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Debit Card Fraud: What it is and how to avoid it.


As we move deeper into the digital age, the threat of fraud has become more pervasive than ever. Thankfully, the technology that has enabled fraudsters to become more sophisticated can also combat them. Enter AI and machine learning.

These cutting-edge technologies are rapidly transforming the fraud prevention landscape by allowing businesses to identify and prevent fraudulent activity in real time. Through the analysis of vast amounts of data and learning from historical patterns, AI and machine learning algorithms can identify suspicious transactions and flag them for further review.

One of the most significant benefits of AI and machine learning is their ability to adapt to new threats quickly. As fraudsters develop new techniques and tactics, these technologies can evolve and learn from these changes, ensuring they remain effective in the face of emerging threats.

In addition to preventing fraud, AI and machine learning can help businesses reduce false positives, ...

Holiday Cheer Begins at First Reliance

The presence of the Grinch and the Easter Bunny, along with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus (aka Mary Neale Fowler), added festivity and excitement to the bank’s annual event. The combination of these iconic characters created a sense of wonder and excitement among attendees, especially children who were thrilled to meet their favorite holiday figures. Together, these characters made a playful and festive atmosphere that enhanced the overall experience for everyone involved.

As the group visited different locations, including the Florence Fire Station, Mount Pleasant Office, West Columbia Office, and the Lexington Office, they continued to spread holiday cheer and brought smiles to everyone they encountered. The tradition of this event has grown over the years, becoming a beloved part of the community and a highlight for many during the festive season.

First Reliance deserves credit for organizing and expanding this event across multiple locations, allowing more people to participate ...

How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages

All cell phone users often use their phones to text people they know many times a day. But have you ever received a text message from someone you do not know? Sure, it could be a mistaken attempt; however, it is more likely that it is a scammer trying to steal your personal and financial information. Do you know how to handle and report unwanted text messages?

The Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Advice website offers excellent information on recognizing and reporting spam text messages. They want to educate anyone using a mobile device or computer about phishing fraudulent attempts to steal personal information. Scammers can use any means to trick you into sharing information or giving you money.

Scammers want to entice you to click on links in their text messages or emails by promising free prizes, gift cards, low or no-interest-rate credit cards, or promises to help pay off ...

It's Easy to Stay Safe Online


This year, during October's Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the theme is "It's easy to stay safe online," where we are encouraged to focus on four key behaviors to stay safe online:

  1. Enable multifactor authentication.
  2. Use strong passwords and a password manager.
  3. Update software (and keep it updated.)
  4. Recognize and report phishing.

First, multifactor authentication allows you to protect yourself in multiple ways. MFA is sometimes called two-factor authentication or two-step verification. It is an important cybersecurity measure that requires you to prove your identity in numerous ways. Typically, this includes verifying your identity another way after entering your username and password. Examples include using a fingerprint or responding to a text message.

Second, establish strong passwords and use a password manager. Since passwords are the keys to your digital castle, regardless of which accounts they protect, create all passwords using three guiding principles:

  • LONG (at least 12 characters long), ...

Bad Weather Prep


Everything might seem cozy and safe at home, but imagine severe weather hits the area. We’re talking about a “quick, we have to get out of here” severe weather.   

Are you ready financially?  

You can be, and it won’t take long.  Following are some quick tips.  

How to Store Documents 

Get a durable storage box that is waterproof. 

How Much Cash to Have for Emergency 

Keep a small amount of cash in it—money you can use for purchases if the power goes out for a few days and you find yourself in the dark.   

What Documents to Store 

Also, place important financial papers like insurance policies, wills, and a spare checkbook in the storage box. 

Direct Deposit 

A big problem when having to evacuate and leave town is how you get your paycheck. This is another reason—and there are many—to have direct deposit. Your ...

Embarking on a Quarter of a Century

As First Reliance Bank embarks on our 25th year, we are pleased to share Rick Saunders' recent social media post below. Stay tuned throughout the coming months as we have celebrations planned in each market and will share our branch community efforts, including customer service milestones.    

"Paul Saunders and I are humbled and honored when reminded that we’ve just celebrated our 24th anniversary for First Reliance Bank this month, and soon, we’ll embark on a quarter of a century. From the beginning, you have trusted us and have allowed us to serve you with great pride and pleasure.

In the couple of years of our opening for business, our industry saw historic levels of new bank start-ups across the country. After 24 years, over 80% of those banks no longer exist. This certainly is a testament to our talented associates, our customers, and the community's loyalty and support. ...

Money Mules – A Growing Problem


In the 2018 release of “The Mule,” starring Clint Eastwood as Earl Stone, a 90-year-old man who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business. Earl is offered a job that requires him to drive. While that should be easy enough, Earl doesn’t know that he had signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. The movie was based on The New York Times article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year-Old Drug Mule" by Sam Dolnick. Inspired by the true story of Leo Sharp, an 80-year-old World War II veteran, Sharp became the world's oldest and most prolific drug mule for the Sinaloa Cartel.

Money mules and crime have long been one and the same, and financial institutions have been working to prevent them for a very long time. First Reliance Bank knows of the dangers and is aggressive in our efforts to thwart it. One important effort ...

Are You Searching for a Great Credit Card Rate?


If you said yes, we have an attractive 0% interest rate offer you may be interested in. But first, please pause a moment and think about how you use credit. You may even want to ask yourself these questions. 

- Do you pay it off every month?

- Do you use it for travel?

- How high do you need your spending limit to be?

- Do you prefer a low rate, cash back, or rewards points?  

First Reliance will always encourage our customers to be savvy when it comes to having a credit card. For a limited time, we are offering an attractive introductory 0% interest rate for the first 12 months on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances from the date of opening (see flyer for details). If you're looking for a new credit card, you can contact one of our customer service representatives. At First ...

It’s Almost Vacation Time!

Are you dreaming of a vacation or getaway? If you are beginning to plan or are ready to book airline tickets, here are some travel tips to avoid overspending. Airfare savings with cut-rate travel is possible!

When to book a plane ticket

Book in advance: Generally, booking flights well in advance can help you save money. Airline prices tend to go up as you get closer to the travel date, so book your flights as early as possible if you know your travel plans well in advance. Book 49 days in advance, or seven weeks for the best airfare.  Studies show that is when the fares tend to be the lowest.

Be flexible with your travel dates: If you are flexible with your travel dates, you can save a lot of money. Try to avoid flying during peak travel periods like holidays or weekends, as prices are usually higher during ...

How to Prevent Fake Check Scams

Fake check scams are occurring more than ever, and scammers are becoming increasingly clever with their tactics. Here's how a fake check scam typically works.

Someone you don't know sends you a check. It could be from any company. The person will ask you to deposit the check and send some of the money to them or another person in return. The scammer always has a reason to explain why you received the check and why you cannot keep all the money. If you deposit a fake check and send money to the scammer, you will be responsible for that money, which can sometimes amount to thousands of dollars!

No matter how convincing the scammer is or how legitimate the check looks, people don't send money to others without reason.  

Types of Fake Check Scams

Fake checks come in many forms. Business or personal checks, cashier's checks, and money orders ...