By: Jeremy Skoglund, VP Trust Officer

I was talking to a Grandpa one day about the importance of checking his credit report to make sure no one has been opening up loans in his name.  I told him that I use the free annual credit report site to check my report often.  He asked me to help him check his, so I went to the website and began entering his information.  When I told him that we’d have to enter his social security number, though, he changed his mind.  In fact, he was adamant that he would not give that out.  He trusted me, but he did not trust any website.  That was actually a very good response.  He won’t be able to see his credit report without providing his personal information, but that response told me that he likely wouldn’t give out his information to anyone.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so protective of their information.  There are people out there who will try many different ways to get information from us and one of those ways, pleading with our desire to be helpful, is how many of our older generation fall victim to scams.  It may be a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild that needs money.  Or someone that appears to need money to eat or pay rent.

Our Bank staff is very good about asking questions when someone comes in to withdraw money.  There have been times when our staff notices that something is just not right and they are able to convince our customer to not withdraw the money when they know that it is not legitimate.  Of course, they can’t catch these scams every time.  The customer might just go to an ATM, send an ACH, or use their debit card.  In those instances, there is not someone there to ask questions and steer the customer in the right direction.

For those customers that have a Trust account with a Corporate Trustee like a Bank’s Trust Department, however, they actually have another layer of protection.  The Trust Department has a responsibility to protect the funds in the Trust and to make sure that the funds are managed in accordance with the Trust Document.  Typically, the purpose of the Trust is to provide for a current beneficiary now and a future beneficiary at some later time.  In those cases, the Trustee needs to make sure that there will be funds available for the future beneficiary while also providing for the current beneficiary’s needs.  They do this by asking a lot of questions and making sure that every withdrawal is appropriate.  This process, like our Bank staff’s questions, can help reduce the number of time funds are withdrawn and lost to scams.

If you would like to visit about how we can help you manage your funds, give us a call: (701) 857-7150.