Financial Fraud is Rampant. Don’t be a Victim.

Fraud

More and more people are falling victim to financial fraud, and some of them are your friends and neighbors, right here in our Nebraska and South Dakota communities.

Every week, Security First Bank staff assist customers who have been defrauded of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  While there are several different scams out there, all of them share one or more common themes:

Strangers asking for assistance in financial matters. 

There is absolutely no reason for strangers to ask you to help them cash a check or conduct another kind of financial transaction. No matter how convincing their story, if someone you do not know asks you to use YOUR banking relationship to help with a ‘problem’ they have, do not participate. 

Using cashier’s checks, wiring funds, or gift cards to move money. 

If you are contacted by a person you do not know and they want to conduct financial transactions with cashier’s checks, want you to wire money or want to be paid with gift cards, do not get involved.  You are being set up to have your money stolen.

Requests (or demands) to keep transactions secret. 

If you are told by a stranger to keep something secret, especially a financial transaction, you are being manipulated.  These scammers are not trying to protect you or your reputation, they are trying to steal your money before you have the chance to ask people you know and trust for advice.

‘Emergency’ situations requiring immediate action.

Scammers create elaborate stories to frighten people into sending money to solve a so-called emergency. If you are contacted by a stranger – or even someone posing as a friend or relative – and they ask you to send money right away to fix a problem, don’t do it. (See side article from the Federal Trade Commission) 

Spending your own money in order to receive additional money. 

Never send money to someone else in order to get more money sent back to you.  

Recent work-from-home and mystery-shopper scams in our area involve several of the tactics outlined above, including the use of cashier’s checks to verify customer service quality at the bank and the purchase of gift cards at large retailers for the same alleged reason.   In every single case, the cashier’s checks are fake and the value of the gift cards purchased with the ‘mystery shopper’s’ cash is stolen. 

Other emerging scams are connected to recent government stimulus payments and unemployment benefits related to the CARES Act and the COVID pandemic. As we stated earlier, do not use your banking relationship to conduct banking business for another person. This includes depositing or cashing checks for others, even if they are allegedly federal or state payments. 

In an effort to prevent our customers from falling victim, bank staff will ask questions about the reasons for conducting certain transactions that are commonly used to defraud people of their hard-earned money.  Not everyone appreciates these questions, but please understand that we have your best interests at heart are trying to save you from making a costly mistake. If you feel you may be a victim of fraud, please contact your local branch or our fraud department at 605-718-8057.

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