Automated phone scam more widespread

Published 02/19 2013 05:39PM

Updated 02/19 2013 06:19PM

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- A phone scam is sweeping across Central Illinois. Scammers are pretending to be local banks. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw finds out more than one county is being targeted.

The Christian County Sheriff was the first to alert the public to the scam, but now people in Urbana and Rantoul are reporting the automated calls. These victims will tell you, it starts the same, with a phone call.

"I looked down at it, it was my own number, but it said, 'no name. I thought, 'hmmm,' so I answered it and it was an automated system."

The message is the same too.

"It says my debit card had been suspended and if I wanted to reactivate it, press one. They gave me the name of National Credit Union."

The recording then asked for debit card and pin numbers. That's how Sandra knew something was wrong.

"There's been quite a few scams done before around Champaign County and surrounding counties."

In August, Chuck and Nancy Padilla got a call from someone pretending to be their grandson. That's who Donna Mann thought of when she got the scammed call.

"They lost thousands and thousands of dollars they thought they were saving a grandchild. It's just sad."

This particular debit card scam has been ringing up victims in Christian, Cumberland and Champaign counties. It's why these ladies are speaking up, so people know this is exactly what you need to do.

Most banks and credit unions in the area say they would never conduct business through an automated message. They always reach out through an official letter or in person.

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