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Online Dating Scams: Don’t Be Bitten by the “Love Bug”

We realize it’s not a popular topic immediately after Valentine’s Day, but there’s a growing scam trend that’s occurring throughout the entire year. According to the FBI, over $220 million was lost in 2016 to online romance scam artists. That’s a staggering statistic. Social media networks and dating websites have become increasingly popular tools for meeting and communicating. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized on this trend and often create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish relationships and eventually, extort money. Older Americans, in particular, have been targeted by this type of scam. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one is being scammed, the ABA Foundation and FTC recommend taking the following precautions: Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you. Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back. Contact Firs ...

Seven Tips to Prevent Tax ID Fraud

As the 2018 tax season gets underway, we’re urging our clients to take extra precaution when filing their return to prevent their exposure to tax fraud. “Fraudsters are using very clever tactics to get a hold of your personal information and submit false tax claims,” said Marc Ashworth CISSP, CISM, CRISC, Vice President, Information Security Manager for First Bank. “Consumers must be suspicious of any communication from the IRS through email, text, telephone or social media that requests personal information, and should keep a watchful eye out for missing W-2s and mail containing sensitive financial information.” Tax identity fraud takes place when a criminal files a false tax return using a stolen Social Security number in order to fraudulently claim the refund. Identity thieves generally file false claims early in the year and victims are unaware until they file a return and learn one has already been filed in their name. During this tax season, we’re offering th ...

Let’s Get Financially Fit in 2018!

We’re well into the new year…where are you with your resolutions? Are you staying on track or have you started? Either way, it’s never too late to assess your goals. Whether it’s fitness or finance, having a plan and sticking to it is the best way to ensure you’ll meet your goals. If your resolution is financial fitness, you’ve come to the right place. First Bank’s team of professionals are ready to help answer your questions and help you get your finances in tip-top shape. Let’s get started. Organize all of your bills (both automatic payment and paper) and arrange them by due date. It’s hard to know what we have to work with if we don’t know where our hard-earned money is going each month. If you’re not already using automatic bill pay within our online banking system, take this time to set it up. This will help to avoid any late payment fees. This is also a great time to sign up to receive e-statements if you’re still receiving paper! ...

Are you Concerned About the Equifax Breach?

As you may have heard, Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies that handle the data of consumers and businesses worldwide recently reported a data breach. At First Bank, the security of our clients’ information and accounts is paramount. In light of the Equifax security breach, we’ve reviewed our security procedures and made adjustments to continue protecting our clients’ information and account access.  Rest assured, we employ a variety of security measures to defend against such continuously-evolving threats. In addition to the actions taken by First Bank, there are actions you can take to further protect yourself. Visit the website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. This site is dedicated to the Equifax security breach, allowing you to do the following: Check online whether or not your information was impacted at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. Enroll in the credit monitoring and identity theft insurance service offered free for a y ...

Need Help Finding Extra Money to Save Each Month?

Fall is here which means the holidays aren’t too far away. Is it time to consider ways to help you save money each month? While we should all be saving all year, the change of seasons is always a good time to assess where our hard-earned money is going, while also ensuring it’s going where it should be. With a thorough review, perhaps you’ll find there are ways to shave money off of your monthly bills or expenses each month. We’d like to offer a few suggestions while you’re creating your budget for the remainder of the year: 1. Use online and mobile banking to stay on top of your accounts. Set up alerts to notify you if your balance becomes too low or a deposit is made. This will help you to better manage your money. Be sure to set up direct deposit into your savings account(s) to help you gradually build your savings over time. 2. Depending on where you live, Autumn may mean cooler temperatures than what’s typically enjoyed during the summer months. This can t ...

Diversifying Assets

As you know, diversifying assets is always a wise financial decision. It’s also important to make your savings an important part of your overall financial strategy. Whether you're putting a percentage of your income toward retirement or saving for a rainy day, it’s vital to continue building your savings with each paycheck. Whether it’s saving for college, retirement, a house, or just an unexpected car repair, saving is critical for your financial future. Starting with your first paycheck, a set percentage of your income should be direct deposited into your savings account. That way, if it isn’t part of your checking account that you normally make purchases from, you won’t miss it. In addition to traditional savings accounts, it’s also a good idea to consider a CD (Certificate of Deposit) as part of your savings strategy. CD rates stay consistent so you can have the peace-of-mind that comes from locking into a stable, longer-term rate. Once you’ve locked into a ...

Six Money Mistakes Newlyweds Should Avoid

First Bank offers tips for managing money together. The summer and early fall wedding seasons are in full swing and newlyweds will soon be managing their finances as a pair. First Bank is encouraging couples to waste no time addressing how they will handle money issues as both spouses and financial partners.   Although developing a financial plan can often take a backseat to the excitement of a wedding, it’s important to remember this is not only a marriage of hearts but also a marriage of finances. To help couples start their journey on strong financial footing, we’d like to caution consumers on these post-wedding money mistakes: Avoiding the money talk. Discussing your finances can be a bit uncomfortable for many couples, but those who tackle it head on will be better for it. Understand your partner’s financial goals and spending habits. While you may have different answers, this conversation can help you develop an approach to money management that works for bo ...

Are You Saving for the College Price Tag?

“As a parent of a graduating high school senior, I can tell you first-hand that this day comes much sooner than you anticipate or expect. I remember thinking this day would come ‘some day’ and that we had plenty of time to save for the college price tag as it was very far into the future. Now, that ‘some day in the future’ has suddenly arrived. After multiple proms, many high school sporting events, finals, and end-of-the high school career activities, I began seriously contemplating the college price tag that’s now right upon us. Although I had opened a college savings account for our son as a toddler, and encouraged him to excel at school, organizations, and sports with high hopes of potential scholarships, I can tell you it was no match for the costs we’re faced with for the next four years. Although we’re a double-income family, we still have other children and other expenses. The question rings in my mind, as I’m sure it does many families, “How ...

Ways to Pay for College: Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Though rising higher education costs don’t appear to be letting up any time soon, grants, scholarships and loans can all help make college more affordable—or even free. Free Money Applying for grants and scholarships should be prioritized above applying for loans, since these funding options offer “free money,” while loans have to be paid back. Grants In most cases, grants are distributed by the government and other nonprofit organizations. Eligibility and amount are usually determined according to the distributor’s assessment of an applicant’s financial need. There are several well-known federal grants available to students: Federal Pell Grant –Pell Grants are awarded based on your level of financial need, status as a full- or part-time student and the cost of your school’s attendance. Applicants are automatically considered for Pell Grants when they submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For the 2016-2017 school year, the ...

Six Financial Traps New College Graduates Should Avoid

More than 70 percent of college graduates began their career owing more than $37,000 in student loans in 2016. Considering this debt load and other living expenses, young adults are delaying major life events like getting married or buying a home. It’s critical for new college graduates to focus on their financial future as they receive their diploma, says the American Bankers Association. ABA has highlighted six traps new college graduates should avoid to position themselves for financial success as they transition from the dorm room to the office.  “Student loans, housing costs and plenty of other living expenses come fast and furious after graduation, so it’s extremely important to start off on the right track with positive financial habits,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “We can’t stress enough how vital it is to plan for the future.” New college graduates should avoid the following six financial traps: No ...

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Disclosure

All First Bank blog information and content is strictly informational. It is not intended to be specific investment, tax, or legal advice. If you need detailed financial, investment, or tax advice, please contact a First Bank qualified professional. Please note, First Bank occasionally shares third-party content we find to be relevant and helpful to our audiences.