Fraud Alerts Now Arrive via Text Message

American Federal Cash Card Check Card customers now receive text messages on their mobile devices when fraudulent activity is suspected on their account. The Cash Card Check Card is often called a debit card.

Here’s how it works:

  • If a suspicious transaction occurs on your debit card’s account, you will receive a text message from the number 37-268.
  • The text will say “American Federal Bank Fraud Alert: Did you attempt a transaction on debit card ending in 1234 at Bill’s Restaurant in NY for $123.45? Reply YES or NO.” (Card number, merchant, state and amount are made up for this example and will be specific to the suspicious transaction on your card in an actual alert.)
  • If you reply YES, you will receive a message thanking you for responding and no action will be taken.
  • If you reply NO, you will receive the response “American Federal Bank: You’ve indicated an unauthorized transaction. A temporary hold may have been placed on your card. Please call immediately 800-770-6605.”

If there is no response to a fraud text message, you will receive a phone call about the suspicious transaction. This call will always come from the Fraud Detection Center phone number 877-253-8964. We recommend that you put this number as a contact in your phone as American Federal – Fraud Detection so that you recognize it should you receive a call.

If we do not have your mobile number on file, you will receive a phone call. Please contact your local American Federal Sales Office, if you would like to provide us with your mobile number or if you have any questions about this new mobile alert feature.

We Are Happy to Welcome you Back to our Lobbies

Most American Federal Bank lobbies in North Dakota and Minnesota are now re-opened.

If you are planning a visit to the lobby, we encourage you to first call your local American Federal Sales Office to learn the re-opening status of the lobby.

If you wish to visit with your American Federal Banker, call ahead for an appointment.

It is the same friendly lobby you have always loved to visit with enhancements to maintain a safe and healthy environment for customers and employees while we all work to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We have always maintained a safe and clean environment, however, over the last several weeks, we have introduced some extra precautions and follow CDC guidelines to promote the safety and health of our customers and employees.

Protecting Customers and Employees

Thank you for understanding the adjustments we have made.

  • Touchless hand sanitizer stations, non-surgical masks and gloves available for you at the lobby entrance, and stanchions and floor markers to help us all practice social distancing
  • Wider spaces between furniture to further promote social distancing
  • Protective, clear panels in some areas for added protection from close contact
  • Cleaning and disinfecting procedures for common surfaces and shared objects
  • Meetings in our conference rooms for best social distancing
  • Monitoring the health of our staff by requiring employees to stay home, if they are ill or have an ill family member at home
  • Associates and Bankers practicing hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, limiting unnecessary contact and disinfecting their work areas
  • Associates and Bankers wearing face coverings when they expect to be in close contact with a customer or another employee for a longer length of time and social distancing is not possible

With these adjustments to our environment, one thing has not changed – our continued commitment to provide you with personal service that is safe for you and your family every time you visit our lobby.

Thank you for being an American Federal customer. We look forward to welcoming you back in the lobby.

Many Ways to Bank Smart at American Federal

As an essential business, American Federal Bank has remained open during the Coronavirus pandemic, safely providing trusted advice and financial services for customers through the drive-up, by phone, email, and electronically. And now, we have re-opened the lobby with health and safety protocols.

Here are smart ways to continue accessing your accounts:

  • If you wish to visit with your American Federal Banker, call ahead for an appointment.
  • For less direct contact, but convenience and safety, continue to use our Drive-Up, Night Drop, Telephone Banker, surcharge-free MoneyPass® ATMs and our electronic banking options.
  • We understand you may choose to limit your trips to the bank. You can manage your accounts virtually at any time, from almost anywhere, using any device with safe and convenient Online Banking, through our Mobile Banking app, including sending and receiving money electronically, with Online Bill Pay, eStatement and Remote Deposit of Checks.
  • With Mobile Wallet, you can make contactless purchases with no need to touch cash, or, in most cases, the pin-pad at the store terminal. You can use your Mobile Wallet online or in-store at participating merchants right from your smartphone or smartwatch.

Be Alert for Scammers

  • We value your security and take precautions to protect you from fraud, scams and identity theft. Remember, if we reach out to you by email, text message or phone, we will never ask you for confidential information, such as your username, password, Personal Identification Number (PIN) or other account information.
  • Watch out for dishonest individuals trying to take advantage of situations like the Coronavirus. Be aware of Coronavirus scams, including phony products on websites, fraudulent links or attachments in emails, text and social media.

PPP Loans

Our thanks go out to everyone who has supported our small businesses and farmers – the backbone of our region’s economy – during the Coronavirus pandemic.

We think it is important to invest in our communities and our farmers. The relationships we cultivate with our business and farm clients are why our Bankers’ are able to help clients with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

We appreciate the opportunity to have helped more than 650 small businesses and farmers with approximately $45 million in PPP loans.

Modification to the PPP with passage of the PPP Flexibility Act allows for greater loan forgiveness with more eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses to accrue up to 24 weeks and more non-payroll costs to be included in the forgiveness calculation, almost ensuring that most borrowers will obtain fully forgivable loans.

If you are directly affected by the Coronavirus, and need banking assistance, ask to speak with a Banker or an Associate today. We’re here to help.

About American Federal Bank

When you call American Federal Bank, you reach an Associate in your local Sales Office — someone who knows you and who you can trust to answer your questions and personally take care of you.

American Federal Bankers and Associates have the experience, knowledge and expertise you need in Ag, Business and Personal Banking, whether you are looking to expand your operation, manage an operating line, purchase farm, commercial, multi-family or residential real estate, plan for retirement or save for a major purchase.

Our Bankers forge long-term, personal relationships with their clients which has helped us work together through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Long Established, Safe, Stable and Employee Owned

You can trust the strength of American Federal Bank.

  • Founded almost 130 years ago in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, our roots run deep in the Red River Valley and Lakes Country of northwestern Minnesota.
  • American Federal is a highly regarded, employee owned community bank. Our employees live and work right in your community, so they understand you, your farm or business and the local economy.
  • American Federal Bank is a member of the FDIC. This means your deposits remain secure with American Federal. *
  • With a Tier-1 Risk Based Capital Ratio well above the required minimum and our diverse sources of funding and access to liquidity, you can trust that American Federal will remain in a strong position to meet your credit and liquidity needs. **

We continue to monitor the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus pandemic in our region and to balance the needs of our customers and the safety recommendations from government and health authorities.

We are incredibly proud of our employees who continue to take care of thousands of American Federal clients during the pandemic and who every day demonstrate their commitment to ensure we are creating a safe environment as we fulfill our role as an essential business in the communities we serve.

With gratitude and appreciation,

AMERICAN FEDERAL BANK

 

* FDIC Insurance available up to the maximum established by FDIC per depositor and ownership type

** Credit products and services subject to credit approval. Some fees and restrictions may apply

FBI Warns: Increased Use of Mobile Apps During Pandemic Could Lead to Exploitation

man and woman looking at a tabletAs the public increases its use of mobile banking apps, partially due to increased time at home from the Coronavirus pandemic, the FBI anticipates cyber actors will exploit these platforms.

Americans are increasingly using their mobile devices to conduct banking activities such as depositing checks and transferring funds. Studies of U.S. financial data indicate a 50 percent surge in mobile banking since the beginning of 2020.

With state and local governments urging or mandating social distancing, Americans have become more willing to use mobile banking as an alternative to physically visiting a bank.

The FBI expects cyber actors to attempt to exploit new mobile banking customers using a variety of techniques, including app-based banking trojans and fake banking apps.

App-Based Banking Trojans

The FBI advises the public to be cautious when downloading apps on smartphones and tablets, as some could be concealing malicious intent. Cyber actors target banking information using banking trojans, which are malicious programs that disguise themselves as other apps, such as games or tools. When the user launches a legitimate banking app, it triggers the previously downloaded trojan that has been lying dormant on their device. The trojan creates a false version of the bank’s login page and overlays it on the legitimate app. Once the user enters their credentials into the false login page, the trojan passes the user to the real banking app login page so they do not realize they have been compromised.

Fake Banking Apps

Cyber actors also create fraudulent apps designed to impersonate the real apps of financial institutions, with the intent of tricking users into entering their login credentials. These apps provide an error message after the attempted login and will use smartphone permission requests to obtain and bypass security codes texted to users.

TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS

Obtain Apps from Trusted Sources

Private sector companies manage app stores for smartphones and actively vet these apps for malicious content. Additionally, most U.S. banks, like American Federal Bank, provide a link to their mobile app on their website. The FBI recommends only obtaining smartphone apps from trusted sources like official app stores or directly from bank websites.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Cybersecurity experts stress that two-factor authentication is a highly effective tool to secure accounts against compromise, and enabling any form of two-factor authentication will be to the user’s advantage.

Do:

  • Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication on devices and accounts to protect them from malicious compromise.
  • Use strong two-factor authentication, if possible, via biometrics, hardware tokens, or authentication apps.
  • Use multiple types of authentication for accounts, if possible. Layering different authentication standards is a stronger security option.
  • Monitor where your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is stored and only share the most necessary information with financial institutions.

Don’t:

  • Click links in e-mails or text messages. Ensure these messages come from the financial institution by double-checking e-mail details. Many criminals use legitimate-looking messages to trick users into giving up login details.
  • Give two-factor passcodes to anyone over the phone or via text. Financial institutions will not ask you for these codes over the phone.

Use Strong Passwords and Good Password Security

Cyber actors regularly exploit users who reuse passwords or use common or insecure passwords. The FBI recommends creating strong, unique passwords to mitigate these attacks. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s most recent guidance encourages users to make passwords that are 15 characters or longer.

Do:

  • Use passwords that contain UPPER CASE letters, lower case letters and symbols.
  • Use a minimum of eight characters per password.
  • Create unique passwords for banking apps.
  • Consider using a password manager or password management service.

Don’t:

  • Use common passwords or phrases, such as “Password1!” or “123456.”
  • Reuse the same passwords for multiple accounts.
  • Store passwords in written form or in an insecure phone app like a notepad.
  • Give your password to anyone. Financial institutions will not ask you for this information over the phone or text message.

If a Banking App Appears Suspicious, Call the Bank

If you encounter an app that appears suspicious, exercise caution and contact the financial institution. Major financial institutions may ask for a banking PIN number, however, will never ask for your username and password over the phone. If the phone call seems suspicious, hang up and call the bank.