Personal – First Bank https://localfirstbank.com North and South Carolina Community Bank Sun, 09 Dec 2018 06:51:43 -0500 en-US hourly 1 2018 Summer Vacation Trends [Infographic] https://localfirstbank.com/article/2018-summer-vacation-trends/ Thu, 09 Aug 2018 13:20:26 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=11308

The summer is the perfect time to hit the road or the skies and to explore a new venue. That made us curious: who’s traveling and where are they going? Check out the below infographic for more information on the latest summer vacation trends.

Summer vacation travel trends

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The Startling Cost of College https://localfirstbank.com/article/the-startling-cost-of-college/ Thu, 31 May 2018 17:34:39 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=11163

There’s a startling financial truth for those enrolled in college and recent graduates: a higher education almost always comes with a significant price tag—and debt.

Below, we take a look at the numbers. But don’t worry! We’re here to help you whether you’re planning for school, in the middle of your education, or a freshly minted graduate. Come see us today.

Happy Financial Literacy Month with tips

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Why Having the Latest is the Greatest: Update Your Browser Today https://localfirstbank.com/article/update-your-browser-today/ Tue, 24 Apr 2018 13:15:26 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=11025

We’ve got a secret weapon in the fight against the fraudsters who are trying to steal the data off your computer or mobile phone: having an up-to-date web browser.

It might seem simple, but by making sure you’re using the latest and supported versions of your favorite web window—Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. or Safari for iPhone users—you’re doing some seriously heavy lifting in protecting your information.

As we’ve mentioned before, having the most up-to-date version of your web browser ensures 128-bit encryption capability. This feature will prevent anyone from “eavesdropping” on your data as it travels between you and your financial institution or your customers.

When your browser or operating system is out of date, critical security patches aren’t being provided by Microsoft, Apple, or other companies—leaving you vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves.

Seek Out HTTPS

Once you’ve updated your browser, make sure you’re visiting secure versions of sites, marked by “https” vs the common “http.”

This is quickly becoming an important point of differentiation on the web. In fact, Google will be changing their search algorithm in July to help consumers avoid any unsecure or questionable sites and directing them away from “http” pages.

Learn More About Staying Safe

Updating your browser is just the first of many important steps to take to keep your information secure while you’re using the web. Check out this additional list of 7 handy tips for protecting your identity.

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Happy National Financial Literacy Month! https://localfirstbank.com/article/happy-national-financial-literacy-month/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 20:09:58 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=11027

April, like any month of the year, is the perfect time to take a look at your spending habits and build better behaviors to hit your long-term savings goals. But what makes this month especially ideal is that it’s National Financial Literacy Month!

Below, find a handful of quick and easy-to-do tips to get on the right financial track.

Happy Financial Literacy Month with tips

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Staying Safe from Tax Scams https://localfirstbank.com/article/staying-safe-tax-scams/ Mon, 19 Mar 2018 20:25:33 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=10875

It’s that time of year again when you get a tickle in your throat and your eyes start to water. Yep, it’s tax time.

We received the following very handy and timely article from the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) in regards to staying safe during this season of numbers crunching and record keeping. As always, if you have any specific tax questions, be sure to consult a tax prep professional.

As people nationwide seek to file their tax returns, cybercriminals attempt to take advantage of this time of year with a variety of scams. In fact, the IRS reported a 400% rise in phishing scams from the 2015 to the 2016 tax season. In the state, local, tribal, and territorial government sector during 2017, approximately 30% of all reported data breach incidents were related to the theft of W-2 information, which was likely used for tax fraud.

Watch out for these scams

Unfortunately, much of your personal information can be gathered from multiple locations online with almost no verification that the right person is receiving the information. Criminals know this and use the information to file a fake tax refund request! If a criminal files a tax return in your name before you do, they will file it with false information to get a large refund, forcing you to go through the arduous process of proving that you did not file the return and subsequently correcting the return. Once they have your personal information, criminals can continue to commit identity theft well beyond the tax season.

Another favorite technique used by criminals during the tax season is sending phishing messages indicating that a new copy of your tax form(s) is available. These emails often impersonate state, local, tribal, and territorial government comptroller or IT departments.

If you fill out or attempt to login into the phishing website, the criminals will be able to see your login name and password, which they can then use to try and compromise your other accounts. The more information they gather from you, the easier it is for them to use the information to file a fake tax return in your name.

Lastly, tax fraudsters also impersonate the IRS and other tax officials to threaten taxpayers with penalties if they do not make an immediate payment. It is important to remember:

  • The IRS will not initiate contact about payment with taxpayers by phone, email, text messages, or social media without sending an official letter in the mail first.
  • The IRS will not call to demand immediate payment over the phone using a specific payment method such as a debit/credit card, a prepaid card, a gift card, or a wire transfer.
  • The IRS will not threaten to immediately notify local police or other law-enforcement agencies to have you arrested for not paying.
  • The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount you owe.

What you can do

Here are some basic tips to help you minimize the chances of becoming a victim of a tax scam:

  • If you haven’t already, file your taxes as soon as you can…before the scammers do it!
  • Be aware of phone calls, emails, and websites that try to get your information, or pressure you to make a payment. If something seems suspicious, contact the organization through a known method, like their publicly posted customer service line.
  • Ignore emails and texts asking for personal or tax information. Be cautious as to whom you provide your information, including your Social Security Number and date of birth.
  • Don’t click on unknown links or links from unsolicited messages. Type the verified, real organizational website into your web browser.
  • Don’t open attachments from unsolicited messages, as they may contain malware.
  • Only conduct financial business over trusted websites. Don’t use public, guest, free, or insecure Wi-Fi networks. Remember, the “HTTPS” does not mean a site is legitimate.
  • Shred all unneeded or old documents containing confidential and financial information.
  • Check your credit report regularly for unauthorized activity. Consider putting a security freeze on your credit file with the major credit bureaus if you suspect you have been targeted for identity theft.
  • If you receive a tax-related phishing or suspicious email at work, report it according to your cybersecurity policy.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to send suspicious emails related to tax fraud to its phishing@irs.gov email account or to call the IRS at 800-908-4490. More information about tax scams is available on the IRS website.

If you suspect you have become a victim of tax fraud or identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft website will provide a step-by-step recovery plan. It also allows you to report if someone has filed a tax return fraudulently in your name, if your information was exposed in a major data breach, and many other types of fraud.

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Introducing First Bank to Western North Carolina! [infographic] https://localfirstbank.com/article/introducing-first-bank-to-western-north-carolina-infographic/ Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:12:46 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=10859

We couldn’t be more excited to welcome all our new customers from Asheville Savings Bank to the First Bank family. The below infographic is a handy way to get to know us a little bit better. Simply click on it to enlarge.

Welcome to all our new customers from Asheville Savings Bank

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Dream It, Do It Q1 Winner: Herrera Family https://localfirstbank.com/article/dream-it-do-it-q1-winner-herrera-family/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:34:38 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=10556

One of the first “Dream It. Do It.” winners is Silverio Herrera who was nominated by his wife, Jeni. In August 2017, we met with the Herrera family at our Fuquay-Varina branch.

We surprised them with the good news that they would receive $10,000 in support of Silverio’s dream of a skid steer to grow his concrete business.

Here is a video of that wonderful meeting.

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Equifax Breach: FAQs and Resources https://localfirstbank.com/article/equifax-breach-faqs-and-resources/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:45:18 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=10289

This month, the personal information of millions of Americans—including Social Security numbers, addresses, and in some cases, credit card numbers—were stolen when Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, had its systems compromised by hackers.

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud now and in the future. Below, you’ll find a FAQ provided by the American Bankers Association and links to helpful articles from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.

Equifax Breach FAQs

I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?

Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

Was my information stolen?

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.

How can I protect myself?

  • Enroll in Equifax’s services. Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.
  • Monitor your credit reports. In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
  • Monitor your bank accounts. We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.
  • Watch out for scams related to the breach. Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.

Should I place a credit freeze on my files?

Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.

How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?

Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.
Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.
TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.

Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?

You can learn more directly from Equifax. You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s webpage on the breach. To learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.

Additional Resources

In addition to the sites listed above, you can review the following articles for more tips:

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Dream It, Do It Q1 Winner: Anita Autry https://localfirstbank.com/article/dream-it-do-it-q1-winner-anita-autry/ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 17:39:02 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=10222

After Anita Autry told us about her dream—to secure a service dog for her son who is severely inhibited by his autism—we knew we had to help.

On July 26, 2017, we invited Anita to come to her local branch in Elizabethtown, NC under the auspices of telling us more about her contest entry. But instead, we surprised her with the wonderful news that she was in fact our first Dream It, Do It contest winner and recipient of $15,000. This video is what we captured from that very special meeting.

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Dream It, Do It: Where Are You? [Infographic] https://localfirstbank.com/article/dream-it-do-it-where-are-you-infographic/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:35:25 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=10156

After receiving more than 500 entries in the month of July alone, we got curious about where in the Carolinas we were hearing from the most. Here are some location stats from those we received from mid-April through the first week of August 2017.

First quarter of First Bank's Dream It, Do It contest received more than 1,000 entries.

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