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Financial Education

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What is a Trigger Lead and How Can I Opt-Out?

After you've applied for a mortgage or a loan, you may have seen an increase in mail and telephone solicitations for similar products or services from other providers. You may even wonder how they knew you were currently working through the loan process. Providers such as lenders, credit card companies, insurance or warranty companies purchase your data from a third-party such as the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - now turning you into what is known as a trigger lead to sell you competitive products or services. These companies do not receive personally identifiable information, just that there has been a recent credit inquiry, which lets them know you may be in the market for their competitive product or service.

Although these offers may seem invasive, trigger leads are legal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To avoid receiving these offers, you do have an option to protect yourself going forward but know that when being a customer of First Federal Community Bank, we guard your personal information and NEVER sell your information to third parties. We also do not engage in the business of purchasing these leads to market our lending and credit products.

The FCRA provides you the right to “Opt-Out”, which prevents companies from providing your credit file information. To prevent the trigger leads being sold by the credit bureaus, visit optoutprescreen.com. You can choose to opt-out for 5 years or permanently. The process takes approximately five days to complete, but know it will only be effective for future lead requests. If you’re planning on applying for credit, we recommend opting out one to two weeks before you apply.

To opt-out of unwanted phone solicitations, register your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting donotcall.gov or calling 888-382-1222. This should be done one month prior to applying for credit, as it may take a few weeks to process and become effective.

As a customer of First Federal Community Bank, you have placed your trust in us for integrity and accountability. The information you provide to us during the loan process stays only with us.

If you would like more information, please contact us at 330-364-7777.

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How Can I Avoid Insufficient Funds Charges?

What is an overdraft?

An overdraft occurs when you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a transaction. You can overdraw your account through checks, ATM transactions, debit card purchases, automatic bill payments, and electronic or in-person withdrawals. The transaction will either be declined, paid into overdraft or returned. Paid into overdraft or returned will result in an insufficient funds charge to your account.

How Can You Avoid Insufficient Funds Charges?

  • Open a First Fed Bank On Checking account. This checking account offers no insufficient funds charges, an affordable service charge, and electronic access. We keep it simple with no checks, no complicated pricing structure, and no minimum balance requirements.

  • Do not Opt In to Overdraft Privilege for ATM transactions and everyday debit card transactions. This means if you try to make a purchase with your debit card or withdraw money from the ATM when you don’t have enough funds in your checking account, the transaction will simply be declined and no fee will be charged.

  • Check your account balances regularly. We offer multiple ways to monitor your available balance using Telephone banking, the ATM, Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and you can also call any of our 8 offices. The available balance will tell you how much money you currently have but it does not include checks that haven’t cleared yet and transactions that have been authorized but not posted yet.

  • Sign up for low balance alerts. You can receive a low balance notification through text or email alerts. Set up alerts in Online Banking under Service Center or on the Mobile App under Banking Services. A text or email will be sent to you when your available balance reaches a low limit that you determine. For example, the limit can be set for $50. Anytime your available balance falls below $50 you will be notified.

  • Use our Overdraft Protection products. You can link your checking account to a savings account. If your account becomes overdrawn, money is automatically transferred from your savings for a small fee. We also offer an Overdraft Line of Credit you can apply for. If your account becomes overdrawn, a draw is made from your Overdraft Line of Credit to your checking account. No fee is charged. Just pay back the balance on the Overdraft Line of Credit plus any interest owed. Both these options may be cheaper alternatives to an Insufficient Funds Charge.

  • Keep a check register. Your check register is used for keeping track of your deposits and expenses. All transactions should be recorded, including checks, ATM withdrawals, debit card payments, automatic payments and deposits. The balance in your register reflects what you actually have available and includes items that haven’t posted to your account yet. Review your check register before making transactions.

  • Pay with cash or use a pre-paid debit card. This keeps it really simple. If you don’t have the cash or availability on your card, you can’t make a purchase and your account doesn’t overdraw. This combination can help customers stay on track especially if you don’t monitor your available balance often or record transactions.

After doing all of this if you still happen to end up with an insufficient funds charge, contact us and we will refund one charge each year.

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Fraud & Security Tips

First Federal Community Bank is committed to helping ensure your protection from fraudulent and/or criminal activity via the internet. The following information is intended to help you protect against Internet crime and identity theft. 

Internet Fraud

You may have heard of activities such as phishing and spoofing, but any scheme that uses the Internet to deceive prospective victims can be considered online fraud. We urge all First Federal customers to be vigilant and aware of the various types of fraud that can occur in cyberspace. 

Phishing involves an email sent with the intent of wrongfully obtaining the recipient's personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, debit and credit card numbers, user IDs and passwords. The emails are often "spoofed", meaning they appear to be a legitimate communication from a bank, credit card company, or other organization. (See more on spoofing below.)

If you receive a suspicious email, do not open any attachments or click on any links. Also, do not respond to the email. First Federal will never request personal information, including Social Security numbers, account numbers, user names or passwords in email messages or pop-up windows. 

Spoofing involves a "shadow copy" of any legitimate website. Access is funneled through the attacker's machine, allowing the attacker to monitor the victim's activities, such as passwords or account numbers entered by the victim. Spoofing can also allow an attacker to gain unauthorized access to a computer or network. 

To protect yourself, be wary of unsolicited or unexpected emails from all sources. If you receive an unsolicited email, treat it as you would a suspected phishing attack.

Identity Theft

Although identity theft on the internet is growing, it is not as prevalent as identity theft that occurs through more traditional means, such as improperly discarding credit card information or other financial data.

To protect against identity theft, never respond to unsolicited requests for your Social Security number or financial data. Shred all credit card and ATM receipts, undesired pre-approved credit offers and documents that contain personal information. Review your bank and credit card statements promptly as well as your credit report annually. Avoid user IDs and passwords that could easily be associated to you, such as date of birth, telephone number, or a child's name.

If You Are Victimized

Immediately file a police report and contact First Federal and any other parties with whom you have a financial relationship. Label accounts closed due to fraud as "closed at consumer's request", notify credit bureau fraud units and place a fraud alert statement on your credit report. Also, as a victim of fraud, you may obtain free bimonthly copies of your credit report until your case is resolved. There are other important steps you may need to take in the event you are victimized. In addition to contacting the police, First Federal and other financial service providers can provide you with additional information.

Cybersecurity Information

For tips to protect your computer, tablet, or phone against cyber criminals, please review our Cybersecurity Guide.

Helpful Resources

Equifax (www.equifax.com)

  • Report Fraud: 800-525-6285
  • Order Credit Report: 800-685-1111

Experian (www.experian.com)

  • Report Fraud: 888-397-3742
  • Order Credit Report: 888-397-3742

TransUnion (www.transunion.com)

  • Report Fraud: 800-680-7289
  • Order Credit Report: 800-888-4213

Social Security Administration

  • Report Fraud: 800-269-0271
  • Order Benefits & Earnings Statement: 800-772-1213

Reporting Fraudulent Check Use

  • Check Rite: 800-766-2748
  • Chexsystems: 800-428-9623
  • CrossCheck: 707-586-0551
  • Equifax: 800-437-5120
  • National Processing Co.: 800-526-5380
  • SCAN: 800-526-5380
  • TeleCheck: 800-710-9898

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Avoiding Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

With the recent plan announced for student loan debt relief by the U.S. Government, scammers have unfortunately also used this opportunity to obtain your information.

Phone Calls

If you receive a phone call regarding student loan debt relief, it's probably a scam. Borrowers will never receive a call from the U.S. Department of Education regarding their student loan debt. If you receive a call from your loan servicer, return the call using their official phone line.

Email Scams

Email scams are harder to spot, but scammers usually leave a clue, such as misspellings or incorrect grammar. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are only three email addresses it uses when contacting borrowers:

Text Messages

Be wary of links sent through texts. The U.S. Department of Education's messages will come from only these two numbers: 227722 or 51592.

Requests for Fee Payments or Form Signatures

If you are asked to pay upfront fees or asked to sign an authorization form permitting a third-party to negotiate on your behalf, it is likely not legitimate.

For more information on Student Loan Forgiveness scams, visit https://studentaid.gov/articles/avoid-student-loan-forgiveness-scams/ 

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Credit Reporting Resources

Keeping an eye on your personal credit report and credit score is always important, but even more so when you are thinking about applying for a loan. Here are some good resources to put you in the best position prior to speaking with your loan officer or submitting a credit application:

Free Credit Reports – Consumers can review their personal credit reports weekly for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. First Federal Online Banking Customers also have access to credit reports and scores through our online banking and mobile app. Learn more about our Credit Sense feature at https://www.firstfed.com/resources/account-services/credit-sense.html.

Correcting Credit Report Errors – Learn how to file a dispute at https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/disputing-errors-your-credit-reports or https://www.annualcreditreport.com/filingADispute.action

Avoid Unwanted Solicitations – Consumers can opt-out of receiving these by visiting https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ or call 888-567-8688 (for mail solicitations) or www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222 (for phone solicitations).  There are some exemptions to this process – companies that have a current relationship with you are exempt; as are certain non-profit organizations such as religious, political, or community-based non-profits seeking funding. To eliminate solicitations from these, it is best to contact each organization directly to be removed.

Avoid Credit Repair Dangers – Check out information regarding credit repair and debt relief scams from the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/topics/consumer-finance/debt-relief-credit-repair-scams

Housing Counseling – If you need housing counseling, check here for HUD-certified counselors in your area - https://hudgov-answers.force.com/housingcounseling/s/?language=en_US

Credit File Security – If you need to place a fraud alert or add or remove a freeze or lock, visit these Credit Bureau sites. Remember to remove a freeze or lock before credit is pulled for a loan application.

Additional information is also available from the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs

Learn about FICO® Scores: www.myfico.com or www.ficoscore.com/education.

Learn about Vantage Scores: https://vantagescore.com/consumers/

Take the Credit Score Quiz: http://www.creditscorequiz.org/

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