Attorney Pealer Escapes ... Continued

All three of these correspondences stated that my account had been frozen for security reasons, and that I should contact a telephone number or web site to re-activate my account. None of the correspondences listed an account number. In one instance, I had no accounts with the particular bank, so I disregarded the correspondence.   In the other two cases, I did have an account with the particular institution—one was a major credit card and the other was an investment account. I am certain that many households also have accounts with these popular banking institutions.
Under no circumstances should persons who receive such correspondences respond to the telephone number or web-site on the letter or e-mail, as these are often set up by criminals in order to obtain personal information. The telephone recording or web-site can appear just as authentic as the phony letterhead.  A telephone operator will always confirm that the phony number is official.  Naturally, no one wants to have an account frozen, so it is necessary to take prudent action to check the matter out thoroughly. 
I recommend contacting the customer service telephone number appearing on your regular account statement, and speaking directly to a customer service representative. In the event that the inquiry is legitimate, the customer service representative will direct the call to an operator who can assist with the reactivation of the account.  In the event that criminals are “phishing”, the customer service representative will confirm that the correspondence is fraudulent and will advise you how to proceed. In the case of my investment account, some updated information was actually required, and the correct company representative updated that information for me.  In the case of my credit card, however, the inquiry was fraudulent.  The customer service representative closed out my existing credit card and issued me a new card with a new account number.
Some of these “phishing” scams can look very legitimate. The fact that we live in a small rural area does not make any of us immune from these scams.