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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Banks warn of card scam

Banks warn of card scam

Calls ask for customers’ personal information to be provided over the phone

Bank customers in Union County and in Northeast Oregon are being warned to be on the alert for a debit and credit card phone scam.

Customers of some banks have reported receiving phone calls from someone telling them that they need to provide them information to reactivate their bank’s debit and credit cards. The customers are being asked to provide personal bank information, including their debit and credit card numbers.

Keith Burghardt of Walla Walla, executive vice president of Community Bank, which has branches in La Grande, said that customers should never provide any information about their credit or debit cards over the phone. Customers should be particularly wary of callers who use general terms and do not specifically identify their bank. They may say something as general as they are with banking services company. 

“They are fishing for information,” Burghardt said.

People who are suspicious of a caller are urged to end their phone conversation immediately. 

“If you are uncertain, hang up and call your bank directly,” Burghardt said. 

Burghardt said that the scam could be linked to one in Eastern Washington involving URM Stores Inc., a Spokane grocery retailer. 

That scam is being investigated by the Secret Service, according to a late November story in the Spokesman Review. The scam is the largest Spokane has experienced in nine years, according to the Secret Service.

Ken Olson, president of Old West Credit Union, which is based in Baker City and serves Union County customers, is reporting they are receiving a rash of suspicious phone calls regarding credit cards the last few days. 

“The call is automated and notifies the member that their debit card is suspended for fraud,” Olson said. “People are reminded to never give their account information out to a caller and to call their financial institution immediately if they experience this or any other suspected fraud.”

Olson said that bank customers and credit union members alike are being affected.

La Grande Police Department Lt. Derrick Reddington said his department may have received calls regarding this scam but said if it has the number has not been great. 

Reddington said that in scams like this callers will ask people for their full name, date of birth and Social Security number. 

Such requests should immediately make people suspicious because banks and credit card companies do not ask for this type of information over the phone, Reddington said.

“Never give personal information to anyone over the phone,” Reddington said.

Reddington also said banks and credit card companies do not activate credit cards over the phone. 

“This is done by mail,” Reddington said.


Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter @lgoMason.


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