Paul Siebenmorgen, president and chief executive offi- cer of Farmers & Merchants State Bank, said three people lost money to a telephone and text-message scam that targeted Archbold and the surrounding area last week.
Starting Monday, Aug. 11, sophisticated telephone scammers used automated calls and text messages to dupe people into giving up their personal information.
Calls informed people that their F&M bank accounts had been compromised, and their F&M debit or credit cards were locked.
In order to use the cards they had to provide the caller with their social security number, card number, and Personal Identification Number, or PIN.
People reported receiving the scam calls and texts on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 11-12.
F&M received dozens of calls from customers asking whether or not the calls valid, which tied up bank telephone lines.
By Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 13-14, Siebenmorgen said things were getting back to normal.
“That’s good news,” he said. “Those people (scammers) have moved on.”
By Tuesday morning, Aug. 12, only one person had lost money to the scammers.
That customer provided his banking information to the scam call, and money was taken from his account through an ATM located in Romania.
Yesterday, Tuesday, Siebenmorgen said two other bank customers were victimized.
One, or possibly both, was charged for point-of-sale transactions on their debit cards, he said.
There were 50 other attempted transactions by scammers that were thwarted because customers notified the bank that they had given out information, and bank officials were able to safeguard the accounts.
All of the problems involved F&M debit cards.
Siebenmorgen said there were calls involving the bank’s “credit card side.
“We didn’t see any (illegal) activity” involving credit cards, he said.
Siebenmorgen said F&M will replace more than 200 debit cards with compromised numbers.
The cards are issued through the mail, so replacements will take a few days.
He said the F&M is replacing the compromised cards at no cost to customers.