What Are the Warning Signs of Financial Scams Targeting Older Individuals?
If you or someone you know has been targeted by a scam artist who is trying to steal
money or personal information, you’re not alone. According to the Senate Special
Committee on Aging, older Americans lose an estimated $2.9 billion annually to fraud and
exploitation, a number that is probably substantially underreported.
Most scams start with a call, an email, a text, or an official-looking letter that appears to be
from a government agency or a legitimate company. Sometimes the scam artist will go
door-to-door soliciting business or donations to charity.
Scam artists are very good at gaining the trust of well-meaning people by convincingly
impersonating someone authoritative, knowledgeable, or trustworthy — such as an IRS
agent, a tech repair person, or even a relative. They play on your sympathy or make
convincing threats to pressure you to go along with a scam. “Send money or provide
personal information right now, if you want to help someone or prevent something bad
from happening” they say.
Here are some typical scenarios:
- IRS scam: “You owe back taxes and penalties. Send payment immediately via a wire
transfer, or you will be arrested.”
- Sweepstakes scam: “Congratulations, you’ve won a prize! To collect it, provide us with
your bank account number so we can deposit a check.”
- Grandparent scam: “Hi Grandma, it’s me. Don’t you recognize my voice? I’ve been in an
accident and need money for car repairs. Send gift cards, and don’t tell anyone because
- Home repair scam: “I was just doing some work down the street for your neighbor,
Bob, and I saw that you need some shingles replaced. I can do that for half the price I
usually charge if you pay me in cash today.”
If you are targeted, never give out personal information or send money. You don’t need to
make a quick decision. Call a friend, a relative, or the police for advice. Report the scam
immediately to a fraud hotline such as the Senate Committee’s toll-free hotline, (855) 303-
Source: U.S Senate Special Committee on Aging, 2019
Meet Mary Fridgen
Meet Mary Fridgen.
Mary is the newest member of our team. She is an administrative associate who handles the receptionist duties. She is the energetic voice you’ll probably hear if you call us. We can already tell she’s a great fit for our team.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up just outside the small town of Wheaton, Minnesota, on my parents’ farm. I have three sisters and one brother who have blessed me with the honor of being an aunt to four nieces and five nephews who are AMAZING. After high school, I moved to Moorhead and attended M State, graduating with an AAS in administrative assisting. I currently live in Fargo with my boyfriend Augi, and I’m so excited to see what this great opportunity at HTC has in store for me.
HTC Team News and Honors
Brian Halverson, President, seen below with the Association of Trust Organizations (ATO) board of directors at the annual conference in Denver, CO. Halverson was this year’s Chair of the three-day conference that brings together trust industry professionals from around the country and nationally recognized speakers to discuss vital topics, trends, and issue facing the trust industry. Halverson is also an ATO board member and the Chair of its Next Generation Network.
Heartland Trust Company Brings Responsible Investing to Our Clients
This is a topic that has been flying under the radar for a bit too long. What does “responsible investing” mean and why would someone allocate their assets towards it?
In industry talk, we refer to this as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. Responsible portfolios are centered on these three criteria. Until recently, the problem with many of the funds in this space was that one fund’s ESG criteria could differ from another’s. It was awfully hard to distinguish if funds were simply using it as a marketing moniker or if they actually meant what they said.
We didn’t want to put our client’s hard-earned assets into funds that didn’t represent their values. Finally, a coherent set of principles started to gain traction a few years ago.
Is a Charitable Trust A Good Option for You
Philanthropy is a key to the success of our region. The financial generosity of donors combined with donations of time and talents directly enrich the lives of those in need. This indirectly enriches the lives of us all. If you would like to make a gift now that will benefit both you and the charitable organization of your choice, one of the options listed below might be right for you.
Would you like to make a substantial give to a favorite charity, but hesitate because you may need those assets to support you while you are living? If so, you may want to consider a charitable remainder trust. The trust will pay taxable income to you (and your beneficiaries, if desired) for life or a term of years. The balance of the trust is then transferred to charity. Highly appreciated assets are excellent for funding charitable trusts, as the trust does not pay capital gains tax if those assets are sold and the donor uses the appreciated fair market value to determine the amount of the charitable contribution. Establishing a charitable remainder trust creates a current federal charitable contribution itemized deduction. North Dakota residents may also qualify for the ND Tax Credit for Planned Gifts. There are a number of payout options for charitable trusts:
Meet Jill McAndrew
Jill is an Operations Associate at Heartland Trust Company, handling the day-to-day tasks for the Operations team. Her optimistic outlook and upbeat personality make her a great coworker!
Tell us about yourself.
First, I have a confession. I am a terrible cook and the cupcake recipe below is from my mom. There is almost zero chance I could bake them successfully, but I can verify that they are delicious!
I have a daughter who will graduate high school next year, so I have one last year stocked full of school activities. As sad as I am for her to grow up, I can’t wait to see what path she chooses next. I volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation and facilitate a connect group for those with all types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases here in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It is such a rewarding experience to help people and be part of their arthritis journey.
Teaching Your College-Age Child About Money
When your child first started school, you doled out the change for milk and a snack on a daily basis. But now that your kindergartner has grown up, it’s time for you to make sure that your child has enough financial knowledge to manage money at college.
Lesson 1: Budgeting 101
Perhaps your child already understands the basics of budgeting from having to handle an allowance or wages from a part-time job during high school. But now that your child is in college, he or she may need to draft a “real world” budget, especially if he or she lives off-campus and is responsible for paying for rent and utilities. Here are some ways you can help your child plan and stick to a realistic budget:
- Help your child figure out what income there will be (money from home, financial aid, a part-time job) and when it will be coming in (at the beginning of each semester, once a month, or every week).
- Make sure your child understands the difference between needs and wants. Your child should understand how important it is to cover the needs first.
- Determine together how you and your child will split responsibility for expenses. For instance, you may decide that you’ll pay for your child’s trips home, but that your child will need to pay for art supplies or other miscellaneous expenses.
- Warn your child not to spend too much too soon, particularly when money that has to last all semester arrives at the beginning of a term.
- Acknowledge that college isn’t all about studying. While you should include entertainment expenses in the budget, encourage your child to stick closely to the limit you agree upon.
- Show your child how to track expenses by saving receipts and keeping an expense log. Knowing where the money is going will help your child stay on track.
- Encourage your child to plan ahead for big expenses (the annual auto insurance bill or the trip over spring break).
- Caution your child to monitor spending patterns to avoid excessive spending, and ask him or her to come to you for advice at the first sign of financial trouble.
Prepare and Enjoy
Before the start of every Concordia football game, Coach Terry Horan quotes Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As we move through life, there are defining moments that we can prepare for and some we cannot. Moments that make us happy, sad, mad, proud, and a myriad of other emotions. Something as memorable as a summer weekend when we play the best golf game of our life with a great group of friends, or the exhaustion and uncertainty from a long health battle. These experiences shape our outlook on life, the stories we tell our kids, and how we plan for tomorrow.
In our line of work, we understand what people are going through because we experience the same things. Whether something is expected or unexpected, prepare for it and embrace those you trust to help you get through it.
What Coach Horan was impressing on the Cobbers before taking the field is that we have prepared for today. Not just in the days and weeks leading up to the game, but the months and years as well, whether we knew it or not. Every experience has shaped us, no matter how large or small. Get out there and enjoy the moment. We have a game plan, but also be prepared for the unexpected to arise for us to overcome. Be confident and strong and remember that someone will always have your back to help you through the hard times and enjoy the good times.
Meet Dustin Sobolik
Dustin is the Investment Officer at Heartland Trust Company. He oversees investment research, meets with analysts, and does much of the financial planning for our clients.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a north Fargo native and attended Minnesota State University Moorhead from 2007 to 2011. I guide discussions in our Investment Committee and have a mild obsession with statistics and analytics. Aside from working with clients, a large portion of my role revolves around conducting research and meeting with outside analysts.
What do you like to do in your spare time?