We'll post financial tips and news here for you to stay up to date.
Avoiding Scams and Scammers
When cybersecurity is inadequate, it can lead to stolen identity and financial loss. Most scams and scammers have two main goals--to steal your money and your identity. You should know what to look for, how they work, and what to do, so you can protect yourself and your finances.
Read tips from the FDIC here.
From the Independent Community Bankers of America:
Bank customers and employees alike should educate themselves on topics that include:
The Better Business Bureau has monthly updates for citizens in our area. Here are the most recent updates:
According to the Better Business Bureau, military families and veterans are more likely to lose money to scams. The likelihood of loss reported across all consumers was 46.4% in 2020. Veterans reported a slightly higher likelihood of loss at 46.8%. Military families reported the highest likelihoods of loss at 50.8% for military spouses and 59.7% for service members. If you're in the military, or connected to someone who is, stay alert.
For more information, see this Better Business Bureau article.
National Veterans Small Business Week
Join us and the SBA in celebrating National Veterans Small Business Week. As the pandemic continues, it’s vital for military and veteran entrepreneurs to be aware of the local resources that are available to assist them during this time. We hope we can play a small part in helping celebrate, strengthen, and empower our nation’s military and veteran entrepreneurs. The SBA will be showcasing our nation’s military and veteran-owned small businesses all week long. For details, visit this webpage.
What Is A Credit Score?
A credit report is a record of your current and past debts, including your payment history. It is used by banks, other financial institutions, and businesses to make decisions about your loan, rent, and even employment applications. Understanding the information in your credit report can help you achieve and maintain a good credit history; good credit opens the door to opportunities.
Learn more in this article from the FDIC.
Federal Rental Assistance for Landlords
If you’re a landlord, you might depend on rental income to cover your own housing costs. This means that if your tenants had trouble paying their rent during the coronavirus pandemic, it could affect your financial well-being too. The federal government has set aside a portion of money for landlords that depend on the rental income. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a list of resources to help that you can find here.
Child Tax Credit Scams
As child tax credit payments are beginning to be dispersed around the country, fraudsters are targeting those who may benefit from these payments. Consider these tips from the Kentucky Bankers Association to avoid being the subject of fraudulent activity.
BE WARY OF CONTACTS
Customers should be wary of any unsolicited calls, e-mails and text messages. The IRS generally communicates by mail.
NEVER PROVIDE PERSONAL INFORMATION
Many fraudsters will offer assistance to “sign up” for the child tax credit. Signing up is not necessary, and payments are based on filed tax returns.
CHECK THE LINKS
Customers should not click on links or open attachments as this may lead to money loss, tax-related fraud and identity theft. Any website other than IRS.gov is not an official government website.
KNOW YOUR ELIGIBILITY
Only certain individuals are eligible for the child tax credit. Know the eligibility requirements to determine if you should be eligible to avoid unnecessary risk. Eligibility requirements are monitored by the IRS only.
DO NOT LISTEN TO THREATS!
The IRS will not leave a pre-recorded, threatening voicemail regarding lawsuits or arrests, nor will it call for taxpayers to verify their personal information in order to receive the credit.
CHECK THE FORM OF PAYMENT
Customers will never be asked to send the IRS money via wire transfer, gift card or cryptocurrency. In fact, there should not be any payments by customers associated with the child tax credit.
IF IT SOUNDS SUSPICIOUS, BE SUSPICIOUS
If an inquiry seems suspicious, it probably is.
For a printable document, click here.
Unemployment Text Scam
There is no limit to the lengths scammers will go to gain access to your personal information.
According to the Indianapolis Federal Bureau of Investigation, fraudsters are posing as the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and sending a text with a link to click on. Upon using the link, it's highly likely they have accessed at least some of your personal information.
Unfortunately, hundreds of Hoosiers have already been affected by this scam. Don't become one of them.
The DWD will never send a text message to verify eligibility for unemployment benefits or to report issues with receiving benefits. Unless the message is from a known and verified source, never click on links in text messages or emails.
If you believe you may have received and clicked on this type of text message, and entered information into a fraudulent website, resources on how to protect your information can be found here.
Click here to learn more about identifying and protecting yourself from phishing attempts.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. If your household is eligible, you can receive:
Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.
The FCC has announced that consumers can begin applying for and enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program on May 12, 2021. The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.
You can find out more information and apply on GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
Cybercrime is rampant. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected each year. Here are some helpful links to help you avoid being scammed or discover if you are being scammed.
Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a podcast called Financial inTuition. The goal of the podcast is to educate, inform, and engage students, parents, and practitioners with tools and resources created to help them make more informed financial decisions. This podcast will help listeners with tips and strategies to find their inner financial intuition, one money topic at a time.
The CFPB has released a new series of episodes about "Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer." You can find the podcast here.
Future episodes will cover race and economic equity and student loans, navigating COVID-19 during your higher education decision-making process, repaying student loans, and more.
Budget Through Tough Times
Many consumers establish a budget as a planning tool. It is especially important to take a look at your finances and have a plan when your income decreases. By understanding what money you are getting and what you are spending, you may be able to make changes to help you through the tough times.
If you want to know more information about what your state is doing for COVID-19 vaccines, see the links below. These sites are the best places for vaccine information. Please confirm information you may hear on social media by reviewing the information from your state.
With COVID-19, many people have struggled financially. The Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) reached out to us to be sure our Hoosier customers knew of the resources available to them in housing and utilities. The IHCDA believes that growing Indiana's economy starts at home.
Everyone can agree that all Hoosiers should have the opportunity to live in safe, affordable, good-quality housing in economically stable communities. That's the heart of IHCDA's mission. The IHCDA wants to help communities build upon their assets to create places with ready access to opportunities, goods, and services. They also promote, finance, and support a broad range of housing solutions from temporary shelters to homeownership.
What kind of help can the IHCDA provide? Many kinds! Here are just a few of the things that IHCDA can help with:
For more specifics, we encourage you to visit the IHCDA's website at www.in.gov/ihcda/.
We are #INthistogether.
Indiana Rental Assistance
Indiana's Rental Assistance Portal is now accepting applications for the Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act (ESG-CV) rental assistance program. This program can provide eligible renters with up to six months in rental assistance to help cover past due and ongoing monthly rent payments. More information, including the steps for tenants to apply both online and over the phone, can be found on the top banner of the www.indianahousingnow.org website.
While there is no application due date at this time for the ESG-CV rental assistance program, any renter that is need of assistance is encouraged to and apply now. Please don’t wait.
Banks Never Ask That
The American Bankers Association has created a humorous website to educate the public on things that banks will never ask. Can you outsmart scammers? Take the quiz to see how you do. They even mention there are prizes involved!
From time to time, we link to external videos that are not controlled by us. It doesn’t mean that we necessarily endorse any products or services offered on the linked video, but we think the content of the video is of value to you. We just want you to know that it’s not our video.
FinCEN Guidance On Pandemic Fraud Scams
Fraudsters remain relentless in times of crisis including COVID-19. Here are a few things to be mindful of when it comes to scams.
Financial Path to Graduation
Planning for college can be tough. There are so many options when it comes to financial aid, scholarships, loans, and more. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has created a great tool for you to:
Check out the CFPB's tool to get started!