Grand Marais State Bank informs public to watch out for scam solicitors

Grand Marais State Bank informs public to watch out for scam solicitors

Scams, including identity theft, phishing, and digital fraud, are experiencing an upward trend nationwide. Recently the Federal Trade Commission reported a 70 percent increase in fraud between 2020 and 2021.

Here in Minnesota, residents lose over $30 million to scams annually, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Minnesota’s most common scams include foreign lottery schemes, phony prize promotions, advance-fee loans, travel offer scams, and unnecessary credit card loss “protection.”

Marja Erickson, assistant vice president at the Grand Marais State Bank, said a few current scams are circulating throughout the Cook County region. On Nov. 10, the Grand Marais State Bank posted an example of a text message scam on its Facebook page to inform the public.

The text message includes a phone number to call with an exclamation point and a message that reads, ‘Your Debit.Card have been locked!’ along with an account id number.

“This is not us or anyone that we know,” Erickson said.

She added, “When you get a text message that is very urgent and saying ‘you need to call right now’ and ‘call this number.’ Don’t do that. Call us directly. You know who we are. We’re happy to answer the phone and take care of any issues for you.”

In addition to the circulating text message scam, Erickson said some Cook County residents recently received a scam letter about an expiring home warranty.

Erickson said if you receive a text message, phone call, or letter in the mail, there are some easily identifiable red flags to keep an eye out for. She said first and foremost to look for misspellings and punctuation. Another red flag is a sense of urgency.

“If it’s really urgent, lots of exclamation points and do this now. Again, that should be a red flag to look at who the sender is,” Erickson said. Another scammer tactic is to portray an authority figure or to craft an emotional story to solicit money.

Example of a scam text message is below:

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Marja Erickson, assistant vice president, to learn more about current scam messages and tactics in Cook County. Audio from the interview is below.