of the Cascades is obviously highly on alert," said Chief Banking Officer Chip Reeves on Friday.
Reeves said the scam started on Sunday with a handful of calls. People received texts saying their accounts were deactivated and a number was provided to call. That number directed them to key in their account numbers.
" It's frustrating for the whole industry," Reeves said. "The entire banking industry will never, ever contact any of their customers asking specifically for social security numbers, for account numbers, pins."
Reeves says phishing scams like these happen every day all across the country.
While he doesn't know how many people in Central Oregon were targeted, he says the bank confirmed about 70 cases on Friday.
He said five customers gave out account information, but the bank was able to freeze their accounts and nobody lost money.
It wasn't only customers withe the Bank of the Cascades who got the text, but the scam is targeting people who live in Central Oregon.
Reeves said people need to take precautions and be careful with personal information, but he said customer information and accounts are safe.
"Our systems are completely safe, not compromised at all," he said.
Many people posted on NewsChannel 21's Facebook page that they got the text message, and knew immediately it was a scam. They sent those messages to the trash.
Bend resident Scott Morgan didn't get the text, but told NewsChannel 21 this one's a no-brainer.
"I'm sorry if people have gotten scammed by that," Morgan said. "But in the world we live in, we need to be a little bit more skeptical, then having the bank, that already has your account information, you know, texting you and asking for your account information."
Bank of the Cascades sent NewsChannel 21 this release late this afternoon:
Bank of the Cascades Text Scam Awareness
Bank of the Cascades’ name has been circulating in a text message scam targeting a group of Central Oregon community members. The text messages misleadingly tell recipients that their bank card has been de-activated and to call a local phone number where they are prompted to enter their bank card numbers. If you have received a message like this, please do not respond and contact Bank of the Cascades or your financial institution immediately.
Unfortunately these types of cyber attacks happen every day using names of banks and companies around the world. They are originated by cyber thieves and are in no way associated with the financial institutions they name. The Bank of the Cascades team would like to take this opportunity to reassure customers and neighbors and remind them of safe banking practices.
Most importantly, never respond to text messages, emails or phone calls asking for personal information such as account numbers, account information or personal identification numbers. Financial institutions will never contact you to ask for personal information. If you get a communication, email, phone call or text that concerns you, call your bank’s main phone number right away. Do not respond using phone numbers that are included in the messages.
Please know that Bank of the Cascades’ systems are safe, and have not been compromised. In addition, when a cyber scam occurs, be assured that the Bank acts immediately and in partnership with law enforcement, regulatory agencies and security services vendors. In this particular instance, the phone number involved in this scam was disconnected after the Bank learned of the scam.
We believe in the security of online commerce and are happy to visit with our customers and neighbors at any time to provide information and training on how to protect privacy and confidently utilize online services. For online security information, visit the Bank of the Cascades website botc.com.