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Mid-Missourians targets for identity theft scams

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | 3:32 p.m. CST; updated 3:52 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Residents of central Missouri are reportedly being targeted by identity thieves trying to get their bank information.

A release sent out by Attorney General Jay Nixon’s office on Wednesday said people in mid-Missouri have been receiving phone calls from a phishing scam group claiming to be with Central Bank.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Web site, phishing refers to “a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual’s personal or financial information.”

The scam tells people that there is something wrong with their bank account, the release said. In some cases, the automated phone call instructs people to go to a Web site and enter their bank account information. In other cases, a live caller asks for the information directly.

Nixon said in the release that identity thieves are responsible.

“These crooks may look and sound official, but it’s important to remember never to give out personal information to anyone who’s contacted you,” the release said. The release added that if consumers are contacted by their bank, they should just assume it’s a scam.

Residents of southwest Missouri have also been targeted recently by a scam involving Empire Bank. John Fougere, press secretary for Nixon’s office, said the scams appear to be related.

If you think you’ve been targeted by a phishing scam, you can report it on Nixon’s Web site, ago.mo.gov, or call Nixon’s Consumer Protection Hot line at 1-800-392-8222.

— Stephanie Hatfield


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