Protect Yourself Against Imposters

girl on ipadThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received reports of fraudulent communications that have the appearance of being from the FDIC.

This is particularly important to know during the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as scammers try to take advantage of consumers in a variety of ways.

Fraudsters know that people trust the FDIC name, so scammers use the FDIC’s name and logo in perpetrating fraudulent schemes.

Some recently reported scams have fraudulently used the names of real FDIC employees, including Martin Henning and Michael Benardo. They have also used fictitious employee names such as Peter Harding, Christine Marshall, and Kate Marshall.

These scams may involve a variety of communication channels, including emails, phone calls, letters, text messages, faxes and social media.

The messages might ask you to “confirm” or “update” confidential personal financial information, such as bank account numbers. In other cases, the communication might be an offer to help victims of current or previous frauds with an investigation or to recover losses.

Some scams have included official looking forms for such things as filing insurance claims or paying taxes on prize winnings. They might tell you that you have an unpaid debt and threaten you with a lawsuit or to arrest you, if you don’t pay. Other recent examples have included check endorsements, bankruptcy claimant verification forms, stock confirmations, and investment purchases.

Additional known scams ask for an upfront payment in the form of gift cards or digital currency before service can be provided. They might include a cashier’s check with instructions to deposit the check and send some portion of the funds back via wire transfer service.

Scammers might ask for personal information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other valuable details that they can use to commit fraud or sell your identity.

Tips from the FDIC

Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself against government imposters like these:

  • The FDIC does not send unsolicited correspondence asking for money or sensitive personal information and will never threaten you.
  • No government agency will ever demand that you pay by gift card, wiring money or digital currency.
  • The FDIC would never contact you asking for personal details, such as bank account information, credit and debit card numbers, social security numbers, or passwords.

If in doubt about something you receive, contact the FDIC’s Call Center at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm Eastern Standard Time.

If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, report this incident to local law enforcement or a local field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Also notify the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), if the crime involved misuse of the U.S. Postal Service.

For more help or information, go to FDIC.gov (insert link) or call the FDIC toll-free at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).

COVID-19 Outbreak: Taking Care of Clients

To our Clients,

As we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation around the Coronavirus (COVID-19), our priority is to protect the safety and well-being of our employees, and to maintain essential banking services for our clients and businesses who are impacted by these difficult circumstances.

Our Drive-Up locations where available are open during their regular drive-up hours to serve your banking needs.

You can apply for a home loan online at the American Federal website at americanfederalbank.com.

Night Depositories and ATMs are available at many of our Drive-Up locations.

You can get cash surcharge-free from your American Federal deposit account at any MoneyPass® ATM nationwide.

Stay Connected to your Accounts

We ask that you help us contain the spread of the virus. If you are sick, tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed, please do not come to our bank. Instead, use our Online or Mobile Banking services, or call your local American Federal Banker.

Online and Mobile Banking offer the fastest and most convenient way to access and manage your accounts. Download the American Federal Bank mobile app or use your computer to stay connected and bank anytime, anywhere from any device 24/7.

Using our electronic services is simple, secure and free:

  • Go online to pay bills, move money between accounts, monitor transactions, set up alerts and review e-statements.
  • Deposit a check directly into an eligible checking or savings account by taking a photo of the front and back of an endorsed check with Mobile Check Deposit.
  • Send and receive money between family or friends using Send Money.
  • Make payments and purchases with a debit or credit card.

Safety Is a Priority

We have done several things to make our environments safe for staff.

  • We have directed employees to stay home if they become sick.
  • We use gloves or other personal protective equipment when handling cash.
  • We practice social distancing.
  • We have implemented cleaning practices in our locations, following CDC and public health guidance.
  • We have suspended business travel and in-person meetings, suggesting instead that the phone or email is used, and enabled remote work arrangements when possible.
  • If employees should contract COVID-19 or become exposed to it, we will provide paid sick time.

Supporting our Clients

We are here to help you however we can. We know that as things progress, there may be financial challenges for some. Consumers and businesses may experience cash shortfalls due to interruptions or unexpected loss of income or business. We are optimistic that this will be a temporary situation.

If American Federal is your primary bank, we may be able to establish or increase loans or lines of credit, help you with a home equity loan or line of credit, defer monthly loan payments, modify payments to interest only or modify the final maturity date, depending on your credit situation.

The Small Business Administration (SBA)is offering some special financing options for businesses impacted by COVID-19. All of North Dakota and Minnesota are declared eligible to participate in the disaster loan program.

The most important step you can take, if you are experiencing a hardship, is to contact your local American Federal Banker. As your trusted financial advisor, we want to help you find the best solution to meet your situation and your goals.

Watch for Suspicious Email and Text Messages

Be on the lookout for suspicious email and text messages that try to get you to share sensitive information, such as your login username and password, or the ones cybercriminals use to impersonate a company, charity or government agency.

American Federal Bank will never ask you for personal information or login credentials in an email or text message.

Keep well and safe.

With gratitude,

AMERICAN FEDERAL BANK

NMLS ID 457211

Bank Lobbies Temporarily Close

To our Clients,

Beginning Friday, March 20, American Federal Bank temporarily closed its lobbies.

With the health and safety of our employees and our clients in mind, and to help with the nation-wide effort to reduce spread of the Coronavirus (often called COVID-19), we are serving customers only at our Drive-Up locations where they are available. Our Drive-Ups will continue to be open during their regular drive-up operating hours.

We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our Sales Offices open and supporting you. Our Managers will continue to monitor the situation in their communities.  We will re-open our lobbies as soon as possible and it is safe to do so, following recommendations from health authorities and state and federal government. 

 

Bank Anywhere, Anytime, Any Device

Customers can access their accounts and conduct transactions electronically anytime, anywhere with any device through Online and Mobile Banking, Online Bill Pay, Mobile Check Deposit, and Telephone Banker.

Electronic payments and purchases can be made using debit or credit cards.

Night Depositories and ATMs are available at many of our Drive-Up locations. Customers can get cash surcharge-free from their American Federal deposit accounts at any MoneyPass® ATM.

 

Call-Ahead Appointments

Our American Federal Bankers are available by phone and email to answer your questions and help in any way they can. Call-ahead appointments with an American Federal Banker at the Sales Office or at a business or farm are available. However, phone and email meetings are preferred whenever possible to comply with social distancing recommendations from the CDC. Contact your local American Federal Banker to ask about an appointment.

 

Business Needs

Our Business clients, who have cash needs, can contact their local American Federal Banker to place an order, schedule a pick-up time and make a deposit.

We have procedures in place to be certain your credit needs are not interrupted.

 

Safety First

We are taking steps to keep our employees, and you, safe. Expect to see employees wearing personal protection items, using disinfecting wipes and practicing social distancing.

 

Be Aware of Potential Scams

Scammers and cybercriminals are taking advantage of uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus. They may offer fake products, medical advice, create fake charities or compel you to click a fraudulent link to gain access to your device and your personal information. Read cybersecurity tips from the Federal Trade Commission posted on the American Federal Bank website to help keep the scammers at bay.

While we are temporarily changing how we are delivering some of our services, we continue to work hard to help you find the best solutions to reach your goals. American Federal Bankers are available to help you with financial challenges that may come along.

Everyone at American Federal Bank remains deeply committed to serving you the very best we can during these unprecedented times and adapt to our country’s fast-changing needs. We are just a phone call or email message away.

Keep well and safe.

Gratefully,

American Federal Bank

Beware of Coronavirus Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Fraudsters are setting up websites to sell bogus products and creating fake email, texts and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information. Investment frauds ridiculously claim a company’s products or services will be used to help stop the Coronavirus outbreak.

The emails and posts may even be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They may also be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.

Here are some tips from the FTC to help you keep the scammers at bay:

  • Don’t click on links from sources you do not know. It could download a virus on your computer or mobile device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up to date.
  • Don’t provide personal information. Always consider why someone wants your information and if it is appropriate.
  • Verify a sender by independently checking their email address. It is insufficient to check an email address using an email reply to see if your message is delivered. The email could be from a cybercriminal’s account.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus.
  • For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the World Health Organization (WHO) at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
  • Ignore offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment or cure claims for the Coronavirus, ask yourself: would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or a sales pitch?
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or websites. Do not let anyone rush you into donating. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, do not do it.
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning about online promotions, including social media, claiming that the products and services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure the Coronavirus, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in values as a result.
Investor Alert

The SEC has issued an investor alert to be on the lookout for Coronavirus-related investment scams that use the latest news developments to lure investors into scams.

The promotions often take the form of so-called “research reports” and make predictions of a specific “target price.” The SEC warns investors they may lose significant amounts of money if they invest in a company that makes inaccurate or unreliable claims, and you may not be able to sell your shares, if trading in the company is suspended.

The SEC says that when investing in any company that claims to focus on Coronavirus-related products and services, carefully research the investment and keep in mind that investment scam artists often exploit the latest crisis to line their own pockets.

Contact your local American Federal securities-licensed Banker, if you have a question about an investment product or service. Report any suspicious Coronavirus-related investment scams to the SEC at https://www.sec.gov/tcr.

Criminals Pretending to be WHO

Criminals are disguising themselves as the World Health Organization (WHO) to steal money and sensitive information. WHO says cybercriminals are preying on people’s fear with phishing emails claiming to have advice on protective safety measures.

WHO will never:

  • ask you to log in to view safety information
  • email attachments you did not request
  • ask you to visit a link outside www.who.int
  • conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email
  • ask you to donate directly to emergency response plans or funding appeals

Be aware that criminals use email, websites, phone calls, text messages and fax messages for their scams. You can verify if communication is legitimate by contacting WHO directly.