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Police warn of bank scam
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MONROE - Anyone who receives an e-mail or text message from Associated Bank needs to beware: The messages are part of a scam.

Associated Bank, in a news release Friday, said customers and non-customers have received e-mails and text messages.

Dan Reynolds Jr. sent an e-mail to The Times on Friday, saying he received a text message that said, "Please verify your Associated Bank account, unusual activity, call us."

Reynolds said he was in the area, so he went to Associated Bank in Monroe. He was the third person who stopped at the bank because of similar text messages, he said.

"I thought it was weird," he said. "I've seen these messages on my computer but this was the first time I ever had one on my phone."

Janet Ford, public relations director at Associated Bank, said the bank never would ask a customer for a personal identification number, password or credit card number to verify their identity.

"This is a major red flag," she said.

Ford said customers can recognize the scam e-mails because they likely will arrive with a subject line of alert.

"The body of the message will state that the customer's account with Associated Bank has been closed due to unusual activity and advises the customer to call a number," Ford said.

These types of scams are called "phishing" attacks. Scammers try to make people think their banks need personal information from them to verify their identity.

"They send e-mails or text messages that look very authentic, carrying the logo and look of the institution," Ford said.

Customers who give information to the scammers risk losing funds in their accounts and identity thefts.

Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley said banks do not contact people for personal or financial information.

"That would be like the post office calling you to find out your address," he said.

People who want to report the scam or find out more information about it can contact Associated Bank Customer Care Center at (800) 236-8866.