Customers and non-customers of Community Bank of Nevada got an alarming text message from the bank on Friday, Feb 13: Their debit cards had been suspended and they need to call a 1-866 or 1-800 number immediately the problem. As scary as loosing access to a debit card may be, perhaps even more frightening was the message was fake, part of an elaborate hoax by phishers to pry private information loose from consumers.

While the debit cards weren’t in any actual danger, the consumers were in a great deal of real peril if they called the toll free “number” to fix a problem that didn’t exist. Edward Jamison, chairman, president and CEO of the Las Vegas-based CBON, did not return calls seeking comment by press time. But the bank, which said it was cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission, provided a real number at the FTC that’s not manned by criminals (1-877-382-4357) for consumers to call to file a report.

“At Community Bank of Nevada we have put into place many safeguards to protect our customers’ information. Despite all of our efforts we still see attempts at fraudulent acts that are absolutely out of our control,” Jamison said in a prepared statement.

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