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Bank scam has Ravalli County residents on high alert

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jul 24 2013 10:55:31 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A convincing message that something is wrong with your bank account could be on your mobile phone. 

NBC Montana learned of a bank scam going on in the area.

Wednesday morning many Ravalli County residents woke up to a text message saying their debit card had been locked and they needed to share their card number to unlock it.

We traveled to Ravalli County and talked to Farmers State Bank representatives who say beware of scams like this because banks should never ask for sensitive information over a text message.

Longtime Hamilton resident Mary Crosby tells NBC Montana she's very protective of her savings.

“Unless it's my bank and I know it's my bank you're not getting my debit card,” she tells us. 

Crosby says this morning when she awoke to a text urging her to share her debit card information she immediately knew something was wrong.

“I wasn't worried about it but I knew something wasn't right because that's not how they get a hold of you,” she said.  “They call you or send you mail.”

She says her husband and daughter received the same message but her daughter doesn't bank with Farmers State Bank.

“My daughter doesn't bank with them and she's like ‘How did they get my number and how am I connected?’” said Crosby.  “My husband was freaking out because it's our bank, it's our money.” 

Owen Robbins, Vice President of Marketing for Farmers State Bank, tells us they never solicit personal information from someone via email, text message or over the phone.

“If we have questions we may call them but they're going to have to identify themselves,” said Robbins.  “We have to be very secure that that is who were talking to and likewise when they call us.”   

Crosby says it's the first time she's ever been contacted by a scammer and that's why she went right to her bank to follow up.

“I never had a thought of contacting them (the scammers) just because that's not a Montana number and it tells me something is wrong,” she said. 

“People in general just need to exercise real caution because this is so common in our day,” said Robbins.  “Don't share information you're not comfortable with anyone having.”  

As for Crosby, she's just glad her money is safe.

“I work hard for my money so I’m not giving it away for free,” she said.    

Robbins tells us the Farmers State Bank system was not breached and their clients’ accounts are safe.

People have reported getting text messages from a number beginning with the area code 210.

Bank representatives say if you believe you fell victim to the scam, call your bank immediately and cancel your card.