News for YOU!
News for YOU! is a free, monthly newsletter provided by KS StateBank that offers tips and other information to help you make wise financial choices. Please feel free to sign up now to receive new editions of our newsletters each month, as well as other updates. You can also subscribe to our business newsletter, News for YOU! Business Edition.
There are some things in life that are just beyond our control. The situation with COVID-19 has sure taught us that. It seems like almost overnight, unexpected circumstances like furloughs, job losses, and business closings have made goals like buying a house or taking an early retirement seem no longer within our control.
There is, however, something we can control during these and other uncertain times: our money. Here are some ways to accomplish that:
- Budget. Budgeting has always been the key to successful financial management; however, during the pandemic when you may have experienced a loss of income, it's absolutely critical. Take some time to review your expenses and look for ways to reduce them. Our online financial management tool, My Money, can help your set a budget and track your spending.
- Build emergency savings. Life has always been unpredictable – even before COVID-19. We can never predict when we might encounter an unexpected expense or life event, like illness or job loss. The best way to financially prepare for the unexpected is to have an emergency fund. Saving even a few dollars a pay period can add up and give you the peace of mind you need.
- Reduce credit card debt. Debt has unfortunately become a part of our lives. According to USA Today, the average American has over $6,200 in credit card debt. If you're among them, you'll want to focus on paying down that debt. To accomplish that, review the interest rates and balances you have and start paying down higher-interest debt first. Also, be sure to pay more than the minimum payment due to reduce interest fees. You may also want to look into consolidating credit card debt with a balance transfer offer.
- Look at other options for reducing other debt. If anything positive has come out of the pandemic, it's lower interest rates. That means now could be a good time to refinance your mortgage or to refinance higher-interest student loan debt.
- Maintain good credit. The need to maintain strong credit will never change. Be sure to pay all your bills on time and to avoid using credit cards to pay for things you can't afford. If you're having difficulty making payments, notify your creditors immediately to work out payment plans.
In challenging times, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose our focus, however, staying focused on your finances can help make your life a little more manageable – and get you back on track to meet those goals you had planned.
People often wonder about whether or how to add someone else, usually a relative, to a bank account. These decisions are not to be taken lightly. While we can't advise you on how to share your money or your accounts, we can give you guidance about the implications of adding names onto deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes and loans.
Adding co-owners to a deposit account vs. alternative arrangements. Under FDIC rules, a joint account is a deposit account owned by two or more people who have equal rights to withdraw 100 percent of the deposits and to close the account.
In addition, each co-owner is insured for up to $250,000 for his or her share in all joint accounts at an insured bank. If you want to add co-owners mainly for convenience purposes or to access funds in an emergency, you will need to carefully consider how limits on withdrawal rights could affect your insurance coverage.
A power of attorney may also be used way to give someone limited access to a deposit account on an as‐needed basis without granting ownership rights. Please consult an attorney to discuss this option.
Allowing others to access your Online Banking accounts. Granting someone access to your accounts online is essentially the same as adding them as an authorized signer of your account. Through Online Banking they would have the ability to make internal and external (Bank to Bank) transfers, schedule bill payments and more. You should be careful who you give this access to, and only do so when necessary.
Giving others access to your safe deposit box. The rules and procedures for safe deposit boxes can vary by state and by bank, so ask your bank about the options for granting someone access and what you would have to do if you later change your mind. Remember, this person could take anything out of the box without your approval.
Adding co-owners vs. "authorized users" to a credit card account. A co-owner is financially responsible for all debt incurred, including any charges by an authorized user. Depending on the cardholder agreement, authorized users may or may not be financially responsible for any debt on the card. A card owner also may be able to place restrictions on authorized users, such as limits on amounts that can be charged.
Think carefully before you co-sign a loan. It’s important to keep in mind that you will have to pay the debt if the co-signer does not. You may also have to pay late fees and collection costs, which increase the debt amount. Your credit rating could also be affected if this person fails to pay or pays late.
For additional guidance about adding names to accounts, consider consulting an attorney, your banker or another advisor.
Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, September 7 in observance of Labor Day. We will reopen at our regular times on Tuesday, September 8. Have a safe and happy Labor Day!
Identity thieves are always looking for ways to defraud unsuspecting and innocent victims. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has provided the perfect opportunity. Fraudsters have capitalized on the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic in a variety of unscrupulous ways. They've even gone so far as to steal unemployment benefits.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there's a large-scale national scam whereby criminals, believed to be based overseas, are using the names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs to file fraudulent claims. It's estimated that tens of thousands of unsuspecting people have already been victimized.
What to do if you've been a victim of unemployment fraud
If you're a victim of unemployment fraud, you may not even be aware of it until you receive a notice from your state's employment office or from your employer. If that should happen, there are some important steps you need to take:
- Inform your employer. Whether it's your current or former employer, they need to know that a fraudulent claim has been made on your behalf.
- Contact your state's unemployment office. Many states provide the opportunity to notify them about a fraudulent claim online. Be sure to keep a copy of any documentation you receive. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
- File a report with your local police department. Get a copy of the report so that you have it on record that your identity may have been compromised.
- Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to put a freeze on your credit. Such a freeze will ensure that no new credit accounts can be opened in your name. The contact information for the three credit bureaus is as follows:
Experian: 1-888 397 3742 or Experian.com
Equifax: 1-800-349-9960 or Equifax.com
TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872 or TransUnion.com
You can also have one of the credit bureaus place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit.
- Review your credit report regularly. You are entitled to one free copy a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
- Track account activity. With tools like Online and Mobile Banking, you can monitor all your account activity any time. If you notice any unauthorized transactions, notify us immediately.
For more information on ways to protect yourself from identity theft, visit the government's ID theft website.
This is a popular time of year for homeowners to list their homes for sale. However, given the health crisis (and financial crisis for many), you may be wondering if it's still a good idea to sell your home. What are the pros and possible pitfalls of selling your home during the COVID outbreak? Here are two sides to that coin.
Pros of Selling Your Home
Mortgage rates are currently competitive, and many experts believe they'll hover on the low end of the spectrum. With rates so low, and the uncertainty of when they will rise again, homebuyers will be looking to capitalize on this opportunity. This puts your listing in a great position, and finding a buyer despite the challenges should still be easy. Looking at it from a mortgage rate perspective, it's a green light for selling your home this spring.
There's talk that we are heading towards a recession and for a good reason: COVID-19. However, we are not currently in that position, so that means that consumers are likely still feeling confident about making large purchases. Once the economy turns in three, six, or 12 months from now, homebuyer's attitudes are likely to change. Listing your home during a recession could mean you will get less than the asking price you want.
Cons of Selling Your Home
On the other hand, there's good reason to wait on listing your home for now. With the nation practicing heighten caution for personal health and the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to socially distance to minimize exposure to germs, having people come to your home for a showing may not be the best idea.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to having a traditional open house. Virtual showcases were already popular, and many real estate agents offer this feature. Another option is to vacate the home while your real estate agent shows it to a prospective buyer. But that is not always feasible and may not be something that all the participants are comfortable with.
Without a doubt, selling a home given our current circumstances is challenging, and unlike any other real estate environment we've experienced before. However, much like other markets, home buying and selling are always occurring.
If you decide to put your home on the market, contact a KS StateBank Mortgage Loan Originator* to help purchase your next home.
*KS StateBank | NMLS ID 410602. Please note KS StateBank does not provide real estate brokerage services.
Whether it’s ordering take out from an app-based food delivery service or shopping online for house hold necessities, many people are making contactless payments with retailers and buying things online more and more these days. With the increased use of digital and online payments, it’s important to keep these safety tips in mind.
Pay attention to your purchases. Be sure to monitor your credit card bills and bank statements, as well as app and other online transactions for unauthorized purchases or withdrawals. Immediately contact your bank if you see anything suspicious.
Consider signing up for alert services. Many credit card issuers, banks, and mobile app providers offer services that notify you about certain account activities, such as when personal information has been changed within your account or when your password has been changed. In addition to these services, other options can be found in your KS StateBank Online Banking and Mobile Banking that allow you to sign up for alerts on your mobile device or email to notify you if your account balance drops below a set dollar amount. Through our Mobile Banking Text Alerts, you are also able to request alerts to be notified with specific transactions such as pending debit card purchases or cleared checks. While there are many alerts you can choose from, some alerts are automatic like when we observe suspicious or potentially fraudulent transactions involving your debit card. Check out all of our alerts by logging into your Online Banking or Mobile Banking account, or by calling a member of our Client Care team at 800-588-6805 for recommendations.
Protect yourself from scams. Scammers often create fake websites or apps that are so similar to those of popular retailers; it easily tricks consumers into providing payment information. The scammers take your information and your money, but you never receive the products. Be sure to deal with reputable companies you are familiar with to help avoid encounters with these types of scams.
Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
It's a funny thing about money; we don't really talk about it, even though it's frequently on our minds. It's especially true when we experience financial difficulties, like a job loss or an unexpected expense. When such things happen, money is at the forefront of our minds, but we keep the worry inside, which leads to financial stress. And that, like any other type of stress, can keep you up at night and take a toll on your health and well-being.
So, what can you do alleviate that financial stress? You can start by taking these important steps:
Diagnose your financial problem. If you're feeling overwhelmed with your finances, the first thing you should do is confront your challenges head on. Start by examining all your finances and asking some key questions like: Do you have enough money to cover your monthly expenses? Have you set aside for emergency savings? Are you able to put away money for retirement? Do you have too much credit card debt? Can you afford your mortgage or rent?
Find a treatment. Once you know the financial challenges you face, create a plan with detailed steps on how to resolve them. So, for example, if you're having trouble meeting your bills, analyze your income and expenses. Then, look for ways to reduce those expenses. You may decide to cut your subscription services or to get a second job to help boost your income. You may also want to look for a part-time job to help pay the bills or to take in a roommate to lower your rent. Once you have a handle on your income and expenses, create a monthly budget and stick to it.
Get your debt under control. It's easy to get into debt; digging out of it is a little more challenging. You can start by writing down the debt you have and the interest rates you're being charged. Once you know what you owe, make a plan to pay down higher-interest debt first. Also, pay more than the minimum amount due. If you have multiple credit cards with high interest rates, consider consolidating that debt to a lower-interest card or to a fixed-rate personal loan. Be sure to make your payments on time, since that could result in costly late fees and even higher interest rates.
Prepare for emergencies. Let's face it, life is unpredictable. You never know when you'll experience a major life change or expense. The best way to protect yourself financially from unexpected events is to have an emergency fund. If you don't have one, it's easy to get started. Just open a separate savings account and contribute a fixed amount of money each pay period. If you have a tight budget, start small with as little as $10 a pay period. This will help you get in the habit of saving. Then as your financial situation improves, you can increase the amount you save.
Maintain good financial health. Reviewing your finances isn't something you should just do once. You need to constantly analyze your income, expenses, savings, and debt to ensure you're sticking to the plans you set. If you experience a life event, such as a job loss or even a promotion, you should revisit your budget and make any adjustments. Our online financial management tool, My Money, can help you track your spending and set goals. You can access this free tool from your KS StateBank Online Banking account.
Treat yourself to better financial health and well-being by taking these steps today.
Why save? It may be to realize the plans we have for our lives — to own a home or pay for our child's education in the future. Or maybe it's to gain greater control of the unplanned things of today, such as reevaluating your finances during the current economic climate, emergency medical expenses or car or home repairs.
Finding a good reason to save is easy. What's not as easy is actually doing the saving. But successful savers know that saving money isn't all that difficult; at least when they follow these common saving secrets:
Start early. The younger you start, the easier it is to become a successful saver. So even if you're just starting your career, it's never too early to start saving for retirement. With the power of compounding interest, saving early for retirement could result in having millions of dollars more in retirement.
Save even a little. Even if you have a tight budget, you can still get in the habit of saving. Take any extra change you have and put it in a large jar, where it's difficult to get at the funds. You'll be surprised by how quickly the money will add up if you keep adding to it.
Automate your savings. With today's convenient banking services, such as Online and Mobile Banking and direct deposit, it's easier than ever to save money. You can arrange to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account each month. Or arrange to have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited to your savings or retirement account.
Pay yourself first. Saving money should always be a priority. So each pay period, pay yourself first by putting aside funds to save. And if you're fortunate enough to get a raise at work, instead of increasing your lifestyle or buying something you don't need, put the extra money in your savings account and live as though you never got the raise.
Develop a budget — and stick to it. Successful savers know how much money they have to save. To determine this, track your income and monthly expenses. If you have money left over, save it. We offer a financial management tool in Online Banking called My Money that can help you create a budget, track everyday expenses and set goals.
Avoid unnecessary debt. One of the biggest barriers for savers is debt accumulation. Try to minimize debt, particularly high-interest credit card debt. Remember a simple rule: if you can't afford to pay for something in cash, don't buy it.
Determine "wants" versus "needs." We all like to have new things. But while you may want a shiny new car with all the bells and whistles, you may find your old reliable car can still get you where you need to be. When making a purchase, particularly a major purchase, think about if you really need it.
Pay attention to fees. Are you paying too much for your gym membership or for your checking account? Take the time to understand the fees and find out how you can reduce or waive them. Also, be sure to pay your bills on time so you don't incur costly late fees.
The most important thing successful savers know is that saving money won't just help you realize your future plans; it also will help you sleep a whole lot better.
We are pleased to open the lobbies at some of our Kansas branches. The lobbies at our Westloop and Highway 24 branches in Manhattan, as well as at our Junction City and Wichita branches, are now open to assist clients. The lobby of our Phoenix branch is also open. Our Aggieville and Downtown Manhattan branches will continue to serve clients through our drive up lanes.
As we focus on delivering services in a safe manner for KS StateBank clients and our team, you will notice some changes since your last visit. Retail Bankers may be wearing gloves and face coverings. There will be protective plexiglass guards in place at the teller line and Personal Banker desks along with signage and floor markings reminding you to practice social distancing. To support the enhanced cleaning efforts of or branch facilities, your access to public spaces within our branches will be limited to areas designated for customer service activities. We greatly appreciate your assistance in complying with these measures that are designed to not only help ensure the health and safety of our KS StateBank team, but to ensure the health and safety of you and all of our KS StateBank clients.
As we have over the last couple of months, we encourage you to use our contactless banking options whenever possible. Our drive ups, Online Banking, Mobile Banking and Telephone Banking services are a convenient and free alternative to visiting our branches.
Before visiting a branch, we ask that you assess your own personal health. If you are feeling any symptoms of not being healthy, we kindly ask that you visit the bank at another time and use one of our self-service banking options.
While we’ve made some changes, we are still here for you providing the exceptional service you’ve come to expect from our team. Thank you for choosing
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is working with federal and state banking agencies and financial institutions to assist customers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. The following information is more important than ever during these challenging times.
Social Distancing and Mobile Banking Technology
Mobile Banking technology enables you to exercise social distancing and conduct banking transactions at the same time. This banking technology and services provide the convenience of conducting banking transactions with your computer, smartphone, or mobile computer device. If you aren’t currently using these services, we can help get you started.
Money transfer services: You can use technology to easily move money around in your personal account at one bank or between banks. Additionally, person-to-person payment services and mobile payment apps have become part of everyday life for many people. Payment services and apps let you send money to people without having to write a check, swipe a card, or hand them cash.
Pay your bills using Online Bill Payment: Online Bill Payment allows you to pay your bills online safely and conveniently from one spot.
Depositing checks using Mobile Deposit: Mobile Deposit is a service within our Mobile Banking app that allows you to take a picture of a check with your mobile device and deposit that check electronically without ever visiting a branch or using an ATM.
At KS StateBank we also offer other helpful services within Mobile Banking such as Text Alerts, debit card security features and check ordering. Besides calling, you can communicate directly with us by email, text message using Text Concierge, or using Secure Message within your Online or Mobile Banking. Learn more about the services we offer and how to contact us.
Safest Place to Keep Your Money
Some banks may have adjusted hours or services to observe Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on social distancing, but that doesn’t change the fact that an FDIC-insured account remains the safest place for you to keep your money. FDIC’s Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE) can help you determine deposit insurance coverage based on accounts you already have with a bank or accounts you are considering opening. Find additional help using the EDIE Calculator at FDIC deposit insurance coverage.
As a reminder, keeping large sums of cash in your home is not advisable because it puts these funds at risk of theft, fire, flood, loss, or damage. Also, because of the physical interaction and exchange of currency, paper money has the potential of harboring germs and bacteria, another drawback of storing large sums of cash in your home.
COVID-19 Related Scams
Unfortunately, some people may take advantage of COVID-19 by using fraudulent websites, phone calls, emails, and text messages. While claiming to offer “help,” they may be trying to trick people into providing social security numbers, bank account numbers, and other valuable personal information. Do not divulge your bank or credit card numbers or any other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the conversation with the other party and you know that it is a reputable organization.
In addition, you should be cautious about online solicitations. Be on guard against imposters who contact you claiming to be government employees or volunteers and who ask for personal financial information or money.
Reject offers to cash a check for someone in exchange for a fee, even if the bank makes the funds available to you right away, as it may later turn out that the check was fraudulent. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has additional information at Avoid Coronavirus Scams.
KS StateBank Coronavirus Response
In these uncertain times, our team at KS StateBank is here for you. While we currently have limited lobby access at most of our branches, we are still available to help you at our drive ups, through Online Banking and Mobile Banking and over the phone. Visit our Coronavirus Response page for more on alternative banking options as well as other important Coronavirus related information.
Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.
Staying at home doesn’t mean your search for a new place needs to come to a standstill. Check out these tips on how to explore other neighborhoods virtually in the home buying process. You may find a spot that better suits your needs without ever leaving your living room.
- Check out neighborhood publications and local social media. Read print publications and join social media groups that connect local residents.
- Take a walk with Google. Google Street View is a great way to see the neighborhood without leaving your couch.
- Browse websites with neighborhood data. Explore reviews from local residents, cost of living statistics and more.
- Investigate schools and educational data. Rankings and reviews are key when finding the right school for your family.
- Check safety ratings. Crime rates can give you a picture of neighborhood safety, which can also impact home values.
- Understand your daily commute. How long you’ll spend getting to and from work every day is a big factor to consider.
- Call a real estate agent. Work with a trusted professional to make sure you’re always well informed by an expert.
A real estate agent can help you with all of the additional steps along the way, so you’re ready to make your next move. You can also talk with a Mortgage Loan Originator to discuss your home loan options. Contact us today to learn more!
KS StateBank | NMLS ID 410602
All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. On this day we honor and remember those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Avoid Coronavirus Scams
With scammers now taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus, The Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration recently issued a joint alert related to fraudulent product schemes. We encourage you to read tips from the FTC on how to avoid these scams. You can stay informed on these and other scams on the FTC's website.
We understand that during these unprecedented times you may have questions about our current banking operations and your financial wellbeing. Nothing is more important than the safety and health of our clients, employees and communities, and we want to assure you that we have taken steps to prepare for this difficult situation.
America’s banks, including KS StateBank, entered the current COVID-19 crisis from a position of strength thanks to record capital and liquidity levels, as well as prudent planning and risk management. We are working to respond to the needs of our consumer and business clients directly impacted while we continue to execute our own business continuity plans.
Below we’ve provided answers to some of the questions you might have right now. Please reach out to us if you have additional questions.
Is the bank open?
Yes. Our bank is open for business, but we have altered our operations to protect the safety of our team and our clients. For example, we are limiting our branch lobby access at our Kansas branches (the lobby at our Phoenix branch remains open) until we have determined it is safe to resume normal operations. We will be adhering to the latest public health guidance in making that determination. In the meantime, we encourage you to use our drive ups, mobile and online services to conduct your banking business. We are also allowing banking by appointment for some specific transactions.
Is my money safe?
The safest place for your money is in the bank. It’s FDIC-insured and it’s convenient. Our federal regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), regularly examines the bank to make sure we have detailed, tested disaster recovery procedures and business resumption plans. The FDIC has provided an FAQ for consumers that you can find here.
Which bank services are available?
While we have limited lobby access at our Kansas branches for the safety of our employees and clients, our drive ups are open and you still have access to our website as well as Online Banking and Mobile Banking. We also have Telephone Banking to conduct transactions by calling 866-587-4040. As always, you can call the bank at 800-588-6805 and we would be happy to help you.
How will I make loan payments?
You can continue to make payments as you always have. We can get you set up for automatic withdrawals from your KS StateBank account or to make an ACH debit from another financial institution. You can also mail your payments to us or drop them off at any of our locations.
My usual ATM is not accessible, where can I go to get cash?
Our ATM network is up and running. Clients may withdraw cash from their checking accounts using their debit cards. For your convenience, KS StateBank provides free withdrawals at non-KS StateBank ATMs (KS StateBank will not charge a fee, but you may still incur a charge from the other financial institutions or ATM owner). Our clients that use Checking PLUS may receive up to $25 in ATM fee refunds each statement cycle when certain qualifications are met. Please see our Personal Deposit Accounts page for more details.
For more information, visit our Coronavirus Response page.
Stay Informed and Up-to-Date
At this time it is important to stay connected and up-to-date. You can visit our website and social media sites where we are updating any changes and providing information in regards to COVID-19.
Making investment decisions is challenging for anyone. However, when you're part of a couple, the challenge is even greater. Though you and your partner may share the same dreams and goals for your life, you may not share the same investment approach to meeting them. For example, one of you may be an aggressive investor while the other may prefer a more conservative approach. One of you may be actively involved in managing finances, while the other may prefer not to be involved.
The challenge lies in finding a way to compromise. Here are some strategies that could help:
- Talk about it. Open communication is key to the health and long-term success of a relationship. It's also helpful when it comes to your joint finances. Carve out some quiet time to talk about your individual financial goals and dreams for the future.
- Find a middle ground. It's likely that you and your spouse will share a lot of the same goals. There may, however, be differences in how you approach them. For example, one of you may dream about early retirement, while the other may want to continue working for as long as they can. Try to find a middle ground.
- Prioritize and budget for your goals. Once you have a list of goals, determine which are the most important to you both. Then, think about how much you will need to achieve those goals. If you each want to save for college for a child, estimate tuition costs in the future. If you're planning for retirement, you'll have to really think about what kind of retirement you each want and make an estimate of what you need. Our online financial management tool, My Money can help. My Money is a free service found in KS StateBank Online Banking that makes it easier to stay on track, set goals, and maintain your finances.
- Understand your current investments. It's not uncommon for one partner to take a more active role in financial management. While that may work well for your relationship, it's still important that the financially passive partner have a basic understanding of your finances, accounts, holdings, insurance policies, providers, and contact information. This will ease the burden if something were to happen to the financial manager.
- Understand each other's risk tolerance. Though one partner may be more actively involved in money management, you should be aware of the other's feelings about risk — and work to compromise on how investment decisions are made. If, for example, you're an aggressive investor and your partner is more conservative, you need to work out your differences before investing. You could compromise by investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds or by investing smaller amounts.
- Consult with a neutral third-party. In some circumstances, it may benefit you and your partner to sit down with a neutral financial professional who can help you make decisions to manage your individual preferences.
By taking these steps and making your finances a priority, you and your partner can get to where you want to be...together.
Lots of us have profiles on online dating sites, apps or social media to find “the one.” But that interesting person who just messaged you could be a sweet-talking romance scammer trying to trick you into sending money.
Reports of romance scams are growing, and costing people a lot of cash. According to new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data, the number of romance scams people report to the FTC has nearly tripled since 2015. Even more, the total amount of money people reported losing in 2019 is six times higher than it was five years ago – from $33 million lost to romance scammers in 2015 to $201 million in 2019. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC.
In a sea of online profiles, romance scammers can be hard to detect. But, there are signs you can look out for. Romance scammers start by using someone else’s identity to create fake profiles. They’ll send you flattering messages to make a special connection, say all the right things, and gain your trust. They might claim to be a doctor, a servicemember, or an oil rig worker living overseas. They want to make future plans with you. But then, something comes up and they ask you for money to help them out. Which nearly always means asking you to buy gift cards (and give them the PIN, so they get the cash), or wiring them money.
Here’s the thing: Never send money or gifts to a love interest you haven’t actually met. It’s a romance scam.
- Stop communicating with the person immediately.
- Search online for the type of job the person says they have. See if other people have heard similar stories. For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.”
- Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. If it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.
- Never wire money to a stranger, or pay anyone with gift cards. If someone asks you to wire money or pay with gift cards, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
Stay Connected to All Things KS StateBank
Now it’s even easier to stay connected to what’s happening at KS StateBank! Not only can you find us on Facebook and LinkedIn, but we’re now on Instagram and Twitter as well. We’ll be sharing what’s happening in our communities, bank news, product information, financial tips and more.
Just remember not to post personal or account information on any social network. If you have a question regarding anything specific on your accounts, Client Care would be happy to help! Just give them a call at 800-588-6805.
With cyber-attacks becoming more and more sophisticated and common, and as we all become more active online, we must take steps to protect our information from cyber thieves. February 11 is Safer Internet Day, so this is a good opportunity to review some ways to keep your information safe.
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Establish strong passwords. A strong password is at least 8 to 12 characters and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using passwords based on personal or easily accessible information, such as names, birthdays and common phrases (such as “1234” or “Password”) and never share passwords with coworkers, family or friends. Use different passwords for each account and change them regularly.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Also, look for common red flags such as misspellings, grammatical errors, requests marked as “Urgent!” or “sensitive”, and/or emails from personal email addresses rather than a business email account.
- Recognize and avoid bogus website links. Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto devices and/or route users to bogus websites. Hover over suspicious links to view the actual URL that you are being routed to. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL. For example: www.ABC-Bank.com vs. ABC_Bank.com.
- Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
- Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
Taking care of elderly loved ones has become a pressing responsibility for many individuals and families today. In fact, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, about 17% of adult children will care for their parents at some point. If you find yourself in this situation now – or in the future – there are some things you can do to help your aging loved one:
- Be compassionate. The most important thing you can offer is empathy. For some families, this can be extraordinarily challenging as their aging loved ones can be having a difficult time dealing with the challenges of growing older, including failing health, financial insecurity, loss of loved ones, loneliness, and increased dependence.
- Stay connected. This is especially important if you have a parent living on their own. Carving out time for regular phone calls and visits is a great way to show them you care.
- Ask for help. Caring for your parent is likely not your only responsibility. If you need assistance, don't be afraid to call on other siblings or family members to share in the caregiving.
- Keep your parent active. Helping your aging parent stay active is important for their mental health and wellbeing and for yours as well. Find resources and activities that may be available to your parent and help them get involved.
- Attend medical appointments. As your parent ages, their health concerns may become more pressing. Accompanying them on medical appointments will ensure that their healthcare concerns are being heard, they understand options available to them, and that they are following medication and treatment instructions.
- Assist with financial and other tasks. As we age, everyday tasks, such as keeping up with the mail, paying bills, and going shopping can be difficult. Offer to bring in some help or to do some of the work for your parent.
- Practice self-care. Make sure you carve out time for yourself to de-stress and do the things you like to do. You'll be a better caregiver for it.
Join Our Team at KS StateBank!
Join our growing team and expand your career in banking. We have positions available in Commercial Lending, Mortgage Lending, Training and Retail Banking and we offer competitive pay and benefits. To learn more about these opportunities and apply, visit our Careers page.
All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, February 17 in observance of Presidents Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday,
With the start of the new year, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at your finances and work on any potential trouble spots. For many of us – between student loan payments, car loans and mortgages – living with and managing debt has become part of our normal lives. For others though, debt can be a serious problem that can cause financial stress, insomnia, and relationship problems.
One of the biggest problems for those living with the burden of debt is that they fail to recognize they have a problem – until it's too late. There are, however, some clear signs that indicate when debt is a problem. These warning signs include:
- You can afford only minimum monthly payments. Paying only the minimum on revolving debt, such as your credit cards, will result in substantial interest fees – and could take you years to pay off the debt.
- You can't meet your regular expenses. If you need to borrow from your friends or family members or take cash advances on your credit cards to pay your phone bill or your car payment, you have a debt problem.
- Your debt is growing. Are you aware of the amount of money you owe? Take the time to add up your debt. Then, determine if you're debt is staying the same or increasing each month. If you're not paying down debt, you have a problem.
- Your credit score is declining. If you have a high percentage of debt and you are late or delinquent on your payments, your credit score will reflect that.
- You have no money to save. From car repairs to medical bills, life is full of unexpected expenses. That is why it's essential to have an emergency fund to help pay for them. If you have to use credit to pay for unexpected expenses, you will end up accumulating additional debt.
- Bill collectors call you. Do you find yourself screening your phone calls for debt collectors? If you're receiving calls, it means that you've fallen behind on your payments. Ignoring the calls won't make them or your debt problem go away.
- Have you applied for a new credit card, mortgage, or car loan and been denied? A denial means that a lender does not believe you have the capacity to pay back your loan.
- You frequently overdraw your bank account. If you have an overdrawn account, it means you are spending more money than you have. Take a look at your spending to uncover ways to cut expenses.
- You're losing sleep. If you're staying up at night worrying about how you're going to pay your bills, you definitely have a problem.
- You hide your debt. Neglecting to tell your partner or other family members about the debt you have is a sure sign you have a problem.
If you are exhibiting these signs of debt, it's important to act immediately. Speak with a nonprofit credit counselor or an experienced financial advisor. Don't delay as ignoring your debt problem will only cost you more.
We also offer My Money, a free online financial management tool found in your KS StateBank Online Banking account. My Money can help you stay on track, set goals and maintain your finances.
The holidays may be over, but many of us are still making lists. Only instead of writing down what we want to buy, we're thinking about what we want to change about ourselves with our annual New Year's resolutions. Despite our high hopes and big plans, many of us usually don't get very far into the year before we break those resolutions.
It's never a bad idea to think about ways to improve your life, but instead of making resolutions, make a fresh start by taking these important steps:
- Reflect. Life is always moving, but take some time to stop and reflect on the past year. What were you most proud of? What was most difficult for you? What would you like to change?
- Set priorities. As you reflect on your life, think about what matters most to you. Is it your family? Your career? A passion you have for something? Once you assign your priorities, start allocating your time accordingly. Then, you can spend more time on what's important to you and less time on things that aren't.
- Set goals and work toward them. Is there something you would like to accomplish in the New Year? For example, do you want to write a book? Or make a career change? Once you determine your goal, list some small steps you can take to work toward it.
- Simplify. If you feel you don't have enough time, cut back on some of your lesser responsibilities. You can also simplify your life by getting rid of material things you don't need.
- Be positive. Instead of focusing on the things you can't or didn't do, focus on the things you've done well. Destructive emotions, such as guilt or anger won't help you improve your life. By being positive, you'll attract other positive people.
- Enjoy life. We all have responsibilities, but life is very precious and short. Make sure you carve out time to do the things you love to do and spend time with the people who mean the most to you.
So go ahead ... make a fresh start in the New Year by following these simple steps. You'll be glad you did.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, January 21.
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