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Thieves take swipe with debit card scam

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POSTED December 6, 2013 12:00 a.m.

A debit card scam has hit residents in Manteca and Ripon and continues through residents of the Central Valley by hackers using automated recorded messages to steal from card holders.

Cards issued from Bank of Stockton, Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and other banks in the valley communities have been threatened by calls that warn users that their Master Card debit cards have been blocked.  The recorded message suggests that card holders press the No. 1 button on their phones to unblock their accounts.

When the button is pressed, the card holder is supposedly transferred to a security department.  Another recorded message asks the caller to punch in their 16-digit card number to clear the blocked card.  That is all the hackers need to break into an account.

One Bulletin reporter was having lunch with his wife this week at a Manteca restaurant when his phone rang with the warning that his debit card had been compromised.  He recognized the potential threat of a scam and declined to enter his identifying card number.

Bank officials in both Manteca and Ripon have confirmed that the calls are a valley-wide scam asking customers to beware of giving callers any information over the telephone.  If the caller was truly a credit card spokesman, they would already have that information on their screen.

Bankers urged the public to call their bank office as soon as they suspect a call to be a scam.  The bank will immediately see that the card is cancelled and they will put in a request to get their customers’ money back into their insured accounts.

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