With the number of phone and e-mail scams on the rise, The Farmers Bank of Spencer is joining forces with local law enforcement agencies and media outlets to bring in an authority on the topic to provide both information and a word of warning to potential victims.
Special Assistant William Brauch with the Iowa Attorney General's office, and director of Consumer Protection, will speak to the public at the Clay County Regional Events Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Brauch will focus his discussion on the growing fraud trends impacting all Iowans, especially older Iowans.
"We're seeing an increase in a wide variety of fraud," Deb Sundall, senior vice president/human resources at Farmers Trust & Savings Bank of Spencer, said.
Sundall, who is coordinating the event, said a presentation was made in 2010 to bank staff and law enforcement, but she believes the issue needs to be brought to the people.
"Our hope is we will continue to bring a greater awareness to the general public. This is not going away," Sundall said.
Since January of 2011, the Spencer Police Department has received 76 complaints of fraud, and the Clay County Sheriff's Office has had 12 reports filed.
"Every week Mark (Lawson, Spencer Police chief) and I have a number of calls. I get them sent to my e-mail and I'm the sheriff," Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow said. "Just the reports of scams - they just got this letter - it's amazing."
"It does seem like there are more attacks on elderly citizens," Krukow acknowledged, "but really it's everybody. They're getting everybody."
Both Krukow and Lawson agreed, once the scam artists have a person's information and manage to get money under false pretenses, they are extremely difficult to track. They too agree that the best way to avoid being taken advantage of is to know what to look for and what to avoid.
Brauch will address the prevention measures to assist public preparedness.
Space is limited so those wishing to attend should RSVP to 262-3340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.