Be Aware of the Scam Artist

They can weave a very convincing story

Often our elderly are victims of scam artists and/or identity thieves.   As your read the true story below, please consider speaking with your parents or grandparents so they can recognize the signs of a scam.

Recently one of our loan officers took a call from an elderly lady who is a customer of the bank.  When the loan officer asked how she was her reply was, “not so good; I am trying to figure out how I can help my grandson.”  As the lady talked, she said that she had received a call that her grandson, who traveled the United States for work, was very sick.  Too sick to fly home, so a co-worker of his offered to drive him back to Iowa.  In traveling home, the co-worker didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign and was pulled over by the police.   The police did a search of the vehicle and found a duffel bag full of drugs.  Both were now in jail for possession of drugs.   She was given a phone number to call to talk to a police officer.  She made the call and the police officer told her that they believed that her grandson was innocent of possessing drugs, and for that reason he would only need to post $2,000.00 in bail money.   She could provide that bail money by purchasing a $2,000.00 Best Buy gift card from a local convenience store.    It was at this point that the concerned, elderly lady called the bank.   She was ready to purchase the gift card, but she didn’t have the $2,000.00 to make the purchase.  She was wondering if there was any way the loan officer could help her.

The loan officer did help her.  By telling her that she was being scammed and by reassuring her that her grandson (whom they called by name) was fine.  That they were playing on her emotions as a grandma to convince her to buy the gift card.  Once the gift card was purchased, the scam artists would have her read the numbers off of the card which they would use to purchase electronics with.   That they would have called her back a day later and said that her grandson was still in jail as that card didn’t work, so she should purchase another one.

This story, or a version of it, is fairly familiar to us as bank employees.  Since many elderly seldom use the internet to know the latest scams, please consider having a conversation with your parents or grandparents so that they can recognize the signs of a scam.  This is happening in Northeast Iowa more than you might realize. 




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