F&M Bank volunteers mark Agriculture Literacy Week

PRESS RELEASE: F&M Bank volunteers mark Agriculture Literacy Week

For Immediate Release | March 27, 2019

Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom celebrated its annual Agriculture Literacy Week March 18-22, and volunteers from Bridgewater, Elkton and Woodstock F&M Bank locations were among participants.

John Coffman, Ashley Griffith, Ashley Lam, Ashley McClure, and Paul Eberly of F&M Bank joined volunteers from Farm Bureaus, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Farm Credit, local FFA chapters and other agriculture organizations to read books about agriculture in their local schools.

Many read the book Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen and donated copies to school libraries. The book was selected as the 2019 Virginia AITC Book of the Year.

“Reading in the classroom gave us an opportunity to share agriculture with children and help them understand why it’s so important in Virginia and right here in their community,” Eberly said.

Having members of the agriculture community in classrooms across Virginia “is a great opportunity for students and their teachers to learn about agriculture from those who know it best,” said AITC Executive Director Kelly Pious. “The number of volunteers, state agriculture officials and others who step forward each year to read to children in their communities is simply incredible.”

Virginia AITC is part of a nationwide effort to help teachers and students understand and appreciate agriculture, which is Virginia’s and the nation’s largest industry. The program provides an opportunity for children to connect to agriculture through volunteer-led activities, school grants, educator professional development and web resources at AgInTheClass.org.

The AITC program is funded by donations received through the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. For information on supporting the foundation’s educational initiatives, visit AgInTheClass.org and click on the “Donor” link.

For more information, please contact Holly Thorne, Marketing Director at (540) 217-6409, or email marketing@fmbankva.com.

 

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank serves the Shenandoah Valley with 13 full-service branches, a network of ATMs, and a wide variety of financial services including home loans through F&M Mortgage and titling services through VS Title. Both individuals and businesses find the organization’s local decision-making, and up-to-date technology provide the kind of responsive, knowledgeable, and reliable service that only a progressive community bank can. F&M Bank has grown to over $770 million in assets and boasts over 175 full and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

###

Officer Promotions at F&M Bank

PRESS RELEASE: Employee Promotions

For Immediate Release

Farmers & Merchants Bank and its Board of Directors would like to congratulate the following individuals on their Officer promotions effective March 25, 2019.

Vice President: 

Kay Dean
Jackie Burner

Assistant Vice President: 

Barbara Bartley

Bank Officer: 

Donna O’Byrne
Kelsey Dean
Sharrie Harrison
Ashley McClure
Jessica Luce

For more information, please email marketing@fmbankva.com.

 

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank serves the Shenandoah Valley with 13 full-service branches, a network of ATMs, and a wide variety of financial services including home loans through F&M Mortgage and titling services through VS Title. Both individuals and businesses find the organization’s local decision-making, and up-to-date technology provide the kind of responsive, knowledgeable, and reliable service that only a progressive community bank can. F&M Bank has grown to over $770 million in assets and boasts over 175 full and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

###

Students Spend Day Learning About Banking

by Megan Williams, Daily News Record

During March, area high school seniors will spend time shadowing bankers at F&M Bank as part of Bank Day, a statewide effort sponsored by the Virginia Bankers Association’s Education Foundation and the VBA Emerging Bank Leaders.

The purpose of the day is to expose students to the banking industry and provide an opportunity for the students to learn about banking, financial services and the role F&M Bank plays in its community.

On Thursday, a group of 10 students from area high schools learned about different jobs at F&M Bank in Timberville.

A few of the students were there because they want to go into some aspect of banking some day, while others said they wanted to learn about financial responsibility and familiarize themselves with how banks work.

Students learned about tellers, loan officers, brokers, collections agents, information technology and security, and outreach, and how all of those different areas are part of F&M Bank, which employs more than 200 people in the area.

“A lot of the students come in and don’t know a lot about what we do,” said Aaron Green, senior vice president and commercial relationship manager. “Banks all over the commonwealth are doing this. Our model is probably a little different. We want to expose them to all areas of the bank.”

Autumn Slifer, a senior at Broadway High School, said she wants to go into banking, most likely as an accountant.

“I know a lot of people in the banking field,” Slifer said.

Even so, there were a lot of areas of banking she was unfamiliar with before Thursday, especially the security and technology aspects of the industry.

“It was definitely worth the time,” said Slifer, who plans to attend Blue Ridge Community College in the fall.

Abby Olmstead, also a senior at Broadway High School, said she enjoyed getting to meet the people behind different banking jobs who you wouldn’t see on a daily basis.

“It’s really popular to vilify banking,” Olmstead said, “but they are real people.”

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272, @DNR_Learn or mwilliams@dnronline.com

Staying Safe from Tax Scams

As people seek to file their tax returns this year, cybercriminals will be busy trying to take advantage of this with a variety of scams. Citizens may learn they are victims only after having a legitimate tax return rejected because scammers already fraudulently filed taxes in their name. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there was a 60% increase in 2018 in phishing scams that tried to steal money or tax data. The IRS identified 9,557 fraudulent tax returns as of only February 24th, 2018 for the last filing season. As everyone aims to file their returns among all this fraud, the following advice will explain how tax fraud happens and provide recommendations on how to prevent it from happening to you or how to get help if you are unfortunately affected by a tax scam!

How is tax fraud perpetrated?

The most common way for cybercriminals to steal money, financial account information, passwords, or Social Security Numbers is to simply ask for them. Criminals will send phishing messages often impersonating government officials and/or IT departments. They may tell you a new copy of your tax form is available. They may include a link in a very official looking email that goes to a website that uses an official organization’s logo and appears legitimate, yet is fraudulent. If you attempt to login into the false website, or provide any personal information, the criminals will see what you type and try to use it to compromise your other accounts and file a false return in your name.

Additionally, much of your personal information can be gathered online from sources like social media or past data breaches. Criminals know this, so they gather pieces of your personal information from a variety of sources and use the information to file a fake tax refund request! If a criminal files a tax return in your name before you do, you will go through the arduous process of proving that you did not file the return and subsequently correcting the return.

Criminals also impersonate the IRS or other tax officials, demanding tax payments and threatening you with penalties if you do not make an immediate payment. This contact may occur through websites, emails, or threatening calls or text messages that seem official but are not. Sometimes, criminals request their victims to pay “penalties” via strange methods like gift cards or prepaid credit cards. It is important to remember that the IRS lets citizens know it will not do the following:

  • Initiate contact by phone, email, text messages, or social media without sending an official letter in the mail first.
  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone using a specific payment method such as a debit/credit card, a prepaid card, a gift card, or a wire transfer.
  • Threaten you with jail or lawsuits for non-payment.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Request any sensitive information online, including PIN numbers, passwords or similar information for financial accounts.

How can you protect yourself from tax fraud?

  • File your taxes as soon as you can…before the scammers do it for you!
  • Always be wary of calls, texts, emails, and websites asking for personal or tax data, or payment. Always contact organizations through their publicly-posted customer service line. If they contact you end the call and call the organization on the phone number on their website. As mentioned previously, the IRS will initiate contact on these issues by mail through the postal service.
  • Don’t click on unknown links or links from unsolicited messages. Type the verified, real website address into your web browser.
  • Don’t open attachments from unsolicited messages, as they may contain malware.
  • Only conduct financial business over trusted sites and networks. Don’t use public, guest, free, or insecure Wi-Fi networks.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and protect them. Reusing passwords between accounts is a big risk that allows a breach of one account to affect many of them!
  • Shred all unneeded or old documents containing confidential and financial information.
  • Check your financial account statements and your credit report regularly for unauthorized activity. Consider putting a security freeze on your credit file with the major credit bureaus. This will prevent identity thieves from applying for credit or creating an IRS account in your name.

If you receive a tax-related phishing or suspicious email at work, report it according to your organization’s cybersecurity policy. If you receive a similar email on your personal account, the IRS encourages you to forward the original suspicious email as an attachment to its phishing@irs.gov email account, or to call the IRS at 800-908-4490. More information about tax scams is available on the IRS website and in the IRS Dirty Dozen list of tax scams.

If you suspect you have become a victim of tax fraud or identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft website provides a step-by-step recovery plan. It also allows you to report if someone has filed a return fraudulently in your name, if your information was exposed in a major data breach, and many other types of fraud.

Content from the Community Institution and Association’s Cyber-Tip Newsletter