SCAM ALERT: Washington Police Warn Of Phone Scam

Washington police are warning people of a scam that is hitting the area.

Police say an automated voice tells callers that your debit card has been deactivated and for you to get it working again you will need to enter your debit car number. The caller ID only shows a three digit number -- not a 7 or 10 digit number.

Police say people should hang up and not to press any numbers on your phone. They say the fake call may mention the names of real financial institutions.

Several people have contacted the WITN Newsroom about these calls. They appear to be targeting customers of one particular cell phone company, U.S. Cellular.

U.S. Cellular says their computer system was not hacked into, nor was their billing system compromised. The cell phone company says sometimes scammers just pick a block of numbers to call and in this case it appears they picked a block of U.S. Cellular numbers.

U.S. Cellular Statement

At U.S. Cellular, customer satisfaction is our top priority and maintaining the privacy of our customers’ data is of the utmost importance.

US Cellular has investigated this situation and has determined it to be a scam.

The following tips will help customers protect themselves from unauthorized people seeking sensitive personal financial information, such as credit card and bank accounts numbers:

- Never give credit card numbers or financial information over the phone or via text message
- Try not to display your phone number in public.
- Check the privacy policy when you submit information to a web site.
- Read and understand the entire form before you transmit personal information through a web site.
- Register your phone number on the national Do-Not-Call list online at <>, or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by S Location: ENC on Mar 6, 2010 at 11:45 AM
    US Cellular is Not at fault for this scam...I'm sure they are doing everything in their power to find out what the problem is & who initiated it....regardless of where the call comes from, it just takes common sense to realize that you do not give ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE, especially to someone calling you....US CELLULAR has the best coverage in this area that you could possibly get...the rest can't hold a candle to them. This could happen to any cellphone carrier.
  • by Wingnut Location: Cape May, NJ on Mar 6, 2010 at 03:00 AM
    My wife and I got the call at the exact same time on Friday March 5, 2010. I was asleep at the time and realized what it said just before entering my card number. We have Verizon and are in Cape May, NJ so it may have been even more wide spread than thought.
  • by Nathan Location: Eastern NC on Mar 6, 2010 at 01:16 AM
    US Cellular has nothing to do with this, these people are dialing numbers at random. US Cellular has specified blocks of numbers, and it turns out those were targeted. Nothing US Cell can do about that. There's nothing Verizon or AT&T can do if their numbers are targeted, either, and while you can switch to them if it makes you feel safer, I hope you don't break down when you leave town or if you're in one of the many dead zones in town. US Cellular has the best and most complete coverage you can get. Once I was in the mountains in CA where they don't even have US Cellular. My wife and I got five bars, my mother, who had Verizon, got No Service. True story. Couldn't believe it, and neither could the people in the Washington US Cellular (by Piggly Wiggly). But it happened. Anyway, I don't respond to machine calls, if it's important, a real person will get on the line. I hear the robot and I just hang up. Didn't get a call from this one, though there are others.
  • by Tammy Location: Chocowinity, NC on Mar 5, 2010 at 06:47 PM
    I to got this call yesterday and hung up. Hope US Celluar is doing something about this to find out who is doing it.
  • by Angel Location: Washington on Mar 5, 2010 at 06:27 PM
    I also received this call yesterday afternoon. It was from the number 965. Against my better judgement, I answered it, and was told that my debit card had been deactivated and to press 1. I was concerned because I had just used my debit card not more than 5 minutes before. I immediately hung up and have since used my debit card with no problem. I agree. We need better protection than this.
  • by Don Location: Baltimore on Mar 5, 2010 at 06:24 PM
    Got these calls too. Get NUMBERCOP Phone Spam Blocker for your cell, BlackBerry or Android. They track phone scammers and block their numbers automatically.
  • by OSOC Location: Washington on Mar 5, 2010 at 03:10 PM
    I got it too. They told me I had to call a number to reactivate my ATM.....folks, by now, we get it. I got the call from 1965 and it said my ATM had been deactivated. Well, it still works....never give info to anyone that calls you for this info. Make sure you elderly understand this too. They are the ones that most likely call the number.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 5, 2010 at 02:55 PM
    They get your cell phone number the same way the do unlisted numbers, they just start dialing until someone answers. There is not much any phone company can do to stop other from randon dialing.
  • by Z Location: Hyde County on Mar 5, 2010 at 02:29 PM
    A lot of folks in Hyde County got the same call!!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 5, 2010 at 01:51 PM
    My husband and a co-worker received this same phone call from 965, and I received the same call, but from 1965. All calls were made to our cell phones on 3/4/10.
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