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N.D. Attorney General's office warns of rampant phishing scam

The North Dakota Attorney General's Office is warning residents about a phishing scam in which phone users receive a recorded message stating that their bank account has been locked because of suspicious activity and that they should dial "1" to find out more information.

Some calls specifically name "Gate City Bank," while others claim the suspicious activity relates to a Visa or MasterCard, according to a news release from the office's Consumer Protection Division.

Numerous people across the state have reported receiving the message, it stated.

The scam is designed to trick people into giving out their account or credit card information so that the scam artist can empty the account or make fraudulent charges to the card, the release stated.

The current fake messages claim to be from Gate City Bank, but the scam artists will change the name of the bank frequently in the hope they can continue to use the scam in North Dakota, the release stated.

The scam artists use random dialer equipment, which is why some people are receiving the calls on their cell phones or on phone numbers registered on the do-not-call list.

"Unfortunately, these scam artists are located outside of North Dakota, which puts them beyond the reach of state and local law enforcement agencies," the release stated.

The Consumer Protection Division reminds consumers not to respond to such a message - even if they believe it might be legitimate - and instead call the customer service number printed on the back of their bank card or credit card.