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First National Bank seeing uptick in cybercriminal scams in our communities

posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 in Security & Fraud Information

First National Bank in Creston, Afton and Shenandoah continues to see an avalanche of scam techniques being used by cybercriminals. And, some of these scams are hitting very close to home.

So, our bank is warning local citizens, especially older adults, to be aware of these 6 major scams we’re currently experiencing. Our bank is also challenging loved ones of older adults Steve Crittenden mugto keep an eye out for suspicious activity so they can help older adults avoid such fraud.

“We’ve had this happen right here in our communities where a scammer has a parent or grandparent so scared that their son or grandson is in trouble that they take substantial cash out of the bank and start the process of sending the scammer the money through mail,” said Steve Crittenden, senior vice president at First National Bank. “It’s been so close in a few cases that the envelope made it all the way to UPS and we’ve had to help them recover the package there.”

Crittenden and staff at First National Bank are seeing these 6 scams being used most often:

1. Grandparent scam: This scam involves a criminal contacting a senior citizen, posing as a grandchild or other family member, who fabricates a family emergency such as imprisonment or a serious vehicle accident, which requires immediate financial assistance. To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, contact family members directly to check if the emergency is real prior to providing any confidential information or sending money.

2. Secret shopper: This scam offers gift cards to people to become a secret shopper – either online or in a store. They may either offer payment for your service or say that you will be able to keep what you purchase. To be a secret shopper, the “company” requires you to provide personal information and sometimes bank account numbers. You should never trust a secret shopper offer and it is never wise to hand over personal information online or over the phone.

3. Fake charities: In this scam, a victim is contacted by someone posing as an employee of a charity asking for donations. They may ask for an immediate donation that involves you giving bank account information either online or over the phone. Before making any charitable donation, you should look up the organization on to make sure it is legitimate, then give the funds to that charity directly.

4. Free gift cards: Some scammers will pose as legitimate businesses, offering free gift cards through phishing emails. These emails attempt to entice you to click on links that will install malware on your computer. Never click on suspicious links in emails.

5. Fake check scams: In this scam, the criminal will devise a scenario that will entitle you to receive a check . This could involve winning a prize or overpaying on an online purchase or they offer to pay you for advertising for them. To receive the check, you will be required to send money. Any time you receive an offer that says you will receive a check for sending money, it’s best to ignore it.

6. Fix your computer scam: In this scam, a victim is contacted by someone posing to be a technical professional and tells the victim they can fix their computer with a lifetime warranty so they don’t ever lose their photos or information. The scammer will then ask for the money up front at a cost of $500 or more and then ask for an account number. Don’t fall for this scam.

Crittenden said, with any offers you receive, it’s best to utilize a philosophy that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you aren’t sure if an offer is legitimate, talk to friends and family to see what they think or call our bank at 641-782-2195 or 877-782-2195. Member FDIC.

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