Alaskans targeted by phone banking fraud

A phishing scam is targeting Alaskans with automated phone calls to steal personal financial information.

The scammer or scammers have been using prerecorded calls to trick residents from across the state into divulging their bank and/or credit card numbers and the corresponding PINs. In the phony phone calls, the phishers identify themselves as employees of nearby bank branches — in some cases claiming affiliation with MasterCard — said Jay Blury, a spokesperson for Northrim Bank.

The automated calls tell recipients that their cards are locked and, in order to unlock them, they must enter their card and PIN numbers, according to Blury and spokespeople from other banks in the state. Northrim’s customers were among those scammed, but they were not the only ones, and there has been no breach in the bank’s systems, Blury said.

The phishers have also targeted the members of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and First National Bank but precision is not their specialty; they cast a wide net. Several Wells Fargo customers have reported receiving fraudulent calls despite the fact that they aren’t members of the banks identified, according to David Kennedy, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo.

“We’ve gotten reports from customers getting calls about banks like Northrim, and they don’t even have Northrim cards,” he said.

Northrim, First National, and Alaska USA have all issued alerts to make their customers aware of the scam. All three banks advise customers against providing their card and PIN numbers unless they initiate the calls. Those who think they gave personal information to the phone-call fraudsters should contact their bank immediately. Alaska USA has already shut down some cards as a result, said Dan McCue, the bank’s senior vice president of corporate administration.

“Don’t give out information over the phone because we wouldn’t call you for it,” McCue said.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 15

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 13, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Bill Thomas, a former Republican state representative from Haines, announced Friday he is dropping out of the race for the District 3 House seat this fall. (U.S. Sustainability Alliance photo)
Bill Thomas drops out of District 3 House race, says there isn’t time for fishing and campaigning

Haines Republican cites rough start to commercial season; incumbent Andi Story now unopposed.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks at the Alaska Democratic Party’s state convention on May 18 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Peltola among few Democrats to vote for annual defense bill loaded with GOP ‘culture war’ amendments

Alaska congresswoman expresses confidence “poison pills” will be removed from final legislation.

A celebratory sign stands outside Goldbelt Inc.’s new building during the Alaska Native Regional Corporation’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Jan. 4. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Medical company sues Goldbelt for at least $30M in contract dispute involving COVID-19 vaccine needles

Company says it was stuck with massive stock of useless needles due to improper specs from Goldbelt.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A yearling black bear waits for its mother to return. Most likely she won’t. This time of year juvenile bears are separated, sometimes forcibly, by their mothers as families break up during mating season. (Photo courtesy K. McGuire)
Bearing witness: Young bears get the boot from mom

With mating season for adults underway, juveniles seek out easy food sources in neighborhoods.

A chart shows COVID-19 pathogen levels at the Mendenhall wastewater treatment plant during the past three months. (Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Wastewater Surveillance System)
Juneau seeing another increase in COVID-19 cases, but a scarcity of self-test kits

SEARHC, Juneau Drug have limited kits; other locations expect more by Saturday.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters during a news conference Feb. 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy picks second ex-talk radio host for lucrative fish job after first rejected

Rick Green will serve at least through Legislature’s next confirmation votes in the spring of 2025.

Most Read