Bath State Bank will be closed on Monday, October 10th in observance of Columbus Day. Our Bank by Mouse and Bank Easy phone teller will be available for your convenience. Thank you.
As recovery efforts continue in areas hit hard by mother nature’s recent bi-coastal punch, scammers are not far behind. They see tragedy as opportunity, and they'll use the devastation caused by severe storms — like Typhoon Merbok, Hurricane Fiona and now Hurricane Ian — to try to take advantage of those affected as well as of anyone who tries to help financially. That's why it's so important to know how to spot the scams that often follow natural disasters.
If you suffered damage from one of the recent storms: Scammers may approach you to clean up debris, pose as a government official, or offer to help you get aid for a fee. Walk away from anyone who demands personal information or money upfront. That’s always a scam. Find more on how to deal with and recover from disasters at ftc.gov/weatheremergencies.
If you want to donate to victims of the recent Hurricane: Here’s how to make sure your money goes to the people you want to help:
- Don't assume that familiar-sounding names or messages posted on social media are legitimate.
- Donate to charities YOU know and trust and with a proven record of dealing with disasters.
- Be cautious about giving to individuals on crowdfunding sites. It’s safest to give to someone you personally know and trust.
- If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, by wiring money or cryptocurrency --- DON'T DO IT! Instead, pay by credit card, which offers more protections, or by check.
- You’ll have to verify your identity at least once on each device you sign in with, but as long as you check a box to “Remember You On This Device,” you won’t need to be sent another code in the future on that device.
- The code will always be 6 digits long.
- You can easily reset your password yourself if you forget it.
Attention Bath State Bank App Users and Bank by Mouse Users:
Please note that we have a new design and link for our BSB online banking software. The new URL or subdomain for Bank by Mouse online banking software is https://my.BathStateBank.com. The link on our homepage (above) will be directed to this subdomain after clicking on Online Banking Login.
For mobile banking users, you will need to re-download the Bath State Bank app to your device from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store for free. If you are an App user, you may also visit our web site to click a direct link near the bottom of the homepage. In addition, a two-factor authentication will include your user name and password, and a prompt to enroll your email or cell phone for a verification code at each log in. Two factor authentication helps protect our customers from unauthorized access to digital banking accounts. Best of all, you can easily reset your password yourself if you forget it. How awesome is that?
If you experience any problems with this, please give us a call at 765-732-3022. We know that you’ll enjoy the new features to our enhanced online banking product.
Going “green” often means reducing carbon emissions, consuming less energy, or cleaning our water and air. But, have you thought about it in regards to saving your time as well? There are steps you can take with your finances to go “green” that might save you time, money and possibly reduce your carbon footprint!
Banking electronically: There are many ways to save yourself a trip to the Bank.
- Sign up for electronic statements (eStatements). You can save a lot of trees by switching from paper copies, especially when inserts and envelopes are included. You can still download a digital copy of your statement to a secure location to have for your immediate access.
- Use electronic bill pay versus paper checks. Set them to pay automatically to take the hassle out of paying bills.
- Direct deposit your paycheck. You will receive your money faster and you will save a trip to the Bank.
- Use mobile apps to deposit checks remotely. Ask us about our mobile apps or visit here for more information. It’s easy!
- Transfer funds online. If you need to transfer funds from one account to another, do it online so you don’t have to drive to the Bank.
- Set up account alerts. Alerts can be used for low balances to avoid overdrafts, and to keep track of your account activity, debit card usage, direct deposit notifications, password changes or unusual activity. If you are looking for a specific alert, sign-up for Bank by Mouse to set your alerts.
Safely recycle: Safely recycle your paperwork whenever possible, but be sure to destroy your financial information properly to maintain your financial privacy. Many communities sponsor secured shredding days. Check your local government’s web site.
Keep your financial records based on retention requirements. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers suggestions on how long to keep tax returns based on your tax filing situation. Be sure to save your digital records in a safe place.
Cancel junk mail: We often think of high tech ways to steal a person’s information, but mail theft is still a concern. Thieves may target mailboxes looking for pre-approved credit cards and insurance offers. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you can opt out of some junk mail for five years or sometimes permanently. This can save you the inconvenience of dealing with credit card theft, and you may help save a few trees.
These are some little changes can save you time and money, and make the world a little greener, too. - FTC
You’ve probably already heard about the new government plan that will forgive some federal student loans, once it’s up and running. Also in the news: the federal student loan payment pause has been extended to December 31, 2022. But scammers are watching the news, too, so know this: you don’t need to do anything or pay anybody to sign up for the new program — or the pause. Nobody can get you in early, help you jump the line, or guarantee eligibility. And anybody who says they can — or tries to charge you — is (1) a liar, and (2) a scammer.
Right now, the Department of Education is working hard on the details of the new pl: who’s eligible and how to apply to get your student loan debt cancelled. It won’t happen overnight, and they’ll announce it widely when the program opens up for debt forgiveness. Sign up for Department of Education updates to be notified when the process has officially opened.
Meanwhile, check on your federal loan servicer: be sure you know who they are, and that they have your most recent contact info. That will help you get the latest on the cancellation and pause.
Also, remember that there’s a whole separate program you might be eligible for: the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) program. If you’re eligible, you’ll get federal student loan forgiveness after you have 120 qualifying payments. And until October 31, 2022, the limited waiver offers additional credit for time that previously didn’t count. Check out the PSLF Help Tool to learn more.
And remember: don’t pay anybody who promises you early or special access, or guaranteed eligibility. Those are scams. If you spot one, tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. -- Supplied by the FTC
No one likes to contemplate their mortality. The old saying goes “you can’t take it with you,” but that leaves the question: What happens to the bank accounts that you leave behind? While the departed aren’t concerned, their heirs are affected by how the deceased set up or didn’t set up their bank accounts. The latter will leave a headache.
If the sole owner of a BSB account dies: What happens next depends on a few factors.
- If the deceased account holder established someone as a beneficiary (or account as Payable on Death or Transferable on Death to another person), the Bank will release the funds to the named person once it learns of the account holder’s death and is provided a death certificate. After that, the account is typically closed.
- If the owner of the account didn’t name a beneficiary or a POD, the process can get more complicated. The executor, or person who administers a person’s estate when he or she dies, will become responsible for using the money to repay creditors and divide the remaining funds according to the deceased’s will.
If it is a BSB joint account: Joint bank accounts include automatic rights of survivorship. In short, if one of the owners on the account passes away, the remaining owner (or owners) on the account retain ownership of the money in the account. That means that the surviving account owner can continue using the account, and the money in it, without any interruptions. Still, if you’re an owner on a joint account, it’s worth checking to make sure that the account has automatic rights of survivorship. Some banks will freeze joint accounts if one of the signers dies, which could be a problem if you rely on the account for regular spending.
Avoiding complications: Take the time to create proactive measures to help your loved ones avoid a headache of complications if you die.
- Authorized signers and Power of Attorney (POA) cease at death. For example: If you are listed as Power of Attorney for your mother’s checking account, this ceases on an account upon the death of the owner. Joint owners, POD and TOD accounts allow for the direct transfer of funds. Keep in mind, a POA cannot name themselves as a joint owner without the other owner’s consent and signature.
- Make sure that your family knows about all of your financial accounts. With the rise of online banking, it’s much easier for accounts to get lost in the shuffle. A good strategy is to consolidate your accounts to leave fewer accounts for your family to track down.
- Remember, it is illegal to withdraw money from an open account of someone who has died before you have informed the bank of the death and been granted probate, unless you are the other person named on a joint account. This is the case even if you need to access some of the money to pay for the funeral.
- You’ll also become fully responsible for paying any tax that comes due on income earned by the account when you take sole ownership of the account after the date of death.
No one likes to contemplate their mortality but making basic preparations with your finances can save your loved ones from financial stress while grieving your loss.
Do you happen to have Bath State Bank memorabilia that you’d like to loan us prior to our 100th celebration in June 2024? Please let us know by giving us a call or dropping your item off at any BSB location. Please include your name, town and phone number. Also, we are interested in knowing about the origin of the item.
We will keep your BSB souvenir secure in our display case, then we will return this to you and your family after the celebration. Thank you for your consideration.
According to First Orion data, the top-5 scam call types by volume are vehicle warranty, health insurance, social security, Medicare and healthcare. Unsurprisingly, the report’s top scam type for almost every month this year was the vehicle warranty scam.
Top 5 Scams: Vehicle Warranty
- Vehicle Warranty scams try to sound legitimate by using language like “expired coverage,” “vehicle service contract” and “final courtesy call.”
- Calls are often spoofed to look like numbers in the same area or state where the person lives, which is a tactic called neighborhood spoofing. Other calls use toll-free numbers as spoofing tactic.
- Here’s what one survey respondent said they experienced with a scammer: “The most recent one was regarding an extended warranty. I did not recognize the phone number but was expecting a call from a contractor, so I answered it. When I answered I heard a beep and then a man say my name waiting for me to respond with a yes. I hung up at this point.”
Top 5 Scams: Healthcare
- Healthcare scams often target seniors, uninsured consumers, parents or consumers with chronic issues like diabetes.
- The scammer often identifies themselves as a representative from Consumer Council, Senior Aide, Senior Aide Helper or United Advisors.
- They often leave messages that offer healthcare benefits and discount quotes on insurance, hearing aids, etc.
- Another surveyor had this encounter with a healthcare scammer: “A person called me on the phone and introduced themself as a branded insurance company manager. They took a comment about the policy, then slowly started with an amazing offer . . . I realized it was fraud, I said I don’t want this policy. Then I hung up the phone call.”
Top 5 Scams: Social Security
- There are two primary types of Social Security scams: Fraudulent activity and the promotion of eligible benefits.
- When scammers claim there is “suspicious” activity on a person’s account, they’re more likely to react quickly to protect their personal information. The sense of urgency is what scammers bank on with this tactic.
- Scams claiming social security eligibility are similar to any other benefit-offering scam tactic. A “once in a lifetime offer” or “press one to get this amazing opportunity” are common phrases used by scammers.
Top 5 Scams: Medicare
- Medicare scam calls often ask for a person’s Medicare number and other associated information. These scams are often easy to believe, particularly when they know the age or other personal information of the person they are calling.
- Another tactic that scam callers are using is neighborhood spoofing. They rapidly rotate numbers and include toll-free call-back numbers in their scams.
- A survey respondent said that a scammer attempted to sell them Medicare when they didn’t need it: “They were trying to sell me Medicare . . . but I have private insurance. I’ve tried to remove my number/name and block anyone from out of state, but nothing changes that. I’ve had this cell number for years.”
Top 5 Scams: Health Insurance
- The health insurance scams overlap with the Medicare scams and use a lot of the same techniques and messaging to fraud consumers.
- Open enrollment periods are often peak times for these types of scams, but we see healthcare-related scam activity all year. Scams tactics include offers to fix an enrollment, a claim issue, a special offer or a gift for signing up.
So, we know who is affected by these scammers, but where are these scams happening most often? Phone scams are everywhere, but there are certain spots scammers like to pester, time and time again. If you’re in Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma or Texas, First Orion found that those may be at risk of receiving more scam calls than in other states.
Scam Trends on the Rise
- Life Insurance : In the last 90 days, First Orion’s data shows that life insurance scams have surged by more than 5,000%. Yikes! If there’s anyone you shouldn’t trust with life insurance, it’s a scammer on the other line. The tactic with this scam uses phrases like “approval at the state level” for a discounted senior plan and promises 100% coverage for funeral costs.
Don’t answer unknown numbers. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.
If you have received any suspicious or scam-like calls, be sure to report your findings to the FTC.
With technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with others and people are just a click or call away. Nobody knows that better than scammers — who might try to contact you about a supposed virus or malware they’ve “found” on your device. So, if someone unexpectedly calls or messages you, claiming your computer’s security is at risk, it’s a scam.
Yes, it’s alarming to get this kind of random notification, especially if it sounds serious and looks legitimate. Scammers often pretend they’re tech support from a well-known company such as Microsoft or Apple. They expect you to open an email, text or pop-up if you see a familiar name. They may also try calling you, hoping you’ll react to an “urgent problem” with your computer.
That’s how they get your personal information or money to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
Here’s what to do:
- If you get an unexpected call saying there’s a problem with your computer, hang up. It’s a scam.
- Don’t click any links in an unexpected message or email. Never call phone numbers left in voicemails, emails, texts or social media messages.
- Don’t give your personal or bank information in response to an unexpected request. Legitimate organizations won’t call or message asking for your credit card or bank account number or your password.
- Update your computer’s security software. If you suspect a computer problem, run a security scan to find and remove malware. Turn on automatic updates so your security software can keep up with the latest protections against security threats.
You might know these calls, messages and pop-ups are fakes — but you probably know someone who doesn’t. Please share this info with your friends and family.
— FTC Consumer News
Scammers stop at little to take money from victims, often using consumers’ financial anxieties to lure them in. A flurry of recent reports shows that fraudsters are looking to cash in on consumers’ latest worry: high gas prices.
Specifically, criminals are posting ads on social media and elsewhere promising fuel gift cards — loaded with hundreds of dollars. To get the card, the potential victim just has to fill out a form and pay a small fee. The advertisements use popular oil corporations’ names and branding to seem like legitimate offerings from Shell, ExxonMobil and others.
These fake gift cards are often presented under the guise of a survey, loyalty program or sweepstakes from one of these gas companies. Some of the posts have even presented the gift cards as a gift to customers from the company in order to help individuals defray rising gasoline costs.
In reality, by filling out the form, the consumer is providing their personal and financial information to the fraudsters, only to receive nothing in return. Scammers are able to use this information to commit identity fraud or even drain the victim’s bank account. It’s also possible that they’ll request the consumer pay a fee for the delivery of the “gift card” or another bogus reason. To be clear, no oil company is distributing gift cards worth hundreds of dollars via social media accounts named “Gas Today Credit” or similar aliases.
What to do if you see offers for $500 fuel gift cards, or similar claims:
- Check for verified accounts. While these scams may appear convincing, they almost always appear from non-official sources. These may be unverified social media accounts or copycat web sites that contain misspellings in the URL. Verified company social media accounts will have a blue checkmark or other similar indicators next to their names to indicate authenticity. While a blue check mark isn’t a 100% guarantee of authenticity, looking for it can help to weed out advertisements from non-official accounts.
- Don’t provide personal information to requests originating from social media. If the survey, loyalty program, or sweepstakes is genuine, it should appear on an official web site for the company. If the company isn’t promoting the survey or sweepstakes on their official web site, there’s a high likelihood that the ad you’re seeing is a scam.
- Gas companies do not give away hundreds of dollars worth of fuel in exchange for filling out a survey. Beware of any claim to offer valuable fuel in exchange for personal information.
- Sweepstakes don’t require a purchase in order to enter. If you’re being asked to pay a fee in order to obtain a “free” fuel gift cards (or any other prize, for that matter), it is almost certainly a scam.
Be an ally in the fight against fraud!
If you suspect that you or someone you know has become a victim of one of these scams or any other fraud, don’t just delete the message — report it at once to the social media platform. You can file a complaint at Fraud.org via our online complaint form. We’ll share your complaint with our network of law enforcement and consumer protection agency partners who can investigate and help put fraudsters behind bars. -- In Fraud Alerts