As the holiday season approaches, millions of people will be traveling. If you are among the many, here are some tips to help keep you cyber savvy and safe.
Bring as few devices as you can. The fewer devices you bring while traveling, the fewer devices that can be lost or stolen. In fact, did you know that you are far more likely to lose a mobile device than have it stolen? Whenever leaving a hotel room, restaurant, taxi cab, train or airplane, do a quick device check and make sure you have all of your devices. Don’t forget to have friends or family traveling with you to double check for their devices too, like children who may leave a device behind on a seat or in a restaurant. As for the devices you choose to bring, make sure you update them so they are running the latest operating system and apps. Keep the screen lock enabled. If possible, ensure you have some way to remotely track your devices if they are lost. In addition, you may want the option to remotely wipe the device. That way if a device is lost or stolen, you can remotely track and/or wipe all your sensitive data and accounts from the device. Finally, do a backup of any devices you take with you, so if one is lost or stolen, you can easily recover your data.
When traveling, you may need to connect to a public Wi-Fi network. Keep in mind you often have no idea who configured that Wi-Fi network, who is monitoring it or how, and who else is connected to it. Instead of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, whenever possible connect to and use the personal hotspot feature of your smartphone. This way you know you have a trusted Wi-Fi connection. If that is not possible and you need to connect to a public Wi-Fi network (such as at an airport, hotel, or cafe), use a Virtual Private Network, often called a VPN. This is software you install on your laptop or mobile devices to help protect and anonymize your Wi-Fi connection. Some VPN solutions include settings to automatically enable the VPN when connecting to non-trusted Wi-Fi networks.
Avoid using public computers, such as those in hotel lobbies or at coffee shops, to log into any accounts or access sensitive information. You don’t know who used that computer before you, and they may have infected it accidentally or deliberately with malware, such as a keystroke logger. Stick to devices you control and trust.
We love to update others about our travels and adventures through social media, but we don’t always know who every friend or viewer is online. Avoid oversharing while on vacation as much as possible and consider waiting to share your trip until you’re home. Additionally, don’t post pictures of boarding passes, driver’s licenses, or passports as this can lead to identity theft.
Be wary of a new scam going around using money transfer services like Venmo. In the scam money mysteriously appears in your Venmo account, sent by a scammer using a stolen credit card. They then send a message saying it was sent by mistake and asks for it to be refunded. Don't do it! If you refund the money before Venmo reverses the transaction you're responsible for the funds.
To protect yourself from these types of scams while using a digital wallet or money transfer app follow these Better Business Bureau tips:
THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!
Cybercriminals sent out tens of thousands of phishing emails mainly to users in the USA. The subject of the email suggests that Amazon has sent a gift card. Once the email is opened, users are tricked into believing that one of the biggest companies in the world has sent them a free gift of $100.
The whole message reads:
We are delighted to enclose a $100 Amazon gift card as our way of saying Thank You
Amazon gift cards looking exactly like the ones you receive from Amazon that deliver a banking malware for the gullible people. They have the correct Amazon logos, order numbers, and so on.
Once an unaware user clicks on the fake gift card, one of the following three banking trojans is installed:
A Word file is downloaded that urges the soon to be victims to enable macros. Once the “Enable Content” button is pressed, payload files of the malware are downloaded onto the device.
Screensaver files containing malicious scripts that are able to evade email security are downloaded.
A file that is embedded in the body of the email is executed as soon as the link is pressed.
This malware targets computers with Windows Operating System, and the main goal of it is to steal banking credentials.
Think Before You Click!
It's Holiday Season for the bad guys too! But not the way you might think. They go into scam-overdrive mode.
So, here are this year's Top 10 Holiday Cyber Security Alert Tips:
1) Keep all devices up to date with basic security measures to lessen your chance of becoming the victim.
2) Only connect to known Wi-Fi networks; beware of network names that have typos or extra characters.
3) Use strong, unique passwords on all accounts. This is a good time to update passwords!
4) Be safe on all social media; don't overshare and take the time to review your privacy settings on the platforms you use.
5) Keep an eye on your bank accounts and monitor your credit report regularly.
6) Be careful with messages regarding shipping changes. Always use official channels to stay updated.
7) Watch out for holiday greeting cards that may not be the sender you think! Don't open these unless you're certain you can trust who they came from.
8) Keep devices in view (or know where they are) throughout the course of all holiday travel.
9) Pay close attention to the websites you visit and shop on. It's safest to only use those you trust.
10) Be wary of ads, giveaways, and contests that seem too good to be true. These run rampant during the holiday season!
Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?
Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019 — and the on going pandemic has only increased the threat. Imagine where we are in 2020.
It’s time to put scammers in their place.
Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at Table Rock Community Bank we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.
We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled
These top 3 phishing scams are full of red flags:
Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
What’s Your Scam Score? Take five minutes to become a scamspotter pro by taking the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz at BanksNeverAskThat.com. Share your score on Twitter to encourage your friends and family to test their scam savviness, too. The more scamspotters out there,the harder it is for phishing criminals to catch their next victim!
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing how millions of American consumers shop, and online sales skyrocketing thanks to concerns about the health risks of shopping in brick and mortar stores. The delivery vans are buzzing around neighborhoods as never before, scammers are looking to capitalize on this trend.
Scammers are increasing their use of the fake package deliveries. In a typical scam of this type, consumers receive a text message, email,or phone call informing them that they have a package waiting for them or that the delivery service (e.g., FedEx, UPS,or USPS) was unable to deliver a package.
To get the package delivered, the consumer is asked to click on a link and “verify” personal information or supply payment information (like a credit card or bankrouting number) to reschedule the delivery. In other cases, the scammers’ messages may direct recipients to an authentic-looking website. Consumers who fall for this scam can end up inadvertently signing up for difficult-to-cancel subscription services.
These delivery messages can be pretty convincing — but they are fake and generated by scammers trying to extract valuable information from consumers. As consumers come to rely more on e-commerce for day-to-day needs, they may be more likely to assume these messages are legitimate.
Here are the steps you can take to reduce your risk:
Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, chances are you care about protecting the environment – and saving money. Here are some tips from Table Rock Community Bank to help you do both.
Light up the house, not the electric bill. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs will save you about $6 a year in electricity costs per bulb and more than $40 over its lifetime. According to ENERGY STAR, if every American home replaced just one light bulb,we would save enough energy to prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Remember to recycle used CFL bulbs. Go to www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling for recycling locations.
Some like it hot,hot, hot…or cold, cold, cold. Closely monitor your thermostat. Adjusting it just a few degrees while you’re out can save energy and money. You can make it easier by installing a programmable thermostat. Use fans and close the blinds during the warm months and let the sun in for natural warmth in the winter. Also, change your filter every three months.
How low can you go? One way to save water is by using low-flow toilets. The most cost-effective way to do this is to simply take a 1 liter plastic bottle, fill it with water and place it inside the tank. This will reduce your water use per flush. Another way to save water is placing an aerator on all of your faucets.
Make it mean-green-clean. Cleaning supplies can be expensive and are made with toxic chemicals. You can save money and the environment by making your own cleaning supplies. All you need are some basic household ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and borax to clean everything from windows to tile. Look online for recipes and suggestions.
Reduce, Reuse,Recycle! Sticking to this mantra can help you save money around the house. Use a rag instead of paper towels. Buy products in bulk, concentrate or refillable containers to reduce packaging waste. Look for products made from recycled content. And don’t forget to recycle!
Win-dos for your windows.There are a number of ways you can make your windows more energy efficient without replacing them. For better insulation from the weather you can caulk exterior joints, put shrink wrap on them or hang blackout curtains.
Fan the green flames. To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, keep the fan clean. The motor won’t have to work as hard if the fan is clear of debris.
Decorate green. Houseplants are like living air-filters. English Ivy, rubber trees, peacelilies and red-edged dracaena can help clean the air and look pretty too.
Vampire energy is sucking you dry. On or off, anything plugged into the wall sucks energy. Vampire powercosts U.S. consumers more than $3 billion a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unplug your electronics and appliances when they’re not in use.
For more green homesolutions, visit: epa.gov/greenhomes
Tips for Family and Friends:
What are the warning signs of financial abuse?
The key to spotting financial abuse is a change in a person’s established financial patterns. Watch out for these “red flags”:
Information is provided by American Bankers Association. For more information please visit:
For many Americans, taking out a mortgage is still the easiest and most practical path to homeownership. However, the process of securing this type of loan can be confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers.
Nevertheless, getting a mortgage is very achievable when you have a firm understanding of the basic concepts. To help you with this process, listed below are answers to some frequently asked questions about taking out a mortgage loan.
Some people think that an average credit score will not be good enough to be granted a mortgage. This, however, isn’t necessarily true. You can get a mortgage with a FICO score as low as 620.
It’s important to remember, however, that a great credit score isn’t required, but it will certainly help. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates will be.
A home appraisal is conducted to determine the actual value of a property that you’re eyeing. The valuation from the appraisal could be different from the asking price of the property’s seller.
A professionally-conducted appraisal is needed to let lenders know that the property you’re buying is worth what you’re asking to borrow. This process is important to banks as the property will become a collateral for your loan.
The answer to this depends on your financial capability and preference. If you’d rather play it safe, a fixed-rate term is right for you. But if you are willing to take a gamble that your payment could decrease over a period of time, you should opt for an adjustable-term mortgage loan.
Much like a down payment, discount points are money that you can pay up front in order to secure lower interest rates on your mortgage. Discount points are tax-deductible, meaning a property buyer can save in the long term by obtaining them.
Are you planning to take out a mortgage to buy a property in Missouri? Look no further than Table Rock Community Bank. With our help, we can help you secure a mortgage or a business loan. Visit our branches in Branson West and Kimberling City.
Having a home that you can call your own is the dream for many Americans. Achieving that goal, however, isn’t very simple as a house is a significant investment that some can’t pay for using just their savings.
Fortunately, aspiring homeowners can turn to huge and local community banks alike to make their dream into reality. With the help of a mortgage loan, property ownership is attainable. For your reference, listed below are the advantages of taking out a mortgage to obtain real estate.
Obtaining a mortgage to purchase a home can significantly improve your credit rating as long as payments are made on time. A higher credit score translates to lower interest rates for borrowers. Meaning, the next loan you’ll take out will have terms that are more favorable to you.
Home equity is the difference between the market price of your property and how much you still owe on your loan. And because homes typically increase in value over time, your equity goes up as you pay down your mortgage. You’ll gain more than what you paid if you decide to sell the house.
Homeowners are entitled to deductions on their annual income tax returns for the expenses of owning real estate. This includes mortgage interest and property tax on your primary residence or even a second home.
A mortgage loan is paid little by little every month. Depending on the interest rate, this type of loan could be cheaper than the cost you would pay for rent. Considering that you’re paying for a property that you’ll eventually fully own, taking out a mortgage is remarkably advantageous as opposed to renting.
Don’t hesitate to turn to Table Rock Community Bank if you’re looking for an organization you can trust in Stone County, MO. We provide mortgage loans, business loans, and consumer loans to help our clients achieve their goals. Give us a call today!
We know that the spread of COVID-19 is impacting many of our small business customers and small businesses are vital to our community. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, we're here to help. Please give us a call at 417-739-9300.
SBA.gov has officially recognized Missouri's disaster declaration and SBA loans will now be available to qualifying businesses in need of support. Please visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance for more information.