Woman falls victim to telephone banking scam

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman says she fell victim to a phone scammer who claimed to be a representative from her bank.

She lost thousands of dollars to whoever was on the other end of the call made toll-free, she said.

"(The scammer) said, ‘Hey, we had a suspicious charge for you down in Georgia, and we’re thinking that it might not be you,’" the woman, who did not want to be identified, said.

The woman, who banks with USAA, confirmed that she did not spend money in Georgia.

“They said, ‘OK, that's what we suspected. I'm going to go ahead and send you a PIN, and you'll get a text in just a second. If you could, just confirm that we’ll go ahead cancel the card,’” the victim said. “I get the PIN from USAA, and I read it back to the person on the phone.”

They asked to enroll her in a security system, which required another PIN to be texted to her and read back to the person on the phone.

"Ultimately, the gentleman that I was on the phone with was the actual thief," the woman said.

She checked her bank account a short time later and $11,000 was stolen.

She later learned the thief already had her Social Security number and debit card information. The PIN she provided from her bank sealed the deal.

“The gentleman at USAA, he explained that likely the Social Security number had been a part of one of the big breaches a couple of years ago,” the woman said.

She wants to warn others.

“He was very nice to me on the phone,” she said. “The fact that while that was happening, he was stealing and transferring all this money was just unexpected to say the least. It was so real. I'm very guarded, and I don’t ever willingly give out information.”

She advised that people should stay vigilant.

USAA officials said the same scam is happening across the country connected to banks, along with other industries where bills need to be paid.

They also said they will not ask for sensitive information over the phone.

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