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Don't Fall Victim to Phone Scams

Don't Fall Victim to Phone Scams

“Grandma,” the voice on the phone said.  “It’s your grandson.  I’m in trouble.”

“Charlie?”

“Yeah. It’s Charlie.”

With that simple conversation, Edith was on the path toward giving thousands of dollars in cash to a scammer. Her “grandson” told her he ran into trouble with law enforcement in another state, that he had been arrested, and that he needed money for bail.  The scammer was very convincing, and Edith went right to the bank to withdraw the funds.

Fortunately for Edith, her bank takes customers’ security very seriously. At her banker’s urging, Edith investigated, and found out the person she was speaking with was not her grandson, but a scammer using a growing tactic to try to get cash: an emotional ploy to make her think a family member was in trouble.  He didn’t know her grandson’s name when he called, but when Edith asked if it was Charlie, the scammer had a hook.

Unfortunately, this type of elder financial abuse is common throughout the nation. With more and more Baby Boomers aging into retirement, the occurrence of this abuse is expected to rise. Scammers may pretend to be law enforcement claiming a senior citizen owes a fine or they may impersonate a charity foundation or utility company collecting donations and payments.

One of First Security’s goals is to provide education about current fraud trends and prevention tips. Bank employees are trained to be experts on the subject. First Security also provides a comprehensive identity management solution, FraudScout®*. FraudScout, which is powered by CyberScout™, is available to First Security’s customers for just $6 a month. This service allows customers to safeguard their identity around the clock by providing three-bureau credit monitoring and alerts to any unusual activity. Additionally, First Security provides ALL customers with free access to CyberScout’s fraud specialists. These specialists can help victims recover from identity theft.

First Security customers can also sign up for text fraud alerts. If your cell phone number is on file with the bank, you are automatically enrolled in the feature. This system can detect suspicious activity on your First Security debit card, and will send you a text alert if it occurs. At this point, customers can simply respond to confirm the transaction or indicate it’s fraudulent. If the activity is fraudulent, however, customers receive a follow up text message with a phone number to call.

“It’s so important to be proactive and educated when it comes to protecting yourself against fraud,” commented Michelle Schaefer, Assistant Vice President/Retail Advisor. “If a customer has any questions or suspicions, we encourage them to give us a call so that we can assist them.”

*Identity protection services are available to a spouse and/or immediate family members who live in the household.

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