On Oct 26, Pete Begin, the Vice President Senior Security Fraud Prevention Officer for Mascoma Bank, addressed the Senior Solutions Annual Meeting. His role is to protect the assets of the bank and of its customers. He has been a physical security and fraud prevention officer for the last 19 years, and also draws from his 23 years of experience with the City of Lebanon Police Department.
In an eye-opening presentation, Begin informed us that “in the first 10 months of 2022, we have seen three times as many fraud incidents as in the entire previous year. We often think that ‘rural’ means ‘safer, but when it comes to fraud, it’s not.”
This fraud takes many forms, including telephone financial scams, electronic card theft, and a variety of scams.
Red flags that Begin mentioned include the following:
- The IRS will never call you and threaten you with arrest for non-payment of taxes.
- No bank or legitimate company will call and ask you for your social security number or other personal information. If you are unsure if the call is legitimate, tell them you’ll call them back and hang up. Then call them up using a trusted phone number for that institution – not one they ask you to call.
- When dropping mail off, try to drop it off inside the post office, not in an outside box. In several local incidents, criminals have used fly paper to “fish” inside of these boxes. Similarly, remove your mail from your rural route delivery box as soon as possible after it is delivered.
- Check emails for poor grammar, spelling, and originating email addresses, and don’t click on links from unknown senders. These are all tip-offs of a scam.
- “You can’t win a lottery you didn’t enter.”
Stay alert, and be your own first line of defense!