Citizens National Bank warns of text message scam

Thousands of people in McMinn County are wondering why they received a strange text message. It claims to be an alert from Citizens National Bank of Athens.

Employees at the bank said they’ve received more than 2,000 calls about the message and had hundreds of people stop into the bank asking about it since Monday.

“I thought it was odd that it had our cell phone number in the text message instead of an account number or something like that. It seemed odd to me,” Susan Kirksey of Athens said.

Susan Kirksey said she and her husband received the message on Monday. She decided to call the number, but something didn’t add up.

The automated message never mentioned her bank and claimed her debit card was frozen.

“I felt like it was a scam then, so that’s why I decided to call the bank,” Kirksey said.

Bank employees said it’s a scam because it asks for your account information over the phone.

The bank’s chairman and CEO, Paul Willson, said no bank information or data has been hacked.

“They just need to delete that message. Ignore it and press right on. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience, which was no fault of our own,” Paul Willson, the bank’s chairman and CEO said.

At the moment, Willson said the scammers have gotten away with roughly $2,000 from a small group of people. He said the message went to their customers and others in the community.

“Please, please, please be very, very careful. Guard that information and don’t fall for a scam like this,” Wilson said.

He said the bank only sends text messages if a customer requests one.

Citizens National Bank employees said if you’re a customer and were scammed out of some money, you’ll be reimbursed.

Bottom line, do not call the number listed in the message and give out any bank account information.


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