The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

December 21, 2012

Don’t get fooled by holiday loan calls

OTTUMWA — Keith Reisetter’s instincts told him something fishy was going on. Turns out he was right.

His wife received a call offering a small loan with almost no interest. The idea was to borrow a thousand dollars to help pay for Christmas gifts and then pay the money back next year.

The caller claimed to be from Wells Fargo. Reisetter, an Ottumwa Courier employee, said the caller made him uncomfortable — something just wasn’t adding up.

“It was kind of creepy because we bank with Wells Fargo,” Reisetter said.

He started investigating. Wells Fargo in Ottumwa helped. They said they couldn’t find such an employee in their database. Then the couple’s banker called the man back and confirmed it. The guy may have been a lot of things, but he was not a Wells Fargo employee.

It was a scam.

A CNHI paper in Anderson, Ind., the Herald Bulletin, reported  a very similar story almost one year ago to the day. Kelly Smith said she was helping her 78-year-old mother apply for a loan online when Mom received a call from “Easy Finance.”

Mom handed Smith the phone and the caller offered her a loan of about $1,000. Her mother did want a few dollars for Christmas shopping.

Smith said the offer seemed odd because there was no interest on the loan and they had no need to do a credit check on her mom. Smith was told she would just have to wire the first $172 to “prove she could make payments.”

The daughter asked Western Union about the offer and was told it was a scam.

Reisetter said it’s important to tell people about this kind of trick, especially when the calls are coming here in Ottumwa.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone,” said Reisetter, “especially around the holidays.”

If you’re not sure about a “bank” offer via phone or email, contact your bank.

Sam Brattain with The Herald Bulletin contributed to this story.

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