Big Bear Valley, CA — The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station tells KBHR that, since about 8am this morning (Monday, April 19), Big Bear Valley residents have called to report fraudulent phone calls generated by those who claim to be making contact on behalf of First Mountain Bank. Those called have been asked to provide their account number and pin code to reactivate their ATM cards. A similar series of bank scam calls took place in the Big Bear Valley a year ago, in April 2009, and as Richard Miller, Compliance and Information Security Officer for First Mountain Bank, explained of the fraudulent calls at that time, “They target more of the community banks, versus the big banks. When they hit a smaller area with a smaller number of banks, they have a better chance of reaching customers. They get the prefixes, like 866, and then just start calling until people answer the phone. They don’t have a name and a number; they just have a phone number.” These automated scam phone calls may ask for a debit card number or password, which Miller advises you never give out over the phone. Per Miller, “No bank should call, email or anything else to verify your information, because they already have that info. So, never give a password or pin number to anyone, especially if on the phone.” Per conversations with Sheriff’s Department officials this morning, they advise banking customers who may have inadvertently shared this information to call the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station to make a report at 866-0100; banking customers caught up in this morning’s phone scam are also advised to call First Mountain Bank if any pertinent information has been shared.
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