Tompkins VIST Bank is pleased to welcome to its board of directors Helen Eaton, CEO of Settlement Music School of Philadelphia, one of the largest non-profit community schools of the arts in the United States.
We know a lot about small businesses and have always admired their ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Those qualities have especially been evident since March, when many companies have had to modify their operations to remain viable. And as their partners, we’ve been checking in with them more frequently than usual to let them know we have services that can help them through this difficult time.
As a community bank, we’re dedicated to supporting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing loan programs, we can help businesses hold on to the resources they have through services that help prevent fraud. This is especially important now, when companies are operating with reduced staff, many of whom are working remotely. It’s a time when businesses are especially vulnerable to fraud. In fact, industry experts predict there will be an “explosion” of business and consumer fraud in the coming years.
COVID-19 has impacted all businesses, and farming – Pennsylvania’s #1 industry - is no exception. I own a farm myself, so I know how tough it is to be profitable even in good times. But the pandemic has added to the many difficulties farmers always face, especially during Spring - their most active season. That’s why I and my colleague, Lynette Gelsinger, an agricultural relationship manager also a farm owner, are in constant communication with our customers to offer support.
As your community bank, we continue to be here for you as we work hard to rebuild our communities, together. I wanted to take the time to give you a brief update about our plans for reopening our bank lobbies.
Financial decisions can feel complex and hard even under normal circumstances. If the current market volatility has you questioning what are the “right” actions you should take now, you are not alone. Here are five concrete ways for you to jumpstart your financial wellness in the wake of the novel coronavirus.
Topics: financial education
Unfortunately, now is the perfect time for scammers to take advantage of people through coronavirus scams, which I discussed in an earlier blog. But plenty of suspects are also using traditional financial frauds targeted at seniors. So, as a community banker, I encourage you to take the time to reach out to older folks you care about and remind them of the following:
Relationship Scam – Here the scammer pretends to be someone else via phone call, text, or social media. After gaining the person’s confidence, they often ask for gift cards, or funds to visit a sick relative. The scammer may send money to the Senior and then ask for them to send some of it elsewhere as well. They money they send may be stolen from another account or a counterfeit check.
Online Sales– The fraudster connects with a person online and sends them a counterfeit check for an item listed for sale. Then, claiming they sent too much money, they asked for some funds back. The customer then is on the hook for the entire amount.
Grandparent Scam – The scammer will call an older adult and confirm they have a grandchild. Then, posing as law enforcement official, they’ll ask for funds to bail the grandchild out.
Identity Theft – The options here are almost endless. The bottom line is that if your personal identifiers (social security, account information, DOB, Credit cards number, or account passwords) are used without your permission, your identity has been stolen.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam or identify theft, do the following:
- First contact your bank
- Next, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website and complete the ID theft affidavit
- File a report with your local police
- Check your credit report.
Sheltering in place may continue for the foreseeable future. So now is a good time to check in on older relatives and assure that they, as well as their funds, remain safe. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to reach out to your banker. We are here to help.
We’re all experiencing a time of tremendous stress, uncertainty and isolation. And that means it’s a good time to protect yourself from scammers who may try to use the current environment to obtain your money and sensitive information.
As community bankers, we care about our customers and want to make their lives better. So, since my expertise is financial fraud, I want to share the following tips on how to prevent being defrauded during this difficult time.