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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 ...

Sign Up for e-Statements and Ditch the Filing Cabinet!

Monthly bank statements. Ah, yes, those papers that are coming your way every month. Consider, if you will, two individual types. An organized wizard with a filing cabinet (or cabinets) holding chronologically organized statements and another who cringes when trying to remember where last month’s statement is. Whomever you relate with, First Reliance Bank offers a banking service that works brilliantly.


Five Reasons Why e-Statements are Good.

  1. e-Statements are accessible days earlier than mailed statements.
  2. e-Statements reduce the risk of identity theft.
  3. There’s no need for shredding or saving stacks of paper.
  4. Saving paper and fuel is better for the environment and your pocketbook.
  5. e-Statements are totally free. That’s right, totally free.

There are numerous benefits when receiving e-Statements, but the best is how they save you money. Yes, that’s correct; you can say farewell to the monthly maintenance fee by signing up for e-Statements. The yield of ...

Fraud Warning Signs

Truth be told, today, there are many people out to scam you. Check fraud has spiked in the U.S., with thieves stealing money and selling bogus checks on the darknet. Mail-related check fraud is rising, as criminals can easily get their hands on your checks. As terrible as this is, knowing the warning signs can be a very good thing. Help begins at home.

  1. Unexpected charges.

If you do not check your accounts carefully, while this may be obvious, someone could buy something unexpected with your money. First Reliance customers whose accounts are enrolled in online banking or the bank’s mobile app simply need to turn on the alert settings to know when purchases are made.

  1. Checks that are significantly out of order on your bank statement.

When checking your monthly bank statement, you may not have written that check if you notice an oddball check number.

  1. Bills and statements ...

Five Financial Wellness Goal Ideas

With January in the rear window, it isn’t too late to look at your finances and set goals for 2023. There's no better time to take stock of your financial situation than now. So, how do you start? Here are five goals that may help.

  1. Get a financial check-up. This step is essential so you know where you stand. Add up your assets and subtract your liabilities. The result will show whether you're in the green (positive) or red (negative). Knowing the answer can help you plan your next year’s savings and spending.
  2. Create a spending plan. Itemize your monthly expenses and include your essential and non-essential items. Determine if you want to make it a priority to save money or eliminate debt.
  3. Conduct monthly financial meetings. Like you would as an employee, having monthly meetings with family members makes sense, especially regarding finances. If you have ...

IRS Scams

First Reliance Bank takes you, our customers, and anyone considering a switch in their banking services seriously. Tax Season officially began on Monday, January 23rd, the date the Internal Revenue Service announced they would start accepting 2022 tax returns. There’s no reason to wait to file; however, be aware of the scam out there that can scare the daylights out of you.

That scam might come by way of email, but many times it’s over the phone.

How the IRS Scam Works

You get a call, and the caller claims to be with the IRS. They claim you owe the IRS money, and if you don’t pay right away, frequently with a wire transfer of money, you’ll be arrested.

It seems real because the caller might have information about you because of identity theft. They’ll have a fake badge number and name.  The caller ID can even look ...

True Interest Rate

Interest rates are always in flux; in fact, they change every 60 seconds. So, there is no real way to predict their path from one month to the next. Trying to catch the perfect rate should never deter you from owning your dream home. In fact, agents will often say, “Marry the house, date the rate.” This basically means don’t let interest rates deter you because you can always refinance. We have an inventory problem.

There is always a possibility that we could see another dip, and there could be a refi opportunity in that. If you find that perfect house, don’t wait to get it. Even if the rate isn’t what you’d hoped, there are always opportunities to modify or refinance. It’s a lot easier than people expect.

Don't Wait

In this market, the perfect home is harder to come by. If you find it, there’s no reason to ...

If You’ve Been Hacked

It may seem to happen frequently; you see a nightly news story, or worse yet, you receive an email that a major retailer says we’ve had a little “tiny” problem, and consumer card information has been hacked. When that happens, it is quite possible that you feel vulnerable. So, how can you protect yourself in advance? Read along for tips from First Reliance.

Be On Guard

At a minimum, you should log in to online banking and set up daily balance alerts. Better yet, make a point to look at your account online every day. And we mean, look closely.

Know How Hackers Work

When credit card information is stolen, hackers sell it to other hackers online. The smart ones buy card information from their area, which means you may not see charges from some exotic place. These hackers could be using your card information at a store down the ...

If you answered "yes," to any of the following questions, you could be involved in a FRAUD or about to be SCAMMED!

  1. Is the CHECK from an item you sold on the Internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc.?
  2. Is the amount of the CHECK more than the item's selling price?
  3. Did you receive the CHECK via an overnight delivery service?
  4. Is the CHECK connected to communicating with someone by mail?
  5. Is the CHECK drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
  6. Have you been informed that you were the winner of a LOTTERY, such as Canadian, Australian, El Gordo, or El Mundo, that you did not enter?
  7. Have you been instructed to either "WIRE," "SEND," or "SHIP" MONEY as soon as possible to a large U.S. city or another country, such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
  8. Have you ...

How to Create a Good Password

You probably have dozens of accounts and want to keep them safe, but how many passwords do you have? Are you just using the same password for every website you visit? If you are, then you’re asking for trouble. If one password gets stolen, they’re all stolen.

Password Manager Software

An excellent solution is to use a password manager program. While those can cost money, and you still need at least one password to secure it, they are good management tools. So how else can you lock down your accounts? Here are four free ways to lock down your accounts with better passwords.

Don’t Use Names

Don’t use names or words found in any dictionary, for that matter. If you’re using your dog’s name and your address, trust us, someone would eventually be able to figure that out.

Substitute Numbers for Letters

It’s easy to substitute numbers or symbols in ...

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Yes, life happens! If your credit score has seen better days, it can hurt you when borrowing money. Maybe you get turned down or must pay high-interest rates.

How credit reporting bureaus calculate credit score is a little complex. In this short video, we share some things you should know if you are trying to improve your score.

  1. It’s not good to have no credit cards or cancel all of your cards.
  2. Conversely, don’t open credit accounts you don’t need.
  3. If you have credit cards, keep the balance at less than 50% of the available balance (30% is even better).
  4. Closing an account doesn’t make it go away, as it can still appear on your credit report.
  5. If you’re behind on any accounts, get current, and pay on time as long as it is possible.
  6. If you have an account that goes to collections, that will stay with you. In ...