We saw it all last week: Arctic blasts, burst pipes, power outages, and collapsed buildings, scammers aren’t far behind with weather-related scams.
Scammers know severe weather may have shut off your electricity, heat, and water and might pose as your utility company. They might call to say that they’re sorry your power went out and offer a reimbursement, but first they need your bank account information. (Red Flag )
They might email you to say that there’s an error in their system, and you have to give them personal information so they can turn your gas on again. They could even threaten to leave your utilities shut off if you don’t send them money immediately. But those are all lies.
If you get one of these calls, texts, or emails, here are some things you can do:
Thank the caller and hang up. Never call a number left in a voicemail, text, or email. Instead, if you’re worried, contact the utility company directly using the number on your bill or on the company’s website. Verify if the message came from them.
If you get a call out of the blue and the caller claims you have to pay a past due bill or your services will be shut off, never give banking information over the phone. To pay your bill over the phone, always place the call to a number you know is legitimate.
Utility companies don’t demand payment information by email, text, or phone. And they won’t force you to pay by phone as your only option.
If the caller tells you to pay by gift card, cash reload card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency, it’s a scam. Every time. No matter what they say.
Help protect your community by reporting any scams you see at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The Federal Trade Commission is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to help you guard against potential census scams. Knowing how the 2020 Census process works, what information you will — and won’t — be asked for, and some red flags will help you spot and report scams.
The Census Bureau will NEVER ask for:
-your full Social Security number
-bank account or credit card numbers
-money or donations
-anything on behalf of a political party
The Office of Financial Institutions has shared the following ALERT: Cyber criminals are sending phishing emails to various state, local, tribal, and territorial government recipients.
These emails include a malicious link to a phony SBA website that the criminals are using to steal login credentials.
The phishing email contains:
A subject line, SBA Application – Review and Proceed
A sender, marked as [email protected][.] gov
Text in the email body urging the recipient to click on a hyperlink to address:
The domain resolves to IP address: 162.214.104[.]246
Here is a screenshot of the webpage arrived at by clicking on the hyperlink:
Please be advised: letters that reference GBT have been sent out from “ClearPath Lending.” The “Payment Reduction Notice” states that the individual’s VA loan may be eligible for an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan. The phone number listed is not a GBT number.
As it states on the backside of the letter, “ClearPath Lending” is not affiliated with GBT in any way and no loan information has been provided to them. Mortgage companies are taking advantage of a federal law that allows them to identify potential customers using publicly available information.
These are tough times, with many confused and uncertain about their financial future. It is at times like this that scammers are the most active, and we have to pay special attention to make ourselves less vulnerable.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, a well-organized Nigerian crime ring is committing large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. The fraud network is believed to consist of hundreds of “mules,” willing or unwitting individuals, who are recruited to help launder the proceeds of fraudulent financial transactions.
Here’s how it’s happening:
Individuals are receiving multiple automatic deposits from state unemployment insurance programs. In almost every case, the deposits were made in the name of a person who had no connection to the account holder. Although the primary state targeted is Washington; there is also evidence of attacks happening in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
If you receive an unexpected automatic deposit consider the following:
If you received an unexpected automatic deposit, especially from a state unemployment program, and answered yes to any of these questions, contact Gibsland Bank & Trust immediately.
You’ve been invited to check out a retailer to secretly shop their store and evaluate the quality of service, product availability and the best part – keep the items plus earn a paycheck. It really does sound like a too good to be a true opportunity, however, such a job does exist and is sanctioned by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) mspa-global.org. Naturally, for every good opportunity, there is a scam behind it.
GBT has recently been made aware that counterfeit GBT money orders are being mailed out by criminals in conjunction with a mystery shopper scam. We are receiving calls from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Tennessee that letters have been received by people who have not applied to become a mystery shopper.
Most of the counterfeit money orders are for the amount of $1,978.77 and have a check number starting with 481.
If the money order you have matches those, it is most likely fraudulent.
You may email any questions regarding these counterfeit money orders to Scott Spillers: [email protected]
Remember: Legitimate companies don’t charge people to work for them – they pay people to work for them.
Read more from the BBB here: https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/19227-secret-shopper-sounds-cool-until-its-a-scam
As students prepare to graduate and head off to college or begin their professional careers, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and Gibsland Bank & Trust (GBT) want to remind them of the importance of planting seeds for their financial future.
“Graduation is an exciting time for many students transitioning from the classroom to the ‘real world’ and starting to establish their financial independence,” said Andy Gilbert, CPA and Chief Financial Officer at GBT. “As your local community bank, we can work with recent graduates to set them up for success by creating a financial plan that incorporates their short and long-term financial goals. Remember, the financial decisions you make now will affect your future.”
GBT offers the following tips to help new graduates take control of their finances:
“This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment—and financial matters are no different,” said Gilbert. “We congratulate this year’s graduating class and wish them a prosperous and secure future.”
Gibsland Lions Club is now accepting scholarship applications from graduating students who live in the 71028 zip code. Applications must be submitted by May 13th, 2019.
Please mail to:
Gibsland Lions Club Scholarship Committee
Attn: John Cole, Chairperson
PO Box 180
Gibsland, LA 71028
Click here to download Application: Gibsland Lions Club Scholarship Application
As Americans kick off the spring season by cleaning, sorting and tidying up around the house, the American Bankers Association and Gibsland Band & Trust is encouraging consumers to add financial organization to their spring cleaning to-do list. To help, ABA has highlighted six tips for organizing your financial house.
“People are motivated to get things done when the weather warms up and the flowers bloom, which makes it an ideal time to look closely at your savings and spending habits,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “Putting in the work now will help you live your best life in the months ahead.”
ABA recommends these six tips to help consumers organize their finances:
Another New Year means it is time once again for National Clean Off Your Desk Day. There are many reasons why this is an important task to help kick your new year off with a strong start.
If you’re shopping around for a new car, RV or boat, beware of criminals who are posting online ads for items that they do not own.
Be very cautious especially if the seller suggests using a third party to handle the transaction. We have been informed of local residents falling victim to this type of scam. They found a vehicle they wanted to purchase online and began email correspondence with an individual. The individual directed them to wire the money to a third-party shipping company. Turns out that neither the company nor the vehicle actually exist.
Consumers recount almost identical stories to BBB where they find cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, boats, jet skis, semi-trucks or farm equipment at too-good-to-be-true prices ranging from $3,000 to $15,000 primarily on local Craigslists, Autotrader and local free print publications. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is! Please read the details about this type of scam in the BBB link below.
Read more from the BBB here: https://www.bbb.org/en/us/article/news-releases/17905-vehicle-shippers-springing-up-on-internet-may-be-scams-bbb-warns
Depending what type of documents you’re dealing with, you need to store some of them for certain periods of time, others you can digitize, and others you can throw away or shred.
Keep physical copies of forever:
Keep for certain period of time:
Keep the most recent version of:
Social security statements
Documents to Shred (anything that has personal information like your name, address, phone number, social security number, or bank account information):
Please be advised that fraudulent postcards are being sent to people around the country from “Mortgage Protection Services”.
The cards ask people to call a 1-800 number regarding an important matter with their mortgage or loan from GBT. The phone number and account number listed are NOT GBT numbers. This is a fraudulent attempt to collect personal information. DO NOT CALL. As it states on the postcard, “Mortgage Protection Services” is not affiliated with GBT any way and no loan information has been provided to them.
If you have recently purchased or refinanced your home, expect to get multiple offers from companies selling mortgage protection insurance. Many of these offers are scams. The scammers use publicly available loan data to contact potential victims, as with the postcard above. The scammers will attempt to obtain your personal information in order to commit identity theft. Contact your local GBT Branch Office with questions or concerns.
The senders of these emails do not represent GBT.
Please Do NOT reveal your information to them.
How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money? If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.
The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.
Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:
At the bank
When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Ask the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works. Ask the manager for a tour—be sure to ask to see the vault.
Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.
At the store
It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different items at a store. Fruits and veggies are a need; Candy, toys or expensive cereals are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands. You can hold up two items and compare pricing and make a decision together on which you should choose.
Chores and allowances
Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a new toy, and figure out how to achieve it.
Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.
Using credit cards
Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit and credit cards.
While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal
information and privacy is to you, to them and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information. Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.
Planning a vacation
Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.
An introduction to Cybersecurity including Myths, Top Challenges, and Simple Steps to Cybersecurity
What is a corporate account takeover?
Simply put, corporate account takeover is the business equivalent of personal identity theft. Hackers, backed by professional criminal organizations, are targeting small and medium businesses to obtain access to their web banking credentials or remove control of their computers.
These backers will then drain the deposit and credit lines of the compromised bank accounts, funneling the funds through mules that quickly redirect the monies overseas into backers accounts. A computer can be compromised very easily by visiting an infected website or by simply opening an email.
There has been a steady increase in account takeovers since 2009 resulting in billions of dollars of damage.Security best practices
When it comes to protecting sensitive financial information from hackers, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned knowledge.
As a business owner, you should have a level of understanding about how to secure your computers that allows you to take proactive steps and avoid, or at least minimize most threats.
Experts advise following best practices including using a dedicated computer, keeping patches and anti-virus up to date, installing a host based firewall, verifying all transactions before approving and reviewing bank transactions daily.
These best practices should be the minimum security baseline for every company’s online banking transactions.Steps for better security
Warning signs of a system or network compromise
Examples of deceptive ways criminals contact account holders
If you believe your Gibsland Bank & Trust account has been compromised contact us immediately.
The one-time refers to the security code being good for one-time only, not that the authentication security will occur one time. It will be at least once from each device and it also depends on your computer settings. Below are some FAQ’s that may help:Advanced Login Authentication FAQs OLB Device Profile
Q: Why did I have to go through the additional authentication process? (Why did I get stepped up?)
A: Most common reason would be this is a new device profile identified for the customer or there has not been enough consistent use of the Device to confirm the correlation.
Because the Device Profiling looks at many factors together, as well as a system cookie and a Flash Object from a prior session, there are some instances where changes to a combination of factors would trigger a risk score that requires additional authentication.
These situations are difficult to pinpoint and difficult to explain but essential to appropriate assessment of risk.
Suggested response to consumers: We recently upgraded our security system and our system controls are asking you to confirm your PC and network path before proceeding. Please follow the instructions to provide additional authentication so the system can learn this profile is safe and you can access the system from this profile in the future.
Q: Are there adjustments that can made to my PC to make it work better?
A: There are some settings in a PC that make Device Profile work more effectively. Essentially these settings will expose more of the PC Profile to the Device Review so make it easier for the system to tell the legitimate customer from a fraud attempt.
If a user continues to get stepped up over and over, we have found that sometimes users’ browsers don’t encrypt the Device ID correctly and therefore cannot be recognized as a previously used Device.
Here are some hints we have found helpful in resolving client-side issues that prevent device from properly registering and resulting in users being stepped on every login:
Additionally some browser software/plug-ins stops items from loading and can limit our ability to recognize their system.
Helpful Hints for repeated step-up (step-up is the phone text or phone voice)
If user continues to get stepped up over and over, we have found that sometimes user’s browsers don’t encrypt the Device ID correctly and therefore cannot be recognized as a previously used Device. Here are some hints we have found helpful in resolving client-side issues that prevent device from properly registering and resulting in users being c stepped on every login:
Updating Safari settings on an IPad/IPhone
View Step-by-Step process in PDF
Gibsland Bank & Trust customers should be aware that fraudulent emails (“Phishing,” pronounced fishing) are being sent to some U.S. residents. These unsolicited “phony” emails are sent to random email addresses hoping to trick recipients into revealing their credit card or banking account numbers, PIN numbers, and/or online banking login data.
GBT policy does not allow requests for confidential information (passwords or PIN numbers) through regular email. Contact your local GBT Branch Office with questions or concerns.
The senders of these emails do not represent GBT. Please Do NOT reveal your information to them.The UIGEA, signed into law in 2006, prohibits any person engaged in the business of betting or wagering (as defined in the Act) from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful internet gambling. The Dept of Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board have issued a joint final rule, Regulation GG, to implement this Act.
As defined in Regulation GG, unlawful Internet gambling means to “place, receive or otherwise knowingly transmit a bet or wager by any means which involves the use, at least in part, of the internet where such bet or wager is unlawful under any applicable Federal or State law in the State or Tribal lands in which the bet or wager is initiated, received or otherwise made”.
As a customer of Gibsland Bank & Trust these restricted transactions are prohibited from being processed through your account or banking relationship with us. Restricted transactions are transactions in which a person accepts credit, funds, instruments or other proceeds from another person in connection with unlawful Internet gambling.
If you do engage in an Internet gambling business and open a new account with us, you must provide evidence of your legal capacity to do so.
Be cautious when accepting $20 and $10 bills. A significant number of counterfeit bills have been detected in the Northwest Louisiana region in the past months.
All of the $20 bills contain the same serial number: JJ05094677B, blue ink in the top left corner of the face of the bill, the number 150 written upside down on the left hand side, close to the middle of the bill, and are 2009 series.
Some, but not all, of the $10 bills contain the same serial number: ML54581685A and are 2013 series.
Additional characteristics of the counterfeit currency are:
Click here for a document provided by the United States Secret Service, describing the security features in the most recently issued bills.
You’ve just won a lottery or sweepstakes that you didn’t even know you had entered!
Sounds too good to be true? You’re right! Odds are it’s a scam.
Maybe it happened like this…
What should you do?
Hang up the phone! Ignore the email! Shred the letter!
Never wire or send money to anyone, anywhere, who says you’ve won a prize.
The checks associated with lottery and sweepstakes scams are fraudulent. These counterfeit checks can sometimes take several days to be discovered and returned to GBT unpaid. You are responsible for any check(s) you cash or deposit into your account. If you should cash or deposit a check that is returned for any reason, you are fully responsible for loss related to the fraudulent check. In most cases, GBT can immediately debit your account(s) or file litigation to recover the money.
Older Americans are often targeted by scammers. If you’re a caregiver for family or a friend, warn them about lottery and sweepstakes scams.
To learn more about protecting yourself and others, visit: