New scam targets debit cards in Central Florida

Investigators say they haven't seen this before

Author: Matt Papaycik, Producer, mpapaycik@wkmg.com
Published On: Aug 05 2013 11:02:32 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 06 2013 12:32:42 AM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

We have a warning about a new scam that's going after consumers in Central Florida.

It's so unique -- even investigators admit that they've never seen anything quite like it before.

"I think people are going to fall for this," says Carl Fritsch, who was targeted by thieves in latest scam to hit our area. "But then, when they get their bank statement, then it's too late."

The whole thing started with a phone call.

"I get this robotic type voice," says Fritsch.

The voice told him that his debit card had been cancelled, and the only way to reactivate it was to type in the full card number, PIN number, and expiration date.

Doing something like that can secretly give crooks full access to your bank account.

"I was just totally blown away with that," says Fritsch.

But he knew that something wasn't right, and didn't fall for the scam. Instead, he contacted Local 6.

Local 6 traced the caller ID to a mortgage company in New Jersey called Financial Freedom.

The company denies any involvement in the fraud, instead saying that its phone number has been hijacked by thieves.

It isn't the only new scheme in town. A similar one is going after customers at Fairwinds Credit Union, which just sent out an e-mail alert about the fraud.

The idea is the same -- your debit card has been suspended, and you need to enter your personal information to get it back.

"It really would not be difficult for somebody to pull off this type of scam," says Special Agent Steve Brenton with the FDLE'S Cyber Crimes Unit.

He admits that he's never seen this kind of twist before.

But, if you're sharp, you can easily spot the warning signs.

"Generally, a bank is not going to send you any information regarding your account using a recorded type message," says Brenton. "Banks are going to use a real person to call you."

Also remember -- a legitimate agency will not ask you for your account numbers or passwords over the phone.

Brenton says that if the caller is suspicious, hang up right away.

"When it involves your money, you've gotta protect yourself," says Brenton.

Local 6 brought this to the attention of the State Attorney General's office in Tallahassee. It says that if you get one of those calls, report it to the agency right away.

Fairwinds Credit Union has alerted the Secret Service about this scam.