Bankers group looks to set up statewide fraud alert - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Bankers group looks to set up statewide fraud alert

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It was the typical phone call you might get from someone you don't know. It just happened to cost on man in Richland County his identity, leaving him cautious to reveal his identity.

"'Hey, is Bob there?' 'No, Bob doesn't live here,' but what was odd, the individual then started acting that's peculiar because I've had this number for Bob for a long time and he asked me a question I didn't really weigh the importance of right then he said, 'Have you had this number for more than two years and not thinking,' I said yes," explained the victim.

That's all it took.

"There was an important milestone for the thief to know, how long you've lived in your residence," said the victim.

It's a key question on a credit report. Next it was a call from AT&T about forwarding his home number to an Ohio address.

"She called the number that was the source for the request to have that change made and said that the individual who answered was using my name," said the victim.

Next, it was two bank accounts tied to his name. It's why the South Carolina Bankers Association is setting up a network to alert all of the state's banks when one account is compromised.

"One bank on the network could report a fraudulent transaction on a flagged account, one as being identified as being included in the breech, and that would alert all other banks to begin looking for similar transactions and stop it much much earlier than it would be stopped otherwise," said Fred Green, president of the association.

Thieves weren't just interested in checking account information.

"My head starts spinning wondering what else is going on because when they started talking about the home mortgage, then I realized where they're going, they're digging into everything they can," said the victim.

They even had an elaborate story when they called his car insurance for information. Credit agencies alerted to the fraud have caught most of the fraudulent transactions, the freezes have helped. Of the $2,000 removed from his credit union account, thieves only got $500.00.

It's a cautionary tale that this victim doesn't want you to ignore.

"Don't assume you're not going to be affected by it," said the victim. "I would recommend the first thing they do is go out and talk to their financial institution about changing their bank accounts, credit card numbers, ATM cards -- all those different documents."

This victim encourages you to put a password on whatever you can. Unknown callers now get little information.

"Now I realize my answer should just be ,'Wrong number, goodbye,'" said the victim.

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