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Protecting you and your money

Thousands of phone calls were made by an automated system to Lapeer area residents Monday evening to both individuals and businesses claiming to be from Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co. The calls asked users for their 16-digit debit card number and PIN. Thanks to the quick response of many LCBT customers and community members, the phone scam had minimal impact.

This information did not come from Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co. “We have several security systems in place to detect hacking attempts. All LCBT systems and information have been secure now and in the past,” said Shelly Childers, Senior Vice President of Bank Operations at Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co.

“Lapeer County proved how smart we are; it looks like fewer than 60 people, out of the hundreds or thousands that received the call gave out their card information. There were minimal fraudulent transactions,” said Childers.

Scammers are more sophisticated every year, branching out into phone, text, email and social media-based scams.

Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co. and all other financial institutions work very hard to keep customers’ information (and money) safe. Sometimes these safety concerns cause temporary inconveniences. As a result of this scam, fraudulent transactions have been generated in other states. “Consequently, LCBT has temporarily blocked all PIN and signature based debit card transactions in the states of Illinois, Texas and New York to protect our customers’ accounts. Call us at 810-245-2950, if you plan to travel through these states and we can unblock your card,” said Childers.

This temporary block will also affect those companies who operate out of those states. Redbox and Barnes & Noble are among companies that have locations in Michigan, but are headquartered in a blocked state. For LCBT customers, their debit card will not work at these companies for the duration of the block.

“It is important to know that your financial institution will never contact you asking for your information,” said Childers. “Debit card numbers and PINs are among the information banks keep on file. If a bank contacts you, it will be through a number that you have provided to them. By answering that number and verifying your name, they know they have the correct person. In the event that you contact your financial institution, you may be asked to verify your identity through the use of secure information which you have already provided the bank. This is to make sure they do not give out your private financial information to anyone else.”

Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co. also has several measures in place that can and should be used by all customers to ensure the best security possible. The Bank’s Mobile Banking App gives customers the ability to control the security of their debit cards. Within the app, LCBT debit card users can temporarily block the use of their debit card by selecting the “Suspend Card” option in the Manage Cards menu. This option is best for when a debit card has been misplaced. Suspending the card will stop all transactions from that time forward. When you do locate your card, you may reactivate the same card and within minutes you will be able to use it for a transaction. If the card cannot be located, you may then report it as lost and have a new card issued to you.

The Mobile Banking App also allows users to report a card that is lost or stolen. Clicking this option will immediately disable the debit card. Customers will then have to contact the bank to have a new card issued.

Many financial institutions were included in this and other recent robo call scams. When scams of this nature begin, one of the first things you should do is protect yourself, your friends and family. Letting people know that a scam is going around will help protect others.

Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co. offers our debit card holders the protection of a 24/7 Fraud Center. The Fraud Center safeguards customers’ accounts from fraudulent debit card activities. They will contact customers on behalf of the bank if there are irregularities in the debit card activities. If the Fraud Center calls, they will never ask for debit card or PIN. You can contact the Fraud Center directly at 1-800-411-8498.

Always call your financial institution using the public posted phone numbers, not phone numbers received in text or email. View more tips on how to stay safe by going to the Lapeer County Bank & Trust Co. Fraud Prevention page.

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