Bankers Hold Fraud Seminar

Casey Jarmes
The News-Review

SIGOURNEY – On May 11, Lucas Meier of County Bank and Kristin Woods of Midwest One Bank held a seminar at Grant Ranch to share tips on avoiding fraud. Woods and Meier explained that scammers often manipulate people through making them afraid then convincing them to trust the scammer. For example, one common scam involves pop-ups that say your computer has been infected with a virus; when you click on these pop-ups, scammers will promise to fix your computer in return for personal details. In reality, these scammers are attempting to make people panic so they can rob them.

Meier and Woods stressed the importance of not clicking on pop-ups and never giving away personal information over the phone. Neither the government nor banks will ask for information over the phone. No legitimate business will ever ask you to pay by sending in gift cards. If you receive a robocall, it is recommended that you hang up; answering to argue only confirms that your number is in use, leading to more spam calls. Worse, audio of your conversation with the scammer can be recorded and used against you.

After giving these tips, Woods and Meier listed off a number of common scams. One common scam involves messaging a target and saying that they have been charged hundreds of dollars by a company, most commonly Amazon, then offering to fix this if the target gives them their bank details. Another common scam involves sending a target a fake check and asking them to cash it, then give some of the money to the scammer; the check will bounce and the scammer will run off with the target’s money.

One disturbing scam involves messaging lonely people and dating them over chat services for several months. Once the target has fallen in love, the scammer claims they have encountered a sudden financial emergency and needs the target to send money. A hallmark of this scam is for an online boyfriend or girlfriend to never be willing to talk on the phone or meet in person.

A new scam growing in popularity involves claiming to be an old friend of the target and bragging about making money through cryptocurrency. The scammer will then offer to put the target in contact with their financial planner, who will send the target a fake app that will steal their money. This scam hinges on people being confused by complex technical and financial jargon.

An old scam that is still used is to impersonate a target’s grandchild and claim to be in legal trouble and in need of bail money. If you receive a call of this nature, hang up immediately and call the relative in question.

Woods and Meier explained that one of the best things you can do to avoid scams is to talk things through with loved ones and financial advisors. Scammers weaponize people panicking and making rash decisions and can be defeated by calmly thinking things through and discussing them with others.




The News-Review

120 East Washington
Sigourney, Iowa 52591
Phone: 641-622-3110

601 G. Avenue/PO Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
Fax: 1-319-824-6288

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit for more information.