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Public warned about fraud aimed at getting bank, credit card data

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 1:34 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2010

As scam robocalls continued yesterday, Hawaii banks renewed their warning against a new bank phishing campaign that asks for credit card and other bank account numbers.

People are being warned to never give out their account or credit card numbers or other highly sensitive information via phone, text messaging or e-mail unless speaking to a personal banker or someone they can confirm is a bank representative, according to the Hawaii Bankers Association.

Hawaii banks started getting complaints about the calls Friday, and the association, which represents the state's 11 FDIC-member banks, issued a press release late that afternoon informing the public about the scam, said Gary Fujitani, the group's executive director.

Affected banks include, but may not be limited to, First Hawaiian Bank, Bank of Hawaii and American Savings Bank, the state's three largest financial institutions.

Officials with both First Hawaiian and Bankoh confirmed yesterday that their banks have received calls about the fraudulent calls, texts and e-mails.

Fujitani said the only reason he knows American Savings is being named is because he personally received a fraudulent e-mail yesterday morning from an address claiming to represent the institution. Fujitani said he does not have any accounts with that bank.

The automated recorded phone messages identify themselves as calling for a local bank and informs recipients that their accounts are being deactivated. The fraudulent text messages include a number to call that requests a 16-digit credit card number.

The association recommends people hang up on the calls and delete the texts and e-mails.

Anyone who has responded to a questionable call, text or e-mail should contact the bank's customer service department immediately. Customer service numbers are listed on the backs of credit cards.

"In the ordinary course of business, your bank will not use e-mail, text messaging or try to call you over the phone to get this kind of information," Fujitani said.

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