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Lunch and Learn session focuses on elder fraud prevention

By Staff | Jul 19, 2019

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Jefferson Security Bank hosted the first Lunch and Learn session June 11 focusing on Elder Fraud.

“Elder fraud is the crime of the 21st century,” said Michael Burke, senior robbery and crisis management consultant with Shazam, a national member-owned debit network, processor and core provider.

Founded in 1976, SHAZAM delivers choice and flexibility to community financial institutions throughout the U.S. and is a single-source provider of the following services: debit card, core, fraud, ATM, merchant, marketing, training, risk and ACH.

“Bad guys target seniors,” Burke said. “They prey on emotions, especially fear and urgency. And only one in four cases is reported.”

The Lunch & Learn, one of more to come according to Senior Vice President of Operations and Security Officer Joe Hronesz.

“We plan to offer more sessions like this that gives the community an opportunity to come learn about something that applies to them,” Hronesz said.

Burke spent an hour offering insight in how seniors, or individuals of any age, can avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

He first defined multiple types of fraud that seniors face including social engineering that includes phishing (email), vishing (voice), SMShing (text messages) and in-person fraud. Types of scams can cover areas including alleged text support, law enforcement or IRS fraud, the grandparent scheme, Craigslist schemes and romance schemes on dating sites.

Burke urged the handful of attendees to never answer texts from someone they don’t know.

“Just delete them,” Burke said. “Don’t even type S-T-O-P-just delete.”

Burke also adamantly told the group not to “click” on anything when receiving emails.

“Do not click and do not call,” Burke said. “By doing so, especially allowing an alleged ‘technician'” to remotely access your computer, you open up your whole system to them.”

Burke said that it is important to remember that if you did not initiate the contact, do not ever give personal information.

“The IRS and the State Police will not call you to say you owe back taxes or that you have a warrant out for your arrest,” he said, warning against sharing on social media such as Facebook where one is vacationing because scammers use that information to call and say they are from a law enforcement agency in that location, indicating a ticket has been issued and money must be sent right away.

Burke also said banks never all call. He said that if one receives a call that is questionable, before sending any money or reacting in any way, to contact the bank personally to report it. He said that the technical capabilities of scammers is so high now that they can spoof a phone number of a local bank or cable company or other companies and when the call comes in it appears as legitimate.

“Whenever in doubt, call the number you know and trust,” Burkes urged.

The grandparent scheme, Burke explained, is one where scammers call pretending to be a grandchild or other relative who is in trouble and in need of money.

“These people look at phone directories targeting those with old-fashioned sounding names,” Burke said.

Craigslist scams are notorious for individuals paying with counterfeit money. Burke shared photos of what to look for on bills that show they are not quite legitimate.

Dating sites are also notorious for scammers, Burke said. Individuals believe they have found “Mr. or Ms. Right” and develop an online relationship with them. After several months, scammers begin to ask for small sums of money for various reasons, then expand in to higher dollar amounts.

Burke briefly touched on skimming machines and shared that when using an ATM or point-of-sale machine, it is wise to pull on the front of the entrance where one’s card is inserted. If a skimming device is attached, it can be pulled off. He showed samples of such devices and showed how cameras are also installed by those seeking to steal one’s information. The cameras look exactly like the front or part of the machine and only those looking for them can tell they are there.

“Use your hand to cover the keypad when you put in your PIN,” Burke said. Otherwise the cameras installed by criminals can not only record the card number but the PIN as well, making it even easier to access their victim’s accounts.

“Don’t let your card leave your sight,” Burke stressed. When in restaurants, walk with the wait staff to the credit card reader or ask that they bring a portable one to the table.

Shepherdstown Police Officer C. Yonkers attended the lunch and confirmed that the local police have had many cases of elder fraud and other activities such as skimmers. ?Jack Scott, Shepherdstown resident who attended the lunch, could not praise Jefferson Security Bank highly enough for hosting the lunch.

“I wish the room had been packed,” Scott said.