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December 21, 2013

Holiday season fraud alert!

NORMAN — I received an unusual email today, one I was glad to see. The email’s subject line said, “Holiday fraud alert.”

Usually, when I see “alert” messages in my inbox, they turn out to be based on a hoax. These messages often start when somebody’s Uncle Bob sees an alarming, scandalous story on some goofy website about the pink goo that Chicken McNuggets are actually made from, complete with photo (hoax), or that President Obama’s hand was on the Koran, and not the Bible, when he took the oath of office (hoax). He then, without checking the facts for himself, forwards the bogus “news alert” to all his friends, who then send it on to all their friends, who send it to everyone they know, and so on. Soon, the bogus “alert” has traveled around the world and is accepted by the unthinking masses as fact.

The alert I received today, though, was different. Not only was it a bona fide alert filled with useful information, but I was pleasantly surprised by who had sent me the email: my bank. The message read, in part:

“Holiday Season fraud alert. This holiday shopping season we want our customers to be aware of an accelerated fraud threat that exists in our state. Electronic calls (also known as robo-dialing) are being made fraudulently in an attempt to gain access to non-public personal information such as account information, check card numbers, credit card numbers and/or personal ID numbers (PIN).”

“Therefore, we want to remind you that representatives from our bank will never call and ask for this type of information. In the event of any fraud concern, one of our bankers will contact you personally. Our bank does not use automated calling services to reach our customers. Areas in Oklahoma are currently being targeted by robo-dialing and phishing scams; never share your non-public personal information.”

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