Havre Daily News
Havre police are warning area residents of a pair of telephone scams reported in Havre in recent days - one a sophisticated scam regarding alleged bank account thefts and the other claiming to be soliciting donations for the Jaycees.
“This one kind of scares us because they have names, dates of birth and account numbers of these people,” police Lt. Russ Ostwalt said Wednesday of the bank scam.
Three people have called the police in the past few days to report a caller purporting to investigate bank account thefts. The caller asked the intended victims to verify their name, date of birth and bank account number. They told the victims that the conversation was being recorded.
“The callers say, ‘I'm with a company that works to try to find people who have taken money out of your account,'” Ostwalt said. “‘I would like permission to take $800 out of your account to cover the cost (of the investigation).'”
Ostwalt said the people who were called have accounts at Havre banks. The caller reads aloud the personal information and asks the victim to confirm it. One caller said she refused to verify the information and the caller threatened her with a lawsuit if she didn't cooperate.
“He said, ‘We have a lawyer on staff here, and if you don't give the information, we'll sue you.'
“They're just trying to get people to say yes, to verify the numbers,” Ostwalt added.
Julie Holt of US Bank said the caller is attempting to get the victim to confirm the numbers, and the victim should not respond.
The $800 figure was mentioned by one of the intended victims, Ostwalt said, but the amount may vary.
“That's just the people who have called us,” Ostwalt said of the three complaints. “I imagine there are some who haven't. We'd ask them to close their accounts immediately, swap it over to another number, and to call us.
“I'd hate to see anyone's savings lost,” he added. “They have a lot of information.”
Ostwalt said a caller ID recorded the number of the caller as 1-866-00000. When that caller hit *69, the caller got a telephone number in New York. When that number was called, it turned out to be the number for a fax machine, Ostwalt said.
“So they covered their tracks pretty good,” he said.
He said the caller had told the victim he was working out of Texas.
Regarding the other scam, Cliff Plum of Havre, president of the Montana Jaycees, said he was told that the callers claiming to be soliciting on behalf of the Jaycees asked for credit card numbers.
“The Montana Jaycees do phone solicitation,” Plum said, “but we'll just ask for an amount they want to donate. Then we'll mail them a confirmation and they'll mail the check back.”
Plum said Havre Jaycees president Christy Owens told him the Havre Jaycees don't do phone solicitations.
“We'll mail out solicitations or go door to door,” Plum said. “But we don't ask for credit card numbers. We don't do any of that.”
Police said people should never give out personal information to callers on the telelphone.
People receiving suspected scam calls should call the Havre Police Department at 265-4361 or the Hill County Sheriff's Office at 265-2512.