1st Security President Talks Scams

By Luke Ulatowski

First Security Bank of Deer Lodge President Tom Christnacht warned of bank and social media scams as the guest speaker at a Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI) “Protecting the Big Sky” presentation on Thursday.

Held at the Powell County Community Center, the presentation was only one stop on a CSI tour meant to address rising fraud in Montana and nationwide. CSI Investor Education Coordinator Blair Stapleton reported that scams and fraud cost Americans more than $12 billion in losses in 2023. Seniors were hit the hardest, with over $3.4 billion in losses for those over 60 that year.

Christnacht primarily highlighted fake sales on social media, such as on the Facebook Marketplace. The items lifted often have prices that are too good to be true and are listed in several different towns at once. The seller’s profiles often indicate they do not live in the town they are advertising in.

Christnacht recalled one of his customers received a message falsely stating her social security number had been compromised and that she had to call a certain number to resolve the issue. The fraudster on the other line led her to the bank on speakerphone. There, she handed Christnacht a note asking him to wire all of her money except for $500 to a Wells Fargo bank account outside of the country.

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