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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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    300 North Main Street
    Charles City, IA 50616

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    315 Central Avenue East
    Clarion, IA 50525

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    220 North Main Street
    Kanawha, IA 50447

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    33 East State Street
    Mason City, IA 50401

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    2601 4th Street SW
    Mason City, IA 50401

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    730 Forest Ave East
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    124 West Main Street
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Home Security Center Latest Fraud & Scams Information

Latest Fraud & Scams Information


Latest Fraud & Scams Information 

All of us at First Citizens want to keep you informed about all the latest fraud and scams happening so that you can know what to look out for. Read below to hear about the latest. 













Social Media Scams  

Scammers are now taking advantage of college students and young adults who use social media networks. There are multiple scams that this age group can fall victim to, such as downloading apps to save or earn money, card cracking scams, and the car wrap scam. Read below to learn more and become familiar with these newer scams. 

Save or earn money by downloading this app scams: 

Many scams on social media post fake or false ads claiming that you can win or save money by downloading an app. When students try to click on the link or download the app, malware is then installed on their device and scammers are able to steal passwords and personal information. 

Card cracking scams:

This is a scam that targets college students and young adults in which the scammer acquires account information, debit card information, and PIN number through card cracking. There are two different variations of card cracking. 

  1. A scammer reaches out via social media with an online job offer or to offer financial aid. The scammer asks for bank account information to deposit money and then uses a fake, stolen, or counterfeit check. They then ask the victim to send or withdraw the money from their account. By the time the fake check gets flagged, the money is already gone
  2. The fraudsters convince their victims to share their debit card number and PIN and tell them to report their card stolen and recover the money. The fraudster then cleans out the bank account without sharing any of the promised money with the victim. 

Car wrap scam:

Get paid to drive, what could be easier than that? This is a scam that seems like a good deal, but in reality is doing more harm than good. The scammer offers a large sum of money to their victim to drive around with their car wrapped in an advertisement. The scammer sends a counterfeit check to their victim to deposit into their account along with instructions to immediately send payment to a pre-selected decal agent who will put the decals on their car. The victim is also told to keep a portion of the check for themselves. Later on, the check bounces and the victim will have to pay the bill for the money they already sent the decal agent. 




Grandparent/Bail Bondsman Scams   

This is a new scam where someone could actually show up to collect a fine or bail for grandchild or friend. This usually starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be a bail bondsman informing you that a loved one has been arrested and needs you to post bail. If you receive a call like this, you should hang up and try to contact the person who they claimed is in trouble. 

In the case of a business, the fraudster impersonates a CEO or person higher up in a company asking that the business cover a bad check they deposited. The fraudster then comes to collect the money from the business.

The fraudster in BOTH situations may even offer to come to your house or business to pick up the money. If anyone ever offers to come to your house or business to pick up money, IT IS A SCAM! 

Gift Card Scams

Many scammers and fraudsters ask their victims to purchase gift cards to send and promise to send money back to the victim. If anyone ever asks you to buy gift cards in any sum of money for any reason over the phone or online, do not do it! GIFT CARDS ARE FOR GIFTS, NOT PAYMENTS!



Stolen Cards, Purses, Wallets

Be very cautious and aware of your surroundings, as personal items such as cards, purses, and wallets can be stolen any where and at any time. We have seen an increase in the states of Iowa and Minnesota of these crimes. There has also been increased theft from vehicles of purses and personal items. Don't think that just because you put your items on the floor or under the seat that they are safe. Those are the first places that thieves will look. Always be sure to lock your car and take personal items with you when you can. 

Sources are available for you to protect your items, such as a digital wallet and Brella. You can add your cards to a digital wallet on your phone and be able to easily access them. This makes the need for carrying a wallet or purse unnecessary. Brella is an added security service that allows you to turn your debit card on/off, add alerts, blocks, transfer funds or submit travel notices. For more information or to sign up for this FREE service click here




Phone Call Scams and Phishing Scams 

Many scammers get access to our phone numbers and are able to call us with made up phone numbers to make it look like they are from your area. If you are receiving numerous phone calls a day or every week, consider signing up on the National Do Not Call Registry. Sign up on this website: 

Phishing is another way scammers can trick you into giving them information through emails, links, and text messages. DO NOT click on any of these items if you were not expecting to receive them. Similar to phone call scams, scammers can make it look like these emails, links, and text messages are coming from a familiar business or from your area. Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link, opening an ad or attachment, or giving out personal information. The legit business already has your personal information and does not need it via text or phone. If you are unsure if it the actual business trying to contact you, call them directly with the number you are familiar with, NOT with any information from the email or text you received. 



Deep Insert Skimming Devices

The most common places for scammers to place skimming devices are at ATMs and Pay- At-The-Pump locations. These devices may be hidden cameras that records your card number and PIN OR may be a thumb drive embedded in the card reader which reads the chip or mag strip. Deep insert skimmers are different from typical insert skimmers in that they are placed in various positions within the card reader and are completely hidden from the consumer at the front of the ATM. This is how scammers are able to make a copy of your card information and make purchases using your account.

TIP: Be alert for unusual devices on ATMs, gas pumps, or merchant terminals. Avoid standalone ATMs in low-lit areas. Be vigilant when using an ATM, stay aware of your surroundings. Most importantly, covering the PIN pad with your hand defeats a key component of most skimmer scams. The hidden camera would not be able to capture your PIN or card number if you take this simple effective step. 





QR Code Scam 

Scammers have taken it up a notch with the latest trend of committing fraud via QR codes. Fraudsters are using QR technology to steal personal information, credit card information, and website activity. In just minutes after the QR code is scanned, malware is installed on your device and your personal data is transferred to the fraudster. 

TIPS: When looking at a QR code follow these tips to ensure your safety. Make sure that it is not fuzzy looking, look for misspellings, and look if they offer deeply discounted items that seem too good to be true. Fraudsters have been known to replace QR codes by placing a sticker on top of posters, brochures, and within restaurants on their menus and napkin dispensers. DO NOT click on links or scan QR codes sent by strangers. Verify the source before you end up in trouble. Review links and QR codes carefully, because they may only be off by one word or letter, which is purposely meant to confuse the target of the scam. 






Visit our Security Center page for more detailed information. 

We are here to help! Contact us at 800-423-1602 for any questions. 


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