In a world where fraud can target anyone, even the most informed and discerning individuals can become victims of cunning schemes. The following incident from a Callaway Bank client is a stark reminder of this unsettling reality and the importance of fraud prevention.

How Fraudsters Target Locals in Boone & Callaway Counties

Mary Quartermont, Assistant Vice President and Deposit Operations Manager at The Callaway Bank, has seen many unfortunate instances of good people conned out of their life savings. She shares a true story of an intelligent individual who fell into the clutches of a fraudulent scheme orchestrated through social media.

This victim was a widower who had recently lost his spouse and encountered a fraudster on Facebook posing as an investment agent with an impressive reputation. The scammer recognized that the victim was likely lonely. Over several months they deftly built a bond with the gentleman, using shared interests and friendly conversations to establish trust.

Fraud Prevention in Columbia, MO | Handsome mature man in casual suit sitting at the table in home office and thinking on his work, when looking at laptop screenAs the relationship grew, the fraudster skillfully persuaded the victim to invest funds under the pretense of lucrative opportunities. They went so far as to produce a fake account that showed they were making money for their clients. These con artists often create fake websites and social media personas to help convince their victims that everything they say is legitimate.

How Bankers Identify Potential Fraud

The scammer gave detailed instructions on how to wire the funds to be invested. Knowing that the bank would ask about details of the wire, the victim was coached on what to say to help navigate the bank’s scrutiny and evade detection. “Tell them you’re helping a family member out, or it’s going to one of your kids, etc. That will steer the bank away from suspicion of fraud,” the fraudster explained.

However, the keen-eyed team at The Callaway Bank detected inconsistencies in the transaction, prompting a thorough investigation. At first, the client was insistent that he knew this individual and that they would not scam him or cause him financial harm. Despite initial reluctance from the targeted gentlemen, the evidence revealed the scheme’s true nature. The victim had unwittingly fallen for a clever ploy, capitalizing on their emotional vulnerability and desire for a good investment.

It is vital to understand that falling prey to such deceit is not a reflection of the victim’s shortcomings. These con artists employ sophisticated tactics that can ensnare individuals from all walks of life, all ages, and levels of education, regardless of their technological expertise.

How to Protect Yourself From Fraudsters

The Callaway Bank urges customers to remain vigilant and seek support if they encounter suspicious situations. Seeking advice from trusted family members, bankers, or close friends can act as a defense against these insidious practices and ensure fraud prevention.

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder that fraudsters are adept at manipulating situations and emotions, making it essential for individuals to remain cautious and informed to protect themselves from potential scams. No one is exempt from the risk, and staying alert is the first line of defense against these cunning perpetrators.

If you experience a suspicious interaction, don’t be afraid to reach out for further review. Our Customer Care Team is available to answer your questions and provide guidance.  

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