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Recent Scam: Mystery Shopper

It's been brought to our attention lately there is another Mystery Shopper scam circling the area which leads the unsuspecting consumer to believe they're chosen as a Mystery Shopper to spend money at a local Walmart store.  Please view the below letter sent to a "Mystery Shopper" along with a $2,420 check encouraging him/her to first deposit the check into their bank account then purchase 5 gift cards at Walmart totaling $2,000 and "deduct your assignment pay of $400."  This is a scam.  Please notify us immediately if you have received a similar letter.

FDIC Consumer News

FDIC Consumer News provides quarterly news letters about money tips, retirement planning, financial scams and fraud scams.  Visit  FDIC Consumer News for its Special Anniversary Edition "25 Years of Tips You Can Bank On" in its Summer 2018 edition.  

Card Skimming at ATMs & Gas Pump

Skimmers are illegal card readers inserted in the card slots at ATMs or Gas Pumps by thieves to steal the data off credit or debit card's magnetic strip without you knowing.  The data stolen is used to buy things online or its sold to others for other fraudulent uses.  Some helpful tips to identify skimmers. 
  • Try to wiggle the card reader before inserting your card. It should not be able to be pulled out.
  • Look for any small holes around the key pad area that could possibly have a camera to capture your PIN
  • Run debit cards at gas pumps as credit, this way your PIN is safe and money is not deducted from your account immediately. 
  • Monitor your account regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.

Fake Checks: How to Spot Them

It's your lucky day!  You just won a foreign lottery!  The letter says so.  And, the cashier's check to cover the taxes and fees is included.  All you have to do to get your winnings is deposit the check and wire the money to the sender to pay the taxes and fees.  You're guaranteed that when they get your payment, you'll get your prize.
There's just one catch: THIS IS A SCAM.  The check is no good, even though it appears to be a legitimate cashier's check.  The lottery angle is a trick to get you to wire money to someone you don't know. If you were to deposit the check and wire the money, your bank would soon learn that the check was fake.  And, you're out the money because the money you wired can't be retrieved, and you're responsible for the checks you deposit - even though you don't know they're fake.  This is just one example of a counterfeit check scam that could leave you scratching your head.
Read More from the Federal Trade Commission

How to Talk to Your Kids About Money

How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grand kids about money? If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.

Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

At the Bank. When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Ask the Branch Manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works.

On Payday. Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.

At the Grocery Store. It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands.

Chores and Allowances. Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.

Paying Bills. Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.

Using Credit Cards. Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit and credit cards.

Browsing the Internet. While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information. Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.

Planning a Vacation. Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.

Always encourage your children to ask questions about money. If you don’t know the answer, research it together or ask us!

CONSUMER ALERTS                             Young lady hugging an older lady in wheelchair     Senior Citizen Protection Sources & Tools

Consumer Scam Alert:

Do Not Use Federal Reserve Routing Account Numbers to Pay Bills, You Could Face Late Fees, Other Charges

Recently, the Federal Reserve Banks have received a number of unauthorized transactions in which consumers have tried to use the Fed's routing numbers and their Social Security numbers to pay their bills.

It is important for consumers to know that when making online or e-check bill payments, they cannot use Federal Reserve routing numbers. Federal Reserve routing numbers are used for sorting and processing payments between banks. Any video, text, email, phone call, flyer, or website that describes how to pay bills using a Federal Reserve Bank routing number or using an account at the Federal Reserve Bank is a scam. 

The Federal Reserve provides banking services only for banks. Individuals do not have accounts at the Federal Reserve. 

The bill payments being attempted using the Fed's routing numbers are being rejected and returned unpaid. Consumers who have attempted to use the Fed's routing numbers to pay their bills may be subject to penalty fees from the company they were attempting to pay.

8 Ways to Stop an Identity Thief

More than 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity fraud last year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. The American Bankers Association is offering eight tips to help consumers protect their information and avoid becoming a victim.

“Identity fraud continues to be a major problem for consumers,” said Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cyber security policy. “Fortunately, there are ways consumers can protect themselves, like being cautious about what information they share and who they share it with, especially online.”

ABA suggests following these eight tips:

  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 and 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 Annual Credit Report
  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 ABB immediately.


Preparing Your Finances for a Flood, Fire or Other Disaster

Without warning, a flood, fire or other disaster could leave you with a severely damaged home, destroyed belongings and barriers to managing your finances. Many people think of disaster preparedness as having a stockpile of water, canned food, and flashlights, but people also need access to cash and financial services. That's why it is important to include financial preparedness in your disaster plans. [Click the button below to read more.]

Preparing Your Finances for a Flood, Fire or Other Disaster

Cyber Security Awareness

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These days, we are always connected - either via mobile phone, computer or tablet. While these devices enable us to instantly connect with family and friends, make purchases, and post photos, this convenience can come at a high price. Many of the apps you use or sites you visit require you to provide personal information including your name, email address and possibly a credit card number. This puts you at an increased risk of having your information compromised by cyber criminals. Anderson Brothers Bank strongly encourages you to visit the Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign at for cyber tips and resources.

Staying Protected While Always Connected Protect Your Data Against Ransomware