Protect Yourself and Loved Ones from Emergency Related Scams

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In wake of the recent weather related tragedies within our communities, we would like to share some information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on how to protect you and your loved ones from emergency related scams and how to prepare for future weather emergencies.

Click Here to visit the FTC's article.

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World Elderly Abuse Day- FFBT Giving Some Advice

Elder Abuse

14 Tips for Stopping Elder Financial Abuse in its Tracks

Every year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud.  Studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion each year. First Farmers Bank & Trust urges older customers and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alert to the common signs of financial abuse.

Fraudsters often prey on seniors experiencing cognitive decline, limited
mobility and other disabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others for help.  Appointing someone you know and trust to handle your financial matters aids tremendously in the fight against these crimes.

First Farmers is offering the following tips:

  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
  • Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  • Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
  • Never rush into a financial decision.  Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
  • Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  • Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  • You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.

If you believe you are a victim of financial abuse, be sure to:

  • Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
  • Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.

 

Don’t Fall Victim to the Grandparent Scam

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According to the Federal Trade Commission, between 2012 and 2014, consumers reported more than $42 million in losses from scams involving the impersonation of family members and friends. This scam, commonly known as the “grandparent scam,” is a form of financial abuse that deliberately targets older Americans.

To commit this crime, fraudsters call claiming to be a family member in serious trouble and in need of money immediately. The scammer might say he’s stranded or has been mugged, and call in the middle of the night to add to the urgency and confusion. Once the money is wired, the victim later finds out that it wasn’t their grandchild they were helping, it was a criminal.

  • Confirm the caller. Fraudsters are using social networking sites to gain the personal information of friends and relatives to carry out their crimes. Verify the caller by calling them back on a known number or consult a trusted family member before acting on any request.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Fraudsters want to execute their crimes quickly. In this type of scam, they count on fear and your concern for your loved one to make you act before you think. The more questions you ask the more inclined they will be to ditch the scam if they suspect you’re on to them.
  • Never give personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never rush into a financial decision and trust your instincts. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. Feel free to say no and get more information before you send money to someone.

For more tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from Elder Abuse, visit the American Banker Association's Safe Banking for Seniors resource center.

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Source: American Bankers Association

 

 

Savings Tip: Brown bag it

Looking for an easy way to save big? Consider bringing your lunch, rather than buying it. In fact, according to some experts you could save thousands of dollars each year!

To find out how much you could save, try our Lunch Savings Calculator.

And visit sites like Cooking Light for easy and nutritious lunch ideas.

Save by removing PMI

Are you still paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

Depending on the value of your property and your credit you may be able to refinance and remove PMI, which is required on many types of mortgages.

By removing PMI you may be able to save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Contact a member of our mortgage team to find out if you could save by sending PMI packing.

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