More than 40 individuals attended a fraud awareness seminar hosted by First National Bank of McAlester recently.
The seminar was a free event educating the public on the importance of fraud awareness and prevention.
The event was held on May 11 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Eastern Oklahoma State College’s McAlester campus with guest speaker Elaine Dodd, vice president of the Fraud Division at the Oklahoma Bankers Association.
“I want you to be empowered,” Dodd said.
She emphasized the importance of staying educated on fraud prevention and helping each other recognize a scam.
“Everyone has experienced some sort of identity theft,” Dodd said. “The best thing you can do is frequently check your bank account.”
Dodd also spoke of the importance of never sending a check to someone you don’t know.
“All scammers need is your routing number,” Dodd said. “If you send a check they have all the information they need from you.”
Dodd said it easy it is for scammers to trick senior citizens by pretending to be a relative in desperate need of a cash transfer.
“The scammer will call you and pretend to be your grandson or granddaughter asking you to send them money,” Dodd said. “A good idea would be to have a code word in your family to help prevent this from happening.”
Dodd showed a video on how easy and fast scammers can gain personal information. In the video, a scammer was able to get personal information from a cell phone account in as little as two minutes.
Dodd said scammers feed on three things: greed, emotion and fear. She said that is why most scams concern a lottery winning or a free trip, a grandson or granddaughter in trouble and in need of money, or someone pretending to be the IRS and telling you to send tax money or face jail time.
“It is a different world that we live in now,” Dodd said. “Don’t trust anyone you don’t know.”
Debra Chase, a local small business owner, attended the seminar.
“I came for personal and business reasons,” Chase said. “I learned a lot. There were some things I already knew but it just confirmed it all for me. I told my staff that if I could take just one thing away from this event it was worth it.”
Dodd said the Oklahoma Bankers Association wants to continue to educate and keep everyone safe against fraud.
“We understand and we are here to help you,” Dodd said.
For more information on fraud protection contact Elaine Dodd at 405-424-5252.
Contact Lacey Sudderth at [email protected]