Money Watchers: Robo calls seek debit card numbers

Bank Rhode Island says it has received about two dozen calls regarding someone calling their customers trying to steal bank account and debit card information.

"Our policy is very simple. We at no time will ever reach out and call them or email them or send them a written letter asking for any personal or account sensitive information," Steven Parente of Bank Rhode Island said Tuesday.

The calls are being made to customers of other banks, too. But who's making them? No one knows.

The state attorney general's office says they are automated "robo calls."

"Saying that your debit card may have been compromised or we're looking into it make sure it's safe, and then they prompt you to give them information regarding your card and your personal information. It's a way to extract personal information so they can actually fraudulently use your card," Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said.

The attorney general's office says the number of complaints has been on an uptick.

It's a cheap scam to run. The calls could be coming in from out of state or out of the country. They're hard to track.

Here's what to do if you get a robo call:

  • Don't give out any bank sensitive information
  • Hang up on the caller
  • If you want to call your bank, call the number on the back of your card
  • Do not call the number left on your voice mail or on your caller ID
  • Cancel your card if you think it's too late and your information has been compromised

"I think they're picking people at random because I was told of a call yesterday someone got the robo call and they don't even have a debit card," Kilmartin said.

The attorney general's office and Bank Rhode Island said they do not know of anyone who has lost money.