Gateway Bank issues alert, Debit card scam

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's a new twist on an old trick. Thieves are sending bogus text messages to Gateway Bank customers in an effort to separate those customers from their cash. Now, the company is issuing an alert. Gateway Bank calls it "a debit card scam."

The company is asking its customer not to fall victim. So far, multiple unsuspecting customers in North Carolina and Virginia have been duped out of a total of $100,000.

Customers are getting text messages claiming their debt accounts have been deactivated. The customer is then instructed to call a number and to enter in their debt card number, expiration date and personal identification number.

Once the thieves got the debit card information, they made new debit cards and withdrew money from the accounts.

Charlie Atwill, who's banked with Gateway for five years, says he's not surprised.

"We live in an Internet and media rich community -- globally it connects us but it also opens us up to risks and we have to be careful. I did check my online account today and I went to make a deposit and saw the scam alert," said Atwill.

Tina Holt with the State Department of Consumer Affairs says bank customers must be vigilant when it comes to protecting their money.

"Don't give your personal information to someone you don't know. Your bank won't ask you for your PIN -- that's your number and they already have your bank account number they don't need to ask you for it," said Holt.

Although it's unclear how the thieves got the phone number of their victims Holt has an idea.

"They usually call numbers in general. They don't have a list. Sometimes it's computer generated. They just go out there and hope they find someone," said Holt.

Gateway Bank says if you've fallen victim call your local branch and police.

The bank is also asking customers, who've given out their card number or PIN in response to a call or text, to block their debt card by immediately calling 1-800-523-4175.

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