Ex-Suburban customers targeted in phone scam

March 26, 2009|By Eileen Ambrose | Eileen Ambrose,eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

The Bank of Essex is warning former Suburban Federal Savings Bank customers of a telephone scheme that tries to get them to divulge their personal account information.

Essex acquired Suburban's assets and customers in late January when federal regulators seized the Crofton-based bank, marking the state's first bank failure since 1992. Tappahannock, Va.-based Essex has about two dozen branches, including seven in Maryland.

Customers started reporting Tuesday that they received automated calls warning them that their Suburban account is about to expire or be suspended unless they entered their 16-digit card number and provided three forms of identification, said Tina Hibbs, marketing coordinator for Essex.

Essex officials are telling customers that the phone call is fraudulent and that the bank would never contact them by phone, e-mail or text message to ask for any personal information such as credit card, Social Security and account numbers, Hibbs says. Customers who divulged their information after receiving the automated call should contact their local branch, she said. The bank will monitor those accounts.

Fraudulent schemes are not unheard of in cases where the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. brokers the sale of a failed bank. The FDIC routinely warns customers that the government or an acquiring bank will not send e-mails to get personal information from customers.

FDIC spokesman David Barr says customers should never give out personal information in response to unsolicited calls or e-mails. Call the bank directly to verify that the call or e-mail is legitimate, he advised.

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