Quick Links

Customer Awareness Center

The FDIC Offers Tips on Choosing and Using the Right Bank Account

The FDIC Offers Tips on Choosing and Using the Right Bank Account

Having a bank account brings important benefits, including deposit insurance and access to a variety of financial services. The latest FDIC Consumer News features simple tips on how to choose and manage a checking or savings account wisely. The Summer 2016 edition also has articles on depositing a check using a smartphone or tablet, avoiding credit and debit card frauds, and preparing financially for a flood, fire or other disaster. Here is an overview of what is in this issue.

Choosing and Using the Right Bank Account: With so many options for checking and savings accounts, FDIC Consumer News encourages people to think about how they want to handle their money on a daily basis and what they consider to be their longer-term financial goals. For instance, before deciding on a particular bank account, consumers may want to reflect on how they pay for purchases and how often they make deposits. Comparison shopping can save consumers money because fees and interest rates will vary from institution to institution.

Precautions to Take When Depositing a Check with Your Smartphone or Tablet: More consumers are starting to use a banking service often called "remote deposit capture" (RDC), which enables them to deposit a check into their account from anywhere they can access their account remotely. FDIC Consumer News describes how to understand a bank's RDC policies and fees, monitor a bank account to confirm when funds from deposited checks will be available, and take other steps to avoid potential problems.

When Small Charges Can Signal a Big Crime: Most people looking at their bank statements would probably notice if their credit or debit card were used without their approval to buy a big ticket item. But consumers are less likely to be suspicious of very small charges, including those less than a dollar. That's why thieves who fraudulently create counterfeit cards might conduct small transactions as a test to see if the purchases go through and are unnoticed by the true account holders ... before they start conducting big transactions. FDIC Consumer News offers tips for consumers on how to protect themselves.

How to Prepare Financially for a Disaster: Without warning, a flood, fire or other disaster could leave individuals with a severely damaged home, destroyed belongings and barriers to managing their finances. FDIC Consumer News recommends having a disaster plan that includes periodically reviewing property insurance coverage, building and maintaining an emergency savings fund, setting up direct deposit of paychecks or government benefits, and gathering and protecting important financial documents. These precautions can have a major effect on access to cash and financial services immediately following a disaster.

FDIC Encourages Consumers to Develop a Plan to Save Toward Their Goals

FDIC Encourages Consumers to Develop a Plan to Save Toward Their Goals America Saves Week is February 22—February 27, 2016

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) encourages consumers to use America Saves Week as a time to begin or continue saving toward financial goals.

FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said: "Making regular savings deposits – even small ones – into a federally insured financial institution is a safe way to work toward your financial goals. During America Saves Week, I encourage consumers to set up automatic, recurring deposits into savings accounts to help meet savings goals. And, parents can help their children explore opportunities for youth savings accounts to build stronger financial futures together."

America Saves Week, which runs between February 22 and February 27, is an annual opportunity for organizations to encourage consumers to make a savings commitment and to provide helpful resources. The FDIC has educational resources, such as Money Smart, which has a "Pay Yourself First" module on saving.

To learn more about America Saves Week and savings-related resources from the FDIC, visit www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/savings.html.

Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's banks and savings associations, 6,270 as of September 30, 2015. It promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars—insured financial institutions fund its operations.

Situational Awareness and Personal Security

Personal Safety Tips:

Home

  • Remove your home address from your GPS in your car.
  • Install security pins in your windows.
  • Lock the door from your living space to the garage.
  • Do not leave personal items near doors or entryways at home.

Shopping/Outings

  • Always lock your car doors immediately upon entering the vehicle.
  • If you are forced off the road, bring attention to yourself by continuously blowing your horn.
  • Never get into a car even if you have a weapon pointed at you. 
  • Use caution when leaving a mall or store with packages.
  • Be aware of other cars parked near yours, especially vans.
  • Make sure to gas up at a well- lit station and keep car doors locked. 
  • If alone, use the pumps nearest to the business so that you are visible to station employees.

Travel

  • Never post your travel plans on social websites.
  • Remove your address from luggage tags.
  • Set your home security system while away from home.

General/Miscellaneous

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Never give out personal information on the internet or social media sites.
  • The bank will never contact you and ask for your account information.
  • Put a rubber band around your wallet if you put it in your back pocket or carry in your front pocket.
  • Shred confidential papers or mailed credit card offers.
  • Drop paid bills into a USPS mailbox rather than in your mailbox at home.
  • Create passwords that are not common information about you, i.e. pet/children’s names, etc.

Did You Know?

  • There are countries that the United States Government does not allow us to do business with?  Check with your local branch to find out if the foreign country you do business with is on the list!
  • You can still buy savings bonds?  Go to www.treasurydirect.gov for more information.
  • Your credit score can vary greatly from one credit agency to another?  Below is the contact information the three major consumer credit reporting agencies.
  • Equifax 1-800-525-6285
    www.equifax.com
    Experian 1-888-397-3742
    www.experian.com
    TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
    www.transunion.com
  • You can find information or search for a company registered in Georgia? Go to the Georgia Secretary of State website www.sos.georgia.gov to find information.

Fraudulent Scams to watch for

  • Phishing Scam is usually an attempt to deceive you into thinking a legitimate organization is requesting information from you.  These requests may look innocent at first glance or seem to come from a legitimate source, but they are not.  This is a scam where Internet fraudsters send spam or a pop-up message to lure personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. 
  • Pharming Scam is a cyber- attack intended to redirect a website’s traffic to another, bogus site. Pharming may cause users to find themselves on an illegitimate website without realizing they have been redirected to an impostor site, which may look exactly like the real site. 
  • Spear Phishing, a form of phishing, is an email that appears to come from an employer or another legitimate source and it usually includes a link leading to a fake web site that requests personal information.  The link that is clicked on contains malware and once downloaded to your computer, it collects your personal information and transmits it to the criminal. 
  • Smishing is another variation of phishing.  In this scam, the fraudster uses cell phone text messages to lure you to a website.  The smishing text message typically urges your immediate attention.  For example it might say it is confirming an order for a large TV purchase and you need to follow the scammer’s directions in order not to be charged for the item.  Once you click on the URL or call the phone number, you are asked to provide card numbers, account numbers, PIN numbers, etc….
  • Vishing is the name for phishing attacks using the telephone.  It is typically used to steal credit card number, bank account numbers and passwords. You may get a call advising you that your credit card has been used illegally.  You can protect yourself by not giving out the information and make contact with a personal banker at The Piedmont Bank or contact your credit card company directly to verify the validity of the message.
  • Skimming – Debit & Credit Card Skimming attempts to hijack your personal information and your identity by tampering with machines where you swipe or insert your Debit or ATM card. Fraudsters set up a device that is capable of capturing the cards magnetic strip and keypad information.  They will attach skimming devices to the front of ATM’s or Gas Station swiping machines.   They capture the information and sell it to criminals who use it to create new cards with your account number. Avoid using machines that are in less traveled areas or appear to be tampered with. 

How can you protect yourself?

  • Be suspect of email messages that come from an unknown source or messages from contacts which contain only a link. 
  • Do not click on suspicious links or pop-up messages unless you are certain that these are legitimate.
  • Verify that the URL displayed in your browser address window matches the website.

Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.

Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone’s identification, such as a name, address, date of birth or social security number to commit fraud.  With this information a thief could take over the victims financial accounts, open bank accounts, purchase automobiles and apply for loans, credit cards and social security benefits. 

If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage.  Take the following four steps as soon as possible and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence. 

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports.  Contact any one of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report.  Placing a fraud alert is free and the initial fraud alert will stay on your credit report for 90 days.  You can renew it after 90 days. 
    Equifax 1-800-525-6285
    www.equifax.com
    Experian 1-888-397-3742
    www.experian.com
    TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
    www.transunion.com
    Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies.  Once you get your credit report, review them carefully. 
  • Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.  Call or speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company.  Follow up in writing and include copies of supporting documents.  It’s important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing.  Send your letters certified mail with return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. 
    If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your account or has fraudulently opened an account, ask the company for forms to dispute those transactions. 
  • Create an Identity Theft Report by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).   Use one of the following ways to file a complaint with FTC:
    • Use the online complaint form at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Complete the complaint form with as many details as you know, click submit and save the complaint reference number. Then click to complete a FTC Identity Theft Affidavit.  Before you leave that screen be sure to save and print your affidavit. 
    • Or you can call the FTC’s Identity Theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338. Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems to report to them. 
      By sharing this information with the FTC, you will provide important details that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down and stop identity thieves. 
  • File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.  Bring a copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and any other proof of the theft to the police department. Visit www.naag.org to see what your state law requires to file a police report.  If the police won’t take a report about the identity theft, ask if you can file a “miscellaneous incidents” report or go to a different police station, state police or federal authority.

In the event of fraudulent or suspicious activity on your account with The Piedmont Bank, please contact your branch of account below.

Main Office
5100 Peachtree Pkwy
Norcross, GA 30092
(770) 246-0011

Old Peachtree Rd
1035 Old Peachtree Rd NW
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
(678) 638-4000
Lawrenceville
185 Gwinnett Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 736-6250
Dunwoody LPO
5496 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 392-0900