As President and CEO of Oregon Community Bank and its Waunakee branch, Steve Peotter has seen several customers become victims of frauds and scams.
At the Sept. 22 Waunakee Rotary meeting, Steve shared some of the scams with club members and talked about how to protect yourself from swindlers.
Three of the current scams are the grandparent scam, the foreign lottery scam and the IRS scam.
The first involves a phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who is traveling abroad, in trouble and in need of money. The victim is asked to wire money to the scam artist’s account.
The second involves a call or an email announcing that you have won a foreign lottery. The announcement asks for a finder’s fee to help collect the funds.
The third has the scam artist pretending to be an IRS agent informing the victim that he or she owes back taxes.
The scams are successful, Steve said, and that’s why they’ve been around for some time. They play on people’s basic emotions – their wish to help others, desire for riches and fear.
Cybercrimes are also common. With identify theft, the scam artist takes over the victim’s email account and sends phishing emails in that person’s name. Those phishing emails can contain attachments with viruses that can get information from a computer, such as credit card information.
Ransomware is another cyber crime. It comes in the form of a virus that takes over a person’s computer, locks it down and asks for a ransom to unlock it.
Emails of scams indicating lottery winnings are also common.
Steve urged Rotarians to be careful of the WiFi connections they use. Connections at airports or other highly trafficked public places are not necessarily secure, so checking financial accounts using those WiFi connections should be avoided.
Steve said awareness of these scams and frauds are the best means of prevention.
But anyone who does become a victim should contact the Federal Trade Commission, their local police and their bank.
Speaking of banks, Steve said the Waunakee Community Bank branch is expected to open in December.
Other news:
•The club inducted three new members – Dr. Mike Blodgett, Ryan Knight and Tyler Knowles. Welcome Mike, Ryan and Tyler!
•Members can help pack books for Books for the World on Oct. 8.
•Bob Klostermann is gauging interest in a tour of a fish farm near Pflaum Road in Madison on Oct. 12. The operation raises clown fish to import and sell to local pet stores. The outing will involve a stop at a brewery, most likely. Let Bob know what time you’d prefer.
Greeters: Sept. 29, Rex Endres and Gary Epping; Oct. 6, Bill Erickson and Dan Evans; Oct. 13, Allison Feldbruegge and Greg Garton; Oct. 20, Randy Guttenberg and Rich Harris.