Protecting the Elderly From Financial Abuse

You, or someone you know, could become the victim of a growing crime in America — financial abuse of older Americans.  Seniors are increasingly becoming targets for financial abuse.  As people over 50 years old control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth, fraudsters are using new tactics to take advantage of retiring baby boomers and the growing number of older Americans. Senior financial abuse is estimated to have cost victims at least $2.9 billion last year alone.

What Is Elder Financial Abuse?

It’s a crime that deprives older adults of their resources and ultimately their independence. Anyone who sees signs of theft, fraud, misuse of a person’s assets or credit, or use of undue influence to gain control of an older person’s money or property should be on the alert. Those are signs of possible exploitation.  Older Americans that may have disabilities or rely on others for help can be susceptible to scams and other fraud.   Advances in technology can also make it difficult for seniors to know who to trust and what’s safe.

Despite these threats, taking simple steps to safeguard personal information and being aware of warning signs can protect aging men and women from financial abuse.

Tips for Seniors:

What should you do to protect yourself?

  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed.  Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
  • Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
  • Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  • Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
  • Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
  • Never rush into a financial decision.  Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
  • Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  • Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  • Feel free to say “no.” After all, it’s your money.
  • You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.
  • Trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers often are very skilled. They can be charming and forceful in their effort to convince you to give up control of your finances. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What should you do if you are a victim of financial abuse?

  • Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
  • Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.

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”:

  • Unusual activity in an older person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.
  • ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
  • Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the customer does not fully understand or need.
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain.
  • New “best friends” accompanying an older person to the bank.
  • Sudden non-sufficient fund activity or unpaid bills.
  • Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties.
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
  • Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.
  • Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an older customer.
  • Refusal to make eye contact, shame or reluctance to talk about the problem.
  • Checks written as “loans” or “gifts.”
  • Bank statements that no longer go to the customer’s home.
  • New powers of attorney the older person does not understand.
  • A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.
  • Altered wills and trusts.
  • Loss of property.

What should you do if you suspect financial abuse?

  • Talk to elderly friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned here. Try to determine what specifically is happening with their financial situation, such as a new person “helping” them with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without their permission.
  • Report the elder financial abuse to their bank, and enlist their banker’s help to stop it and prevent its recurrence.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your town or state for help.
  • Report all instances of elder financial abuse to your local police—if fraud is involved, they should investigate.

 

New ATMs Are Coming To Most VCNB Branches

Exciting changes are coming to the ATMs at most of our bank branches! These modern ATMs essentially are a 24-hour branch for basic services that you can access from your car.

The new machines have larger, easy to read touch screens and a couple of features that our customers are already loving.

With intelligent deposit, customers are able to deposit both checks and cash without an envelope. Because of this, immediate access is granted to all the cash you deposit. Better yet, up to $500 of a check can be immediately accessed.

That means when depositing a check, you can immediately withdrawal up to $500 of that amount!

VCNB Vice President of Operations Bryan Radabaugh said that the new machines have been well received so far. “People seem to be loving it. They’re easy to use, easy to read and they give you access to your funds much more quickly than the old machines,” he said.

Making a deposit with these machines is easy. Simply insert your debit card, hit deposit and follow the prompts on the screen. Because deposits are not in an envelope, the machine reads each check and each bill individually, allowing the machine to calculate the deposit amount and allowing the customer to know their money is all accounted for in the deposit. If the customer disagrees with the machine’s calculations, there is an option to request the funds be returned to the customer rather than proceeding with the deposit.

The customer’s receipt for the completed transaction indicates the number and type of bills deposited, along with images of the checks they deposited.

This is a far cry from the old style machines which require customers to place their money in envelopes. Because the machine cannot tell whether the envelope is empty or full or whether the amount the customer types in is the correct amount, customers using the old machines have to wait to access their funds on the next business day.

Radabaugh said that his reports show ATM deposit usage has seen impressive increases in the branches with new ATMs. “We’re seeing a lot more people deposit in the evenings after the bank closes and even in the morning before hours. Sundays are also busy because many people are simply unable to bank during conventional hours,” he said.  “We don’t want anyone feeling like they’re not welcome in a branch but this is another channel for someone who struggles to make it into the lobby.”

The project, which started last fall, will be completed in early 2020. Branches with completed ATMs are Pataskala, Logan, McArthur, West Fair Avenue in Lancaster, Bremen, Laurelville, Commercial Point, Circleville and Grove City. A new ATM will be installed in Ashville in time for the opening of that new branch this summer. Customers at any of the above branches can request a demonstration from branch staff. Our employees will be happy to help you!

 

VCNB Customers Can Access Over 32,000 Surcharge Free ATMs

VCNB rolled out something earlier this year that’s been a game changer for many of our customers. It’s called MoneyPass®. Have you heard of it?

No?

Well, keep reading because we think you’ll like what we have to say.

MP_2CF(lg) [Converted]Moneypass is a network that allows VCNB customers to use more than 32,000 ATMs nationwide surcharge free! It’s easy for you to use and will provide you with access to an ATM nearly anywhere you go in the United States.

This means you can still access your VCNB accounts via an ATM without paying a surcharge when you’re on vacation, away at college, traveling for work or visiting family coast-to-coast.

Here’s how it works!

  1. Visit their website or download the MoneyPass app.
  2. Search the zip code where you need an ATM.
  3. Choose the ATM you wish to visit!

MoneyPass will even give you driving directions to your destination. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Visit the MoneyPass website to get started or visit the App Store on your mobile device to download the MoneyPass app today!

Are You Still Paying For Christmas?

Note with words pay off debt concept.We have a question.

Are you still paying for Christmas?

If you’re like millions of Americans, the answer is yes – you are still paying for the joy and excitement of this last Christmas morning and maybe even a few before it.  Allowing credit card debt to add up is a common mistake and, sadly, reducing debt is always a lot harder than allowing it to accumulate.

If you want to pay off your credit card but aren’t sure where to start, we have some basic steps to get you on the right track.

  1. Face reality – How much do you really owe? Do you have one credit card? More than one? Add up those balances and keep that total in mind.
  2. Make a budget – No one enjoys the ‘B’ word but a budget or a spending plan is the most effective way to get your financial house in order. Not sure how to budget? We wrote this guide a few years ago.
  3. Study up to lower expenses – Study your budget and consider how you spend your money. Are you living within your means? Are you spending too much on impulse shopping or on weekend entertainment? Are there big ticket items like car insurance that you could save on with a little comparison shopping? Save money where you can and apply the savings to your debt. Click here to read about saving money even when you think there’s nowhere to cut. 
  4. Be timely – Each time your credit card payment is late, you face a late charge. Pay at least the minimum payment on time to avoid those charges.
  5. Pay extra – With online payments, it’s easy to make an extra credit card payment. So if you have a windfall –some unexpected overtime, a tax refund or some garage sale earnings – make an extra payment.
  6. Stop adding more debt – This should go without saying but you’ll never pay off that card if you keep adding to the balance. If you must use it, be sure not to charge more than you can pay off that month.
  7. Stay motivated – Staying focused on a budget and debt payoff is hard work. Look for inspiration anywhere you can find it. Hang a debt payoff thermometer on the fridge, read success stories on Pinterest or talk to like-minded friends who are also focused on financial goals. Another great motivation tool? Dream about how good it will feel to not have credit card debt hanging over your head.

 

VCNB Tools That Save You Time

Do you ever look at the clock and wonder where the time went? Do you ever look at your bills and wish you didn’t have to spend so much time paying them? Do you ever wish you could cut a couple of errands out of your week? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to keep reading.

Since it feels like time is moving faster every day, here at VCNB we work hard to give you tools that will help minimize your banking chores and free up time for things you really want to do. Here are a few ways you can manage your time better through easy banking with VCNB Mobile and VCNBfamily.com.

Direct Deposit
With direct deposit, your paycheck is automatically deposited into the account of your choice. No need to pick up your check at work and make a trip to the bank.  Need cash? Grab cash back at the register or at an ATM. Not near a VCNB ATM? No problem! Now VCNB customers can use MoneyPass, an ATM network that gives customers access to over 32,000 surcharge free ATMs across the country. Click here to visit MoneyPass and find an ATM near you! 

Mobile Deposit
Deposit a check using the bank’s app, VCNB Mobile, and the camera on your mobile device! Intrigued?  Learn more here! 

Online Bill Pay
Online Bill Pay is a hassle free way to manage your monthly bills. You can use it to pay a single bill or you can set up auto pay for a number of bills. You choose the date the bill is paid and the amount you pay and let us take over from there! It also allows you to receive your bills electronically and set up payment reminders to ensure your bills are paid on time.  No stamps or checks required! This is a free service as long as you use it at least once every month but there is a $3 monthly charge for months that you do not use the service.

Auto transfers
Trying to save money for your child’s education or a family vacation? If you have a hard time remembering to save, set up automatic transfers! You choose the amount you save, the account the funds come from, where it goes and when the transfer takes place. Best of all, you can change any of this at any time.

Mobile app
With VCNB Mobile, you’re essentially carrying a banker in your pocket 24 hours a day. Use the app to set up those automatic transfers, to pay bills, view balances, review transactions, deposit checks and more!  Search for VCNB Mobile in the app store on your device. Now you can change your password in the app and can even set it up to log in using Touch ID.

Mobile Payment Options
VCNB offers Google Pay, Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay, allowing customers a secure, easy way to pay on the go with their VCNB debit or credit card. Learn more here! 

Finding Money To Save (Even When You Think You Can’t)

expenses cut.jpgIt’s that time of year when we all resolve to put a lid on our spending and save more money. The internet is full of articles like “Five Ways To Save $1,000 This Year” and advice for folks to save $30 just by cutting back to eating out just three days a week.

But what if you don’t eat out every day and you’re sure there’s not hundreds of dollars in savings to be found in your budget? We don’t claim to have all the answers in this one little story but we do have some things for you to think about and maybe kickstart your way to savings this year.

Think About Your Spending
We all spend money on things we don’t need and sometimes on things we don’t really want. The first thing you need to do is study how you’re using your money. Do this however you like. An easy way is to save your receipts and keep a slip of paper to jot down every time you drop a few bucks in the work vending machine because you’re craving Diet Coke and Peanut M&Ms. Then study your habits and think about ways to cut costs or change behaviors. If you’re buying candy and drinks every day, it might be smart to bring a snack from home.  This is an easy behavior change that could save several dollars a week.

Once you know what you’re spending money on, ask yourself some questions. What are you buying that you don’t need or that you buy out of habit? Are you actually using what you buy? Is it truly a need or a want disguised as a need?

When our bankers visit third graders to talk about spending and saving money, they typically understand the difference between a need and a want. For example, you need shoes but you want Nikes. However, when we talk to teens, we find they think they need Nikes and that no other shoes will do. What do you truly need?

Food is a major money leak for many American households as so much of what we buy spoils before we use it. If you find yourself throwing away most of the celery every week, it might be time to ask yourself if you’re buying celery because you like it or because you always buy it (or because it just looks good in the cart).

Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning is half the battle when it comes to spending and saving. How many times have you gone to the store and couldn’t remember what you need to buy so you just buy a bunch of stuff that sounds good? Whether it’s school clothes, groceries or holiday shopping, make that list and stick to it.

Also, be sure to research your purchases ahead of time. Find out what’s right for you, what’s most economical and what’s most likely to last so you’re not buying a replacement next year.

Planning a purchase also may involve delaying a purchase. In this world that delivers up to the second news and overnight packages from across the country, delayed gratification is becoming a lost art. Do your research and think about how badly you really want or need what you wish to buy. How many hours must you work to pay for it? This question alone may impact your views.  Sleep on it and revisit the purchase later. You may find you were more excited about buying something new than you were about the thing itself.

Don’t Overlook The Big Stuff
You need homeowners insurance but when was the last time you read your policy or comparison shopped? You need a car but can you afford your car when you consider the cost of insurance, maintenance and monthly payments? You need a place to live but could you downsize or find a more affordable neighborhood?

These changes may seem drastic but if you’re serious about saving money, the effort could be worthwhile.

Once you’ve found ways to plug those money leaks, both big and small, be sure to actually have a plan in place to save that money and make sure your budget reflects any changes in spending. If you are saving $50 a month on your insurance, why not set up an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings account?

Saving money isn’t always about the obvious advice to avoid the expensive cup of coffee. It also involves some thinking, research, planning and maybe even a little soul searching to figure out what’s best for you and your finances.

Do you have tips to share? How are your savings efforts working out in this new year? Tell us about it in the comments below!

VCNB Introduces New Business Checking Experience

JCBC Billboard - Not Your Average (BUSINESS CHECKING) - (Jackson Digital)

Here at VCNB we have been serving businesses both big and small since 1867. That experience has taught us a thing or two about business customers and their needs. For one thing, we understand that every business is unique and that literally no two are alike. We also believe that there’s no such thing as an average business customer and that our customers shouldn’t have to settle for an average business checking account.

That’s why we have developed a new kind of business checking experience with Business Rewards Checking and Business Rewards Checking Plus. Both accounts allow you to earn UChoose Reward® Points for purchases made with a registered debit card and for other types of banking habits. These reward points can be redeemed for cash back to your checking account.

A number of features come free with both accounts including Business Mobile Banking and Bill Pay, Basic Business Online Banking, Account Alerts, Electronic Statements, Telebanc Services, Charge Orders, Sage Payroll Services powered by Paychoice®, Merchant Services and Lock Box Services.

Earning rewards is easy with these accounts! For example, earn one point for every $3 spent with your Business Debit Card. Earn 200 points for 21 or more purchases per cycle as well.  Also earn one point for every dollar spent with a VCNB Business Visa® Platinum credit card. One time sign up bonuses are offered for a number of products including Positive Pay, Remote Deposit Capture and Sage Payroll Services Powered by Paychoice.

And now for a limited time, open a Business Rewards Checking Account or Business Rewards Plus Checking Account and earn 10,000 bonus points. Open a Visa Business credit card and earn an additional 10,000 points. Offer ends 12/31/2018.

Want to learn more about these new business accounts, a VCNB Business Visa Platinum credit card or about this limited time special offer? Click here for information. 

View full terms and conditions here.

 

Kids and Money: Seven Tips

As community bankers we frequently visit classrooms to talk about banking and money management.

For the little kids we focus on the difference between needs and wants and on the importance of saving money. For the teens we talk about more complex topics like how banks and credit works. We talk to them about what happens when you borrow money, why everyone needs a checking account and what credit scores mean.

We do this because we believe financial education is important and we are happy to provide this service to youngsters and young adults in our communities. However, we hope that parents will spend some time educating their kids about these topics as well. Here are seven tips to get you started.

Teach them about saving. Whether it’s a piggy bank, a clear glass jar or a passbook savings account, teach your kids to save money and to be excited about seeing it grow. Talk to them about how saving money means they’ll have funds for something they really want or need in the future.

Talk about the difference between needs and wants.   This is a lesson that a lot of adults could use as well. In talking to third graders with our Teach Kids To Save program, we find that they have an excellent grasp on what they need and what they want. They need a pair of shoes. They want the kind that light up when they walk. By the time they’re in high school, we find it’s often harder to get them to admit they don’t need the latest iPhone.

Talk about the cost of things. As you’re grocery shopping or making decisions about purchases, initiate a conversation about why you are buying the off brand canned goods or how buying in bulk saves money in the long run. Help them understand that even the small purchases call for decision making.

Give them a chance to earn money – Whether to give allowance or pay for chores is a personal decision each family must make. We will say that there is wisdom in providing kids with the opportunity to manage money they had to earn. Modest pay for chores or allowance gives them the chance to learn about responsible spending and saving. If you have teenagers, encourage them to take on a part time job or to do odd jobs in the neighborhood.

Help them open a Student Checking Account. They will need one eventually and learning to manage an account now will help them later in life. Click here to learn more about how Student Checking at VCNB works.

Discuss Debt. This is a good subject for everyone but especially for teens who have their eye on car ownership. Talk to them about things they might need to borrow money for – like a car, college education and house – and about saving money for a down payment. Also talk about how to manage a credit card responsibly and why they should avoid charging more than they can pay off in a month.

Talk savings. Teach them about the three most important kinds of savings for adults: personal, emergency and retirement. While retirement savings may not seem like a priority to a teenager, it will be important in a few years once they’re starting out in their career.

Your kids are going to learn about money from someone. Wouldn’t it be better coming from you?