A recent texting scam targeting banks in the Biddeford-Saco area has led dozens of people to have money withdrawn from their bank accounts.

Thieves sent text messages to hundreds of customers of various financial institutions telling customers their debit cards were deactivated and they had to call a local phone number to reactivate them. When they called, they were asked for their ATM card’s personal identification number or PIN.

That information allowed thieves to withdraw money from automatic teller machines, said Kevin Savage, president and chief executive officer of Saco & Biddeford Savings Bank, one of the banks that was targeted.

Savage said there was no data breach, and that some of his bank employees received a message intended for customers of another bank. Customers started receiving the texts on their cell phones on Saturday.

The customers were directed to call a local number but it appears the calls were then routed out of state and possibly even out of the country, said Saco Deputy Chief Jeffrey Holland. He also received the message, though he was suspicious and did not give out his PIN.

One indication that the thieves were not local bank employees was that they pronounced Saco like “Say-ko,” Savage said.

Holland said customers should know that banks never request people’s personal identification information by email or text and that customers who have been asked for that information should communicate in person with bank employees.

Savage said banks cover the unauthorized withdrawals but customers need to contact the bank directly to report the loss.