Apollo Trust customers targeted in telephone scam
At least 200 customers and non-customers contacted Apollo Trust Co. on Wednesday and Thursday to ask about a telephone scam, company officials said.
The automated phone call falsely tells people their debit cards are frozen and they need to provide personal identification numbers to reuse the cards.
Apollo Trust doesn't use automated calls to seek information from customers, officials said.
Apollo Trust discovered the scam on Wednesday and worked “well into the night” answering questions and taking steps to protect customers who gave information, said Nelson Person, Apollo Trust's president and chief executive officer.
The bank has a warning on its web page: “If you received a telephone call from Apollo Trust Company regarding your debit card, the call is fraudulent. If you provided information regarding your debit card number, please call the after hours hot card service at 1-800-264-5578 to close your debit card.”
The number of calls had tapered off by Thursday, Person said.
Apollo Trust doesn't use a recorded phone message seeking private information that the bank would already have, he said.
“Never give out personal banking information on the phone,” he warned.
If there is a customer account problem, officials would send a letter or telephone them to visit their branch, he said.
Person said the 200 or so calls came from a wide geographic area, not from customers at a particular branch. He said he isn't aware of a similar scam perpetrated on other banks in the area.
“This came out of the blue,” he said.
State police spokesman Trooper Adam Reed said he has heard of similar scams but not at Apollo Trust.
“A lot of these originate overseas and, unfortunately, they are on the increase,” he said. “We urge people to be very wary of anyone seeking personal information on the phone. Banks already have PIN or Social Security numbers and wouldn't ask for them.”
No one from the state Attorney General's office nor the Southwestern Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force was available for comment Thursday.
Apollo Mayor-Elect Jeff Held said he was one of the people who received the bogus automatic phone call.
“It sounded legitimate. It said I could reactivate my card by pressing 3. Then, it asked for the expiration date of my card. When I heard it asking for my personal number, I hung up,” Held said.
He contacted Apollo Trust, and “they put an immediate stop on my card,” he said.
“Obviously, it was a red flag when non-customers got the call. But not for everyone.”
Debbie Kowalczyk Stankus of Apollo said she got one of the robocalls.
“My caller ID said the number was a pay phone. When we did a reverse lookup on the Internet, it said it was a land line. It was Pacific Bell at Anaheim, Calif. The number was 714-535-1665,” she said.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- No Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs or Do-si-dos for Washington Township residents
- Missing Indiana Township girl home safe
- Freeport woman, 76, injured in one-car crash
- Lower Burrell reviews civil service panels
- District judge opening attracts 9 candidates
- Fawn supervisors to vote on fire department ordinance
- Teachers from China observe autism training at Riverview Jr./Sr. High School
- 2 injured in Lower Burrell head-on accident
- Campbell Road in West Deer to close through June
- New Kensington-Arnold superintendent remains on job
- Suspicious South Buffalo fire under investigation