Heidi McBride and Stasha Bean with First Interstate Bank talk with Edgemont seniors about fraud and scamming on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at Edgemont Senior Center as part of their company-wide Community Volunteer Day
By Eric Harrold
EDGEMONT – On Wednesday, September 8, employees from First Interstate Bank in Edgemont hosted “Safe Banking for Seniors” seminars at the Edgemont Senior Citizens Center as part of First Interstate Bank’s Companywide Volunteer Day.
Bank employees select their own service projects to ensure they cater to the specific needs of their communities and were encouraged to support nonprofit organizations working to eliminate poverty. Over 2,000 First Interstate volunteers from across the company will support approximately 225 separate nonprofit organizations through more than 250 service projects. Service projects include a wide array of offerings from volunteers, among them financial literacy trainings, building hygiene kits, preparing food boxes for home deliveries, weeding and harvesting gardens, chopping firewood, and sewing blankets.
Three employees from the Edgemont branch participated in the seminars on Wednesday. Retail Manager Jess VanEaton talked about Power-of-Attorney decisions when the need arises to help with medical and financial decisions. VanEaton said that whomever someone appoints as Power-of-Attorney should be someone they know well and trust. In the event that someone has little familiarity with a person they are considering appointing, they might want to obtain a background check first. VanEaton pointed out that appointing a Power-of-Attorney does not eliminate someone’s ability to make independent decisions, but rather should be considered a precautionary move to address circumstances that may arise due to mental or physical deterioration.
Stasha Bean, Teller II at the Edgemont branch, discussed fraud and scamming. Bean admonished those in attendance to refrain from giving out personal information over the phone or online to anyone identifying themselves as a bank representative, debt collector, credit card company, or the IRS. She also informed seniors that scammers may send emails with corrupt links that will cause damage to the recipient’s computer or result in stolen information such as account numbers. Bean added that if you discover that you’ve been the victim of a scam, contact your banking institution as soon as possible and do not delay because of embarrassment as the earliest notification will yield the best results.
Bank President Heidi McBride talked about “fake checks” and the need to be cautious about any suspicious check received in the mail. Fraudulent checks received by mail, if deposited, can result in a returned check with the account holder being responsible for the funds. McBride suggests requesting check verification for any large check from someone with whom you aren’t personally familiar.
Those in attendance indicated that they found the presentations that afternoon to be well worth their time and attention. “It was informative and got a lot of response,” said Patty Martinson. “It was wonderful, and I learned a lot,” added Shery Bauer. “I’ve had a lot of problems with scammers.”