Safeguarding Your Finances: Protecting Yourself from Holiday Season Scams and Frauds

As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to be aware of the increased risk of frauds and scams that banks often witness during this time. Unfortunately, cybercriminals take advantage of the festive spirit and heightened online shopping activity to target unsuspecting individuals. F&M Bank offers an array of security features and tips to help you protect your identity and accounts.  In this blog post, we will explore the common scams and frauds that occur during the holiday season and provide you with practical tips to protect your personal and financial information.

safe shopping transaction alerts

  1. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts

Phishing emails and text messages are a common method used by fraudsters to trick people into revealing sensitive information. Be cautious of unexpected emails or messages asking for personal details, login credentials, or credit card information. Remember, reputable organizations will never ask for such information via email or text.

  1. Shop on Secure Websites:

Before making any online purchase, ensure that the website is secure. Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and the “s” – When paying online, check the URL to ensure it begins with “https://”. The “s” at the end indicates a secure connection. Additionally, check that the name of the web page does not contain spelling errors or strange characters.  Avoid making transactions on unsecured or suspicious websites, as they may be designed to steal your information.

  1. Use Strong and Unique Passwords:

Protect your accounts by using strong, unique passwords for each online platform you use. Avoid using easily guessable passwords or reusing them across multiple websites. Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords.

  1. Stay Updated on Security Measures:

Familiarize yourself with the security features provided by your bank and payment providers. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Regularly review your account statements and transaction history for any suspicious activity.

  1. Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Financial Transactions:

Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, making it easier for hackers to intercept your data. Refrain from conducting any financial transactions or accessing sensitive information while connected to public networks. Instead, use a trusted and secure network, such as your home Wi-Fi or a personal hotspot.

  1. Be Cautious of Gift Card Scams:

During the holiday season, gift cards are a popular choice for presents. However, be cautious when purchasing or receiving gift cards from unofficial sources. Scammers may tamper with the cards, steal their codes, or sell counterfeit cards. Always buy gift cards from reputable retailers.

  1. Monitor Your Accounts:

Regularly monitor your bank and credit card accounts for any unauthorized transactions. Be sure to install F&M Mobile on your mobile device to monitor your accounts and receive alerts while on the go!

  • Set up transaction alerts to receive notifications whenever a transaction is made. Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately. Purchase alerts are customizable, can be received via email or text, and can be used to confirm legitimate purchases or notify you of suspicious activity. F&M Bank allows you to set transaction and balance alerts within F&M Mobile and Online Banking to stay on top of unexpected transactions on your account.

safe urls safe shopping

The Visa Payment Fraud Disruption also recommends that all consumers consider these safeguards while shopping this holiday season:

  • Do not click on hyperlinks found in emails or text messages from unknown or suspicious sources.
  • Maintain device and software security by keeping software patched and up-to-date.
  • Ensure Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is implemented on all sensitive log in environments.
    • F&M Mobile offers facial and fingerprint recognition on iOS and Android devices.  Enabling this feature on your device further protects your account from being accessed by an untrusted source if your device is misplaced or stolen.
    • With F&M Bank’s Online Banking can detect when you are signing into your account from a new device or browser.  Attempts to access your account from a new or unfamiliar device prompts our system to verify your identity with multifactor authentication and security questions you established at account opening. All information within our Online Banking uses the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol for transferring data. SSL is a cryptosystem that creates a secure environment for the information being transferred between your browser and F&M Bank.
  • Use cybersecurity best practices, including enabling anti-phishing protection on your web browser, adding multi-factor authentication to account log ins, using unique, strong passwords for different accounts, not clicking on unsolicited links, and remain vigilant of the URLs you are visiting.
  • Contact your bank directly by using the phone number or website listed on the back of your card, rather than following guidance from an email, phone call, or text message you received.
  • Never provide a one-time-passcode to a caller, or via email or SMS text message, and do not install Remote Access software unless instructed by a trusted system support provider.
  • Check shipping details on accounts. Be aware of details in the 2nd or 3rd lines of the shipping addresses that might be used to reroute packages.
  • Review bills, bank statements, and credit reports to identify anomalies that could indicate fraud, identity theft, or if someone else has access to your account. Be sure to install F&M Mobile on your mobile device to monitor your accounts and receive alerts while on the go!
  • Update system and application software – Install the latest software on your computer, tablet, or phone.
  • Use tokens when possible. A token can be viewed as a “secret code” that contains no customer or sensitive data, which can be used to transmit a payment. Use of a token for a purchase, or tokenization, is the digital equivalent of using a card’s chip for in-person purchase. The value of the token changes with each transaction, making them more resistant to use by fraudsters.
  • Take advantage of identity and credit monitoring services. These services may be provided by your bank/credit union, credit card provider, employer, or insurance company.
  • Watch for scam indicators in the method of payment being requested: scammers often ask for payment in the form of wire transfers or other money transfers, reloadable or prepaid gift cards, cryptocurrency, or sending cash, since these formats are more difficult to trace.
  • If you suspect a scam, stop and talk to someone you trust about the situation and seek guidance from the organization’s official website before acting on the suspected scammer’s request. Call your local F&M Bank location when you suspect fraud. You can also lock your debit card, and reorder a new one at any time with F&M Mobile and Online Banking.
  • Use caution when posting on social media. Be aware that sharing sensitive personal information can provide criminals with clues to answer your security questions or craft believable, targeted scam messages.

Consumers aren’t the only targets during the holiday season.  Businesses also see an increase in fraud attempts and F&M Bank provides a robust digital suite to help our local businesses safeguard their funds.  Learn more about our business banking recourses here.

While the holiday season is a time of joy and giving, it’s crucial to remain vigilant against frauds and scams. By following these tips, you can protect yourself from falling victim to cybercriminals and safeguard your personal and financial information. Remember, staying informed and adopting safe online practices will make your holiday shopping experience more secure and enjoyable.

F&M BANK: DRIVING DIGITAL WHILE STAYING PERSONAL

F&M Bank’s Chief Experience Officer, Charles Driest, talks about striking the right balance between digital innovation and a personal customer approach

 

Charles Driest is the newly-appointed Chief Experience Officer at Farmers & Merchants (F&M) Bank. A graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, and later St. John’s University in New York, he began his banking career shortly after returning to Virginia from New York in 2007. 

Before this, Driest’s early career saw him employed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (MGA), and, later, at the American think-tank, Brookings Institution. It was here he was struck with inspiration to retrain in finance by a former manager, Roberta Cohen. 

Driest says: “She said if I didn’t go back to school she would fire me. This was probably my biggest inspiration. It amazes me that her voice is always in the back of my head, and when she told me that, it was about two decades ago.”

fintech magazine interview

F&M Banks’s new Chief Experience Officer hasn’t exactly been short of inspiration, either: “I’ve been really lucky because I’ve had a lot of influencers in my career, with bosses and managers who have pushed me to take on new risks that perhaps I didn’t feel I was ready for, but gave me a great opportunity to learn.”

Beginning his banking career after reeducating in New York and returning to Virginia, Driest was again inspired to follow a digital path in his career. “One of the first CEOs I worked for taught me a valuable lesson; it’s how I got into the digital side of the banking business.

“At the time we didn’t have a good grasp of our digital spending at the organisation. My CEO asked me to break down the numbers to explain to executive management where the money was going. So I sifted through 12 months of invoices and began asking operational questions: where’s our money going? How do we better manage this? 

“This is when I found out the business had these operational holes, while we didn’t have the right insights into the capabilities available to us that we were using. So my CEO said: ‘You found the problems, go fix them’. This is what got me into digital banking, furthering my career by putting me into a situation I wouldn’t necessarily have been comfortable in initially.”

This valuable experience in digital banking saw Driest become F&M Bank’s Director of Digital Banking sometime after, a role he had for “14 to 15 months” before being promoted to F&M Bank’s Chief Experience Officer. 

Despite his brief time in the role so far, Driest says: “Taking on three new reports has been a lot of fun. I really enjoy the personnel management aspect of things. I like watching the development of people. From my perspective, I really like to see the process of a team getting onto one page, because it has a powerful multiplying effect. The pace of work speeds up when everybody is in sync.”

Achieving synchronisation for the now is key to driving growth in the future, according to Driest, who has deep excitement for the future of banking as the proliferation of fintechs continues, believing community banking will endure despite the growth of technology.

He concludes: “I’ve seen some of the biggest developments in banking over the years, and I feel even with all the fintechs out there, I think ultimately, community banking will survive. If there’s one thing banks are very good with, it’s about integrating technology that is focused on the customer. 

“For anyone that talks about the speed of fintech growth, fundamentally, it still relies on people, and people don’t change habits that quickly. The arc of change and the pace of change will always be constrained by people at the end of the day. So, as long as you’re making good decisions and always looking ahead by two to three years at a time – it doesn’t matter what type of bank you are – you’ll probably end up in a good place.”

F&M Bank has been featured in the July issue of FinTech Magazine

In this exclusive interview, Charles Driest, Chief Experience Officer, discussed striking the right balance between digital innovation and a personal customer approach.

 “The future is technology and people, that’s what is going to win the day – not one or the other”

Driest fintech interview

   

BizClik’s FinTech portfolio connects banking, financial services, payments, technology & consulting brands and their most senior executives with the latest FinTech trends, industry insight, and influential FinTech, InsurTech & Crypto projects as the world embraces CX, Business Transformation and Digital Ecosystems. FinTech Magazine and its entire portfolio is now an established and trusted voice on all things FinTech, engaging with a highly targeted audience of 113,000 global executives. We provide key industry players with the perfect platform to showcase their brands, develop content syndication plans, webinars, white papers, demand generation as well as a global set of events (In-Person & Virtual).

 

BizClik is a UK-based media company with a global portfolio of leading industry, business and lifestyle digital communities. 

 

BizClik’s portfolio includes Technology & AI, Finance & Insurance, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Energy & Mining, Construction, Healthcare, Mobile & Data Centres and EV. For further information, please visit https://www.bizclikmedia.com/

You can read the report in the latest issue of FinTech Magazine by clicking HERE

 

About F&M Bank
F&M Bank Corp. (OTCQX: FMBM) proudly remains the only publicly traded organization based in Rockingham County, VA, and since 1908, has served the Shenandoah Valley through its banking subsidiary F&M Bank, with full-service branches and a wide variety of financial services, including home loans through F&M Mortgage, and real estate settlement services and title insurance through VSTitle. 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 $1 billion in assets with more than 175 full- and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances, sound investments, and excellent customer service have made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

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F&M Bank Expands Longtime Partnership with Jack Henry

F&M Bank leverages Jack Henry security, operational efficiencies and open banking infrastructure to support growing retail and commercial accounts

Press Release Courtesy of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

MONETT, Mo.March 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Jack Henry™ (Nasdaq: JKHY) announced today that it is expanding its existing partnership with longtime client Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M Bank), a $1.25-billion asset community bank based in Virginia. While larger financial institutions have left the area, F&M Bank is leveraging Jack Henry’s modern technology architecture to serve the market in need with scale and efficiency.

The bank is committed to providing the communities it serves with innovative, convenient and reliable retail and commercial services. Jack Henry’s Banno Business will help the bank expand its business and agricultural accounts to larger markets. In addition, the bank will be deploying treasury management services to meet the most advanced business needs.

Founded in 1908, F&M Bank has been providing personalized banking services and financial solutions to individuals and businesses across Virginia for more than a century. The bank has built a reputation for its commitment to customer service, community involvement, and agricultural lending in the Shenandoah Valley area. F&M Bank has invested in the fintech ecosystem by joining BankTech Ventures, and furthering its dedication with Jack Henry’s open infrastructure will support the evolving needs of its community by providing access to a wider range of financial services.

“F&M Bank has met the banking needs of our communities for 115 years with exceptional customer service and innovative products and solutions,” said Mark Hanna, Chief Executive Officer & President of F&M Bank. “Jack Henry understands that it is community banks like F&M Bank that power Main Street America. We share a vision for the future where technology and people will equip us to grow and scale. We have partnered with them to drive the continual improvement of features, functionalities, and security that will help ensure that our accountholders have faster and better modern services. Together, we are positioned to continue forward while maintaining a focus on our customers who make it all possible.”

Stacey Zengel, senior vice president of Jack Henry and president of Bank Solutions, said, “Jack Henry is committed to ensuring that financial institutions like F&M Bank will continue to be pillars of innovation and financial opportunity for the communities they serve. The bank has been a part of financial lives in the Shenandoah Valley for generations, and with modern, user-friendly, scalable services, they will be able to reach many more generations to come.”

About Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.®

Jack Henry™ (Nasdaq: JKHY) is a well-rounded financial technology company that strengthens connections between financial institutions and the people and businesses they serve. We are an S&P 500 company that prioritizes openness, collaboration, and user centricity – offering banks and credit unions a vibrant ecosystem of internally developed modern capabilities as well as the ability to integrate with leading fintechs. For more than 46 years, Jack Henry has provided technology solutions to enable clients to innovate faster, strategically differentiate, and successfully compete while serving the evolving needs of their accountholders. We empower approximately 8,000 clients with people-inspired innovation, personal service, and insight-driven solutions that help reduce the barriers to financial health. Additional information is available at www.jackhenry.com.

SOURCE Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

F&M Bank ATM Features

Your F&M Bank branches now offer full-service ATMs!

We’ve upgraded our hardware and technology to offer you a better customer experience with features that include:

  • Making a cash or check deposit
  • Selecting currency withdrawals of $10, $20, and $50 denominations
  • Changing your PIN
  • Selecting Spanish as your preferred language experience

In the near future, we will roll out additional functionality with options like emailing yourself a receipt, making loan payments, and transferring funds.

Find a Bank Branch with Full-Service ATM Near You!

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:  Do the ATMs accept check deposits?

A:  Yes

Q:  Will the ATMs accept cash deposits?

A:  Yes

Q:  Will the ATMs accept deposits after the branch has closed?

A:  Yes, the team that will work to install the machines needs to understand all the operational pieces needed in order to support this capability – we are working to identify the cutoff time and will update you when a decision has been made.

Q: What else will the ATMs do?

A: Initially, we will look to get these machines installed and running smoothly – next year we will expand their capabilities by connecting them into our Banking Core.

  • This will allow for things like:
  • Deposits to any account the customer has access to
  • Loan Payments (to possibly include Dealer payments)
  • Email Receipts
  • Mini Statements
  • and more…

Q:  What about the ATMs that aren’t at a branch?

A:   We are determining the next phases once we complete the capabilities of F&M Bank Branch ATMs and will share further updates as they develop.

Check back for updates – last updated 03/01/2023

F&M Bank – Farmers & Merchants Bank Announce Investment in BankTech Ventures Fund

Timberville, VA. August 2, 2022 – F&M Bank, also known as Farmers & Merchants Bank, announced today that it has committed to be an investor in BankTech Ventures, LP (“BTV” or the “Fund”), a strategic investment fund with the mission to support community banks through investment and education around banking technology. With general partners from The Venture Center, the Independent Community Bankers of America (“ICBA”), Hovde Group and two leading community banks, Coastal Community Bank and Sunwest Bank, BankTech Ventures partners with premier community banks to identify emerging technologies for investment and use by them.

 

Supported and endorsed by the ICBA and The Venture Center, which was named Finovate’s 2020 Best Accelerator of the Year, BankTech Ventures is building an ecosystem that pairs community banks with emerging technology companies that can serve banks’ immediate needs whether it be regulatory, customer acquisition, process improvement, or other areas of focus. The Fund ultimately aims to provide its bank investors with the opportunity to obtain significant research & development “spend” at a much lower cost than if undertaken in-house, as well as strong returns from the underlying company investments. With a limited partner base of over 100 community banks across the US, the strategic value of the fund’s ecosystem for both bank-focused startups and community banks is unprecedented.

 

“Through our affiliation with the ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator program, F&M Bank has initiated partnerships with several of the past and current emerging financial technology companies,” said Mark Hanna, President & CEO of F&M Bank.  “We have been extremely impressed with the management of these companies and the services they provide which will enable F&M to better serve our clients and our communities.  Expanding our commitment to innovation in the form of a financial investment in BankTech Ventures was the next logical step in aligning our mutual interests with these emerging businesses.”

 

“We are thrilled to welcome F&M Bank to BankTech Ventures,” said Carey Ransom, Managing Director of BankTech Ventures. “From our first conversation with them, their commitment to innovation was clear, and they have already been a valuable participant in our ecosystem – collaborating with our team, other banks, and the startup companies with bank-enabling solutions. We look forward to the continued partnership.”

 

BankTech Ventures, LP (www.banktechventures.com) has raised over $100M for its first fund and has over 100 initial limited partners, including F&M Bank. The fund has already made 6 investment and continues to evaluate several investment opportunities. In addition to Ransom, the fund’s other general partners are Eric Sprink, CEO of Coastal Community Bank; Carson Lappetito, President of Sunwest Bank; Steve Hovde, Chairman & CEO of Hovde Group; Charles Potts, Chief Innovation Officer, ICBA; and Wayne Miller, Executive Director, The Venture Center.

 

Mark Hanna, F&M Bank’s President & CEO, is available for additional comment. Please call (540) 896-1743 or contact Jacob Mowry at jmowry@fmbankva.com

 

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank Corp. (OTCQX: FMBM) proudly remains the only publicly traded organization based in Rockingham County, VA, and since 1908, has served the Shenandoah Valley through its banking subsidiary F&M Bank, with full-service branches and a wide variety of financial services, including home loans through F&M Mortgage, and real estate settlement services and title insurance through VSTitle. 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 $1 billion in assets with more than 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.

 

About BankTech Ventures, LP.

Established in 2021, BankTech Ventures, LP is the first venture fund created for and by key leaders in community banking, bank technology and fintech. BTV serves the community banking ecosystem through strategic investments, education and collaboration with its limited partners and ICBA members by delivering a de-risked and/or fully vetted network of leading and emerging bank technology companies to enhance a community bank’s value, as well as aim for strong returns from the underlying investments in these companies. Learn more at www.banktechventures.com.

How to Open a New Account Online

ONLINE ACCOUNT OPENING 

Open a browser and navigate to https://www.fmbankva.com/

If you are an F&M Bank customer with an online banking user ID and password, enter that information at the top right to login.

If you need to enroll in online and mobile banking, choose Enroll in Online Banking directly beneath the login portal.

Step 1 to enroll in online banking from a computer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter your User ID and password to login to online banking and open your new account.

Setup Online Banking step 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note, for security purpose, two-factor authentication is required. A temporary passcode by text message, phone call, or by Authy app if previously installed.

Setup Online Banking step 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click once on the three dotted button at top right (…)

Choose Add an account and on the next screen, click on Open an Account.

 

Step 4 to open a new account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do not have an F&M Bank account, choose New Account to get started.

If you are an F&M Bank customer, choose Existing Customer to get started.

Apply Today New Account Instructions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note: After 15 minutes of inactivity, the process will time out for your security.

 

On the next screen, click on Personal.

Type of Account_Personal option

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, you will choose your preferred banking location along with the account you would like to open: Checking, Savings, Money Market or CD. You are only a few steps away from your new account!

Getting Started Open an Account step 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to click the + sign to choose your debit card option.

 

Getting started open an account step 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the next screens you will enter your personal information, contact details, joint account, and beneficiary status, and upload a photo of your Driver’s License or State Issued Photo ID. If you are a current F&M Bank customer, some of the information will auto-fill for your convenience.

Getting Started Open an Account step 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you complete the steps listed above, you will be prompted to review disclosures, and electronically sign to approve your new account.

Getting Started Open an Account step 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within two business days, you will receive a confirmation email from F&M Bank. If no action is taken, you will receive a reminder email after ten days.

Congratulations on your new F&M Bank account! We value your business!

 

 

How to Make a Loan Payment with Online and Mobile Banking

Making your personal or auto loan payment is simple and easy with online and mobile banking from F&M Bank. If you have previously enrolled in online banking, please skip to Step 2. If you are not enrolled in online banking, please follow Step 1 to enroll.

STEP 1 – ON YOUR COMPUTER

Online Banking

Open a web browser and type accounts.fmbankva.com/enroll and enter your:

    • Social Security number
    • Account number
    • Email address
    • Phone number

STEP 1 – ON YOUR PHONE

Mobile Banking

    • Open the camera app on your phone;
    • Open your phone camera app and place over QR code below;
    • Open the link that appears on your screen;
    • Download the F&M Mobile Banking App and click “Enroll”

QR Code for quick access to enroll in F&M Bank's online banking

 

 

 

 

 

 

QR code not working for you? No problem! Simply open the App Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android and search for “F&M Mobile – VA” (image shown below) to enroll.

 Image of F&M Bank logo

 

 

 

 

 

To make your loan payment, follow these simple steps!

STEP 2: Under “Select account type,” click on “Personal”

STEP 3: Enter your Loan Account Number

STEP 4: Enter your Social Security Number and Date of Birth

STEP 5: Click “Continue” and follow the simple instructions

Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll be able to schedule your payment by clicking on “Loan Information” and then selecting “Pay from another bank.”

Check out instructions for how to make your loan payment on the F&M Bank blog:
fmbankva.com/how-to-make-a-loan-payment-online

Set up payments within F&M Online and Mobile Banking.

If you are currently enrolled in F&M Online & Mobile Banking, you can pay your loan by clicking on “Loan” and select “Pay from Another Bank” to setup your external account.

 

Mobile Payment App Scam Alert

Mobile payment apps provide an extremely convenient way to quickly transfer cash to family or friends. Here at F&M Bank, we have noticed a recent uptick in mobile payment scams, and we wanted to provide a quick reminder on best practices when sending money electronically.

As a quick refresher, a mobile payment app, like Cash App or Venmo, essentially acts as an intermediary between two bank accounts. Once the app is downloaded, a user must link a debit card, credit card or checking account to begin transferring funds. Many financial institutions also offer secure mobile payment solutions through their app or online banking.

Scam Alert

Currently, scammers are using the coronavirus and the economic hardship it has created to their advantage. Across social media platforms, scammers are preying on users with messages that they have either won a cash giveaway, or the scammer is willing to send cash to those in need. The only catch? A small cash payment must first be sent as a deposit.

Here’s an example. Betty is scrolling through Twitter when she receives a direct message. Earlier in the day, Betty retweeted an offer to be entered to win a legitimate contest. The scammer noticed. He sends Betty a message, mentions he wants to help anyone in need, and offers to send a cash payment of $150. But, to complete the transaction, the scammer first needs $15 sent his way as a deposit. He insists there is a legitimate reason for the deposit, of course. It triggers the transaction and allows the $150 payment to be immediately sent. Betty send $15, the money is deposited into the scammer’s account, the scammer blocks Betty on the platform, and she never hears from him again.

While this scenario might not look identical in every situation, a few things stick out. These are common mobile payment scam warning signs!

  • A complete stranger is involved in the transaction.
  • A stipulation is required to receive the cash.
  • A legitimate reason for the stipulation is communicated, and it typically sounds rational.
  • A feeling of rush or “act now” is involved. The scammer jumps right to the chase.

Niki Park, BSA Specialist at F&M Bank, offers the following advice: “If someone ever requests money up front for a larger payout, or sends you money and requests part of it back, it’s almost always a scam. Don’t be afraid to consult with your local bank if you think something seems too good to be true, because it usually is.”

Tips to Avoid Scams

While any scam can be scary, the FTC says, “Don’t be afraid to use mobile payment apps — just empower yourself against scammers who also use them.” Here are some tips:

  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know.
  • If you get a cash request from someone you do recognize, call or contact them using a number you know to be right. Confirm they made the request before you send money – even if you’ve sent them money through the app before.
  • When you use an app for the first time, it will usually ask permission to access information on your device – like your contacts – to make payments easier. If you’re not comfortable with that, deny access or uninstall the app.
  • Read your bank statements closely and regularly check your online banking register. Ask the app company and your bank to reverse any transactions you didn’t authorize.
  • Find out more about mobile payments and securing your mobile device. The FTC is a great resource, as well as your local bank.

Support

F&M Bank is here to help you fight fraudulent activity and monitor scams. If you ever have a question regarding the legitimacy of a mobile app request for cash, please reach out to a customer service representative at your local branch. In potential scam situations, it is always best to take extra precautions to guard your finances.

Is Cash Still King? Digital Payment Services Are Increasing in Popularity

Is cash still king? If you’re like many Americans, the answer to that question is probably no.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, roughly 3 in 10 Americans say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week. For Americans who report that all, or almost all purchases are made using cash, the numbers are declining – from 24% in 2015 to 18% in 2019.

Debit, credit, and digital payment options have created a level of consumer comfort that has completely transformed the way transactions are conducted. Instead of relying on cash or checks, many consumers are turning to various forms of digital payment services.

At F&M Bank, we recommend customers take advantage of our Person-to-Person Payment money transfer app, or as we call it, P2P.

What is P2P?  

P2P is a mobile banking funds transfer app that lets you send money securely through your personal computer or phone. Simply type in the email address or phone number of the person you need to pay and send up to $500.00, for free! For the utmost in convenience, the recipient can bank with any financial institution. Here’s an example of how it works:

Your coworker is selling Girl Scout cookies for her daughter, and today is the deadline to order. You’ve resisted ordering for two weeks, but it’s been a stressful day and your salad from lunch didn’t do the trick. You reach into your wallet only to realize you have no cash, you never carry your checkbook, and the nearest ATM is a 15-minute drive from the office.

Luckily, you remember F&M Bank offers the P2P service. Instead of spending the afternoon sad and hungry, you visit the P2P website (or, mobile banking customers may visit the F&M Bank app), send payment and you’re now in Thin Mint heaven.

This scenario might be a little dramatized, but it truly is a real-life example of how one customer chose to use the app. P2P offers a convenient, alternative method for sending cash digitally in a variety of different situations. The service offers a timely, simple and secure way to pay.

It’s Timely

Mailing a check or cash can take days to reach your payee. Why wait that long? P2P payments are sent immediately, and if the payee selects to accept payment using their debit card number, payment is instantaneous! A payee may also choose to accept a payment using their deposit account number, but the transfer could take up to three days to process using ACH. The debit card method is preferred if you’re looking for a quick transfer!

One customer says, “I send my daughter and grandchildren money from time to time and use P2P. The money gets there much faster than sending a check! I love it and use it quite often.”

It’s Simple

P2P makes life easy. To send a payment, you only need to enter:

  • Your Name
  • Your Email Address
  • Your Recipient’s Email Address or Phone Number
  • Your F&M Bank Debit Card Number

F&M Bank wanted to make sending cash easy as easy as possible. We know geographical barriers can make a cash transfer difficult. Whether your family or friends live in a different town, or state, P2P offers a convenient solution.

A P2P user says, “My college friends and I get together each year for a reunion. We rent an Airbnb for a weekend and all split the rental fee. Since we’re all spread out across the state of Virginia and bank with different institutions, P2P is an easy and secure way for me to pay back a friend who banks somewhere else.”

Another user states, “I’ve used P2P to pay back my siblings who live out of state for our shared Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts!”

It’s Secure

The greatest benefit of P2P is the peace of mind it can provide users. Sending a check or cash through the mail can be risky as mail fraud is a real concern. Also, while there are many digital transfer options available for download on your app store, your local bank can provide a higher level of security.

We ensure all our web-based banking services meet or exceed industry security guidelines. Our mobile PIN pad is encrypted so it never travels across payment channels. Entering your PIN with your mouse or by touch ensures your account is protected even if your computer is infected with viruses or malware.

Customers should still be very vigilant when initiating a P2P transfer. Although security measures are in place, you should always double check to ensure the recipient’s information you are entering is correct.

Kelsey Dean, Marketing Specialist at F&M Bank, states, “Treat P2P just like a cash transfer. Would you give $50 to someone you really didn’t know on a personal level? It’s important to only send P2P payments to family or friends that you trust. Also, double check the amount you are sending. It’s easy to mistype or accidentally add an extra number on a phone screen.”

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re interested in using our P2P platform, visit our website or login to your F&M Bank Mobile Banking account. If you have any questions at all regarding P2P or our digital banking suite of products, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Did you know you can also send payments or pay bills with iPay in online banking? To use iPay you just need an F&M bank user ID and password but anyone can send funds using P2P!