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Preferred Branch

Mason City (641)423-1600 Change Location

Your Preferred Branch

Mason City Change Location

2601 4th Street SW
Mason City, IA 50401

Tel. (641)423-1600

Monday-Thursday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sat: 9:00am - 12:00pm
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  • Charles City Branch
    300 North Main Street
    Charles City, IA 50616

  • Clarion Branch
    315 Central Avenue East
    Clarion, IA 50525

  • Kanawha Branch
    220 North Main Street
    Kanawha, IA 50447

  • Latimer Branch
    119 North Akir Street
    Latimer, IA 50452

  • Mason City State Street Branch
    33 East State Street
    Mason City, IA 50401

  • Mason City West Branch
    2601 4th Street SW
    Mason City, IA 50401

  • Mora Branch
    730 Forest Ave East
    Mora, MN 55051

  • New Hampton Branch
    124 West Main Street
    New Hampton, IA 50659

  • Osage Branch
    501 Main Street
    Osage, IA 50461

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Home Blog Wait a Minute. Is This a SCAM?

Wait a Minute. Is This a SCAM?

Wait a Minute. Is This a SCAM?

History is jammed packed with stories of innovative ways that scammers use to trick people to give them their money.  Scams often seem distant and unlikely — until they happen to you. Don’t be fooled. Protect yourself from becoming a victim by watching out for these five signs:

  1. An Unexpected Request
    It is unusual for someone you know to make an unexpected request for money. If your friend or relative contacts you asking for money, contact them through another means before sending help. Find out if they are the true source of the request. Give them a phone call, text, or send them an email.

    If you get a phone call from an alleged government agency, HANG UP! If you are in doubt as to whether you are actually being contacted by the government, look up the contact information of the government agency online to request information.
  2. A Request for Personal Information
    When suspicious figures ask for personal information such as a Social Security Number, credit card number, or mother’s maiden name, that is a red flag! Why do they need to know this? Can you verify the source of this request? Reputable companies or organizations will respect your caution and provide verification. Merchants or government agencies DO NOT need online banking credentials to send you a refund.

    For example, if you receive an email request for your credit card number, look up the organization’s phone number through another resource, like the internet (not through the email), and ask if you can give information over the phone instead. By taking this step, you have given yourself the power to verify the identity of your contact.
  3. A Reason for Panic: “Make a Decision Now!”
    Scammers use fear as a tactic to pressure their victims and urge them to pay immediately. They don’t want you to think things through, ask someone you trust for help, or do your research.  Never allow anyone to pressure you to make an in-the-moment financial decision. Legitimate companies will give you time to make a decision.
  4. An offer seems too good to be true
    If it seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Examples include money left to you from an unknown relative, being awarded a loan or grant you haven’t applied for, winning a lottery you’ve never entered, and being selected to receive a share in funds in return for using your bank account.
  5. Demanding an Untraceable Payment Method
    It’s a scam if you are told that you must pay advance fees or taxes in order to receive a refund or any other sort of money that is entitled to you. Imposters will sometimes ask you to wire money to them but, increasingly, they tell you to go put money on a gift card.

    For example, the caller tells you to buy a popular gift card (such as Google Play or Amazon) and wants you to be secretive about it. (THIS IS A MAJOR RED FLAG!) The caller will tell you to get the card at a particular retail or grocery store near you. The caller will even stay on the line while you drive to the bank or store to get the "fast" cash. Once you buy the card, the caller then will demand the gift card number and PIN on the back of the card. Those numbers let them immediately get the money you loaded onto the card. And once they’ve done that, the scammers and your money are gone, usually without a trace.

By paying attention to these warning signs, you can avoid scams and keep your money secure. Do you have a scam story that you’d like to share so we can warn others? If so, please contact us.


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