8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Protect Your Identity
Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2014, there were 12.7 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Research. F&M Bank recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2014, there were 12.7 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Research. F&M Bank recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

1. Don’t share your secrets.

Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

2. Shred sensitive papers.

Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

3. Keep an eye out for missing mail.

Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

4. Use online banking to protect yourself.

Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.

5. Monitor your credit report.

Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.

6. Protect your computer.

Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

7. Protect your mobile device.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

8. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

 

5 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Account Fraud

Protect Your Small Business from Account Fraud
Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. F&M Bank recommends following these tips to keep your small business safe.

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. F&M Bank recommends following these tips to keep your small business safe.

1.    Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

2.    Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

3.    Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.

4.    Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.

5.    Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.

For additional information, give us a call or email us; we will be happy to help. You can also visit the following websites to learn more about how to protect your small business:

•    U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Internet Security Essentials for Business
•    Federal Communications Commission: 10 Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Business
•    Better Business Bureau: Data Security Made Simpler 
•    NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association Corporate Account Takeover Resource Center

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Card Cracking: Responding to an online solicitation for “easy money”

Card Cracking
The American Bankers’ Association recently released an infographic containing tips to help bank customers avoid becoming accomplices in a growing “card cracking” scam. Card cracking happens when a fraudster reaches out to a bank customer promising quick cash. The customer provides account credentials to the scammer, who then deposits a fake check in the customer’s account. The fraudster then makes an immediate ATM withdrawal, sharing some of the funds with the customer. Meanwhile, the customer is instructed to report the card or credentials lost or stolen so that the bank will reimburse the stolen money — making the customer a criminal accomplice.

May 19, 2015

The American Bankers’ Association recently released an infographic containing tips to help bank customers avoid becoming accomplices in a growing “card cracking” scam.  Card cracking, which originates online on social media platforms and targets young consumers, is estimated to have cost banks $11.6 million in stolen funds.

Card cracking happens when a fraudster reaches out to a bank customer promising quick cash. The customer provides account credentials to the scammer, who then deposits a fake check in the customer’s account. The fraudster then makes an immediate ATM withdrawal, sharing some of the funds with the customer. Meanwhile, the customer is instructed to report the card or credentials lost or stolen so that the bank will reimburse the stolen money — making the customer a criminal accomplice.

To help customers avoid card cracking scams, bankers can advise customers to avoid online solicitations for easy money, never to share an account number or PIN, never to file a false fraud claim with a bank and to report suspicious social media posts connected to scams.

To help consumers avoid involvement in this scam, ABA is offering the following tips:

* Do not respond to online solicitations for “easy money.” Card cracking advertisements will suggest that this is a quick, safe way to earn extra cash. Keep in mind that easy money is rarely legal money.

* Never share your account and PIN number. Keep this information private at all times. By sharing it with others, you expose yourself to potential fraud.

* Do not file false fraud claims with your bank. By filing a false claim, you are a co-conspirator to fraud. Banks’ detection techniques for card cracking are constantly improving and suspicious claims will be investigated.

* Report suspicious posts linked with scams. If you notice postings that appear to be linked with a possible scam, report them to the social media site. There is usually a drop down menu near the post to allow for easy reporting.

Read more at aba.com

 

Notice of upcoming changes to personal account statement delivery

Notice of upcoming changes to delivery of F&M Bank’s personal account statements

February 11, 2015

Due to the volume of personal account statements F&M Bank processes each month, we are upgrading our statement delivery technology to provide you more efficient service. Starting in March 2015, you may experience a brief delay between statement mailings, which historically have been mailed every 30 days. Following the transition, personal account statements will be delivered to you on or about the 20th of each month. Platinum Rewards checking, MyTunes checking, and commercial checking accounts will not be affected.

If during this time, you would like your most recent statement, your nearby branch can print a copy for you free of charge or you may view your statements within NetTeller Online Banking or the F&M Bank Mobile Banking app.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your nearby branch or call our Customer Service Department at 540-896-8941.

Prefer to go paperless to have the most convenient access to your monthly Farmers & Merchants bank statements?  Sign up for e-Statements in our Online Banking Center.

Get Started with E-Statements!

7 Ways to Spread Holiday Cheer Without Stretching Your Savings

The American Bankers’ Association (ABA) offers consumer spending tips for the holiday season

December 11, 2014

The American Bankers’ Association (ABA) offers consumer spending tips for the holiday season

With consumer sentiment the highest it’s been since the recession, shoppers are expected to open their wallets a bit wider this year. Will holiday spending leave shoppers in the red?   Not if they plan wisely and use some common sense tips from the American Bankers Association.

“This is the most festive time of year, but consumers don’t have to end up with a holiday hangover when the bills arrive,” said Gov. Frank Keating, CEO of the American Bankers Association. “Simple planning can make the season more care-free and enjoyable when you know you’re in control of your budget.”

To help consumers spend within their means and enjoy a financially happy New Year, the American Bankers Association offers the following tips:

  • Develop a budget. Before you start shopping, develop a realistic budget. Consider your income, subtract your normal monthly expenses, and then add any savings to whatever cash is left over. If you need to use your credit card, think about what you can afford to pay back in January.  Don’t forget costs beyond gifts, like postage, gift wrap, decorations, greeting cards, food, travel and charitable contributions.
  • Make a list and check it twice. Keep your gift list limited to family and close friends, noting how much you want to spend on each.
  • Spend carefully. Avoid shopping while rushed or under pressure, which can lead to overspending.  Make sure to comparison shop online first, or download an “app” that lets you compare prices before you buy anything in a store.  Before you head to the cashier (or online “checkout”), make sure your purchase is within the budget you set.
  • Avoid traps. Finding a spectacular sale on something you’ve been wanting can easily throw you off course.  Stay strong and stick to your budget.  And don’t apply for store credit cards you don’t need just to get a one-time discount.
  • Use credit wisely. Limit the use of credit for holiday spending.  If you must use credit, use only one card, preferably the one with the lowest interest rate, and leave the rest at home.  Pick a date when you can pay off your holiday credit card bills, and commit to paying off the balance by that time.  Be sure to check statements for unauthorized charges and report them immediately.
  • Save your receipts. Not only will you need them for possible returns, you’ll need them to keep track of what you’ve spent and to compare with your credit card statement.  Knowing how much you spent will help you plan for next year, too.
  • Be creative. Consider simple, hand-made gifts instead of store-bought ones.  Send greeting cards or handwritten notes of appreciation for those outside of your list.  Home-baked goods, simple crafts or hand-made gift certificates for your time or talents are often less expensive and more appreciated that what you would buy at a mall or big-box store.

Banks are committed to helping consumers responsibly handle credit and save for the future.  Many offer savings plans such as F&M Bank’s Christmas Club that let you set aside money throughout the year for your holiday spending.  If you don’t have one already, make it a New Year’s resolution to open a savings account for next year!

The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation’s $14 trillion banking industry and its two million employees.  Learn more at aba.com.