Karsnia driveway

Jerry and Martha Karsnia's driveway. 

A local couple is hoping their experience of falling victim to a scam will help others avoid a similar situation.

Jerry and Martha Karsnia last month were unexpectedly approached by an asphalt company that offered to pave their driveway at a discounted price with leftover materials from another job.

Martha said the couple was reluctant, but the company had already dumped some of the material to start the project.

“I thought, 'Well, it's too late to turn back now,” Martha said. “They reassured me the driveway wasn't as big as I thought and it wouldn't be very expensive... Jerry figured it wouldn't cost over $1,000.”

In the end, the company delivered the Karsnias a bill for more than $6,700, which Martha said was very upsetting and frustrating.

After going back and forth on the price tag, both parties settled on $5,500. The check was cashed almost immediately.

The Karsnias realized the whole situation was part of a scam.  

“We never thought something like this would happen to us,” Martha said. “I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else.”

A local seminar hopes to achieve just that.

In an effort to educate the community – especially senior citizens – a senior scam alert seminar is scheduled for 5-6 p.m. Tuesday at the River's Edge Villa, 1406 Highway 71. The free event is hosted by the Good Samaritan Society of International Falls and Border State Bank.

“As part of our community outreach and marketing efforts, we host a variety of events for seniors and their families in our area,” said Emily Severson, GSS customer engagement coordinator. “We wanted to try to start incorporating education events to our calendar, and this scam seminar seemed like a good program to start with... Since we are not experts in this subject, we have partnered with Cindy Youso at Border State Bank to provide the seminar information.”

Severson said she expects Youso's presentation will cover the most common scams happening to people, what signs to look in a potential scam and ways of protection against scammers.

While the seminar is targeted at senior citizens and their families, anyone is welcome to attend.

“The senior community is very trusting, making them an easy target for scammers,” Severson said. “Teaching them to have their guard up can help prevent becoming a victim.”

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