Avoiding COVID-19 Scams
Scammers, fraudsters, and other criminals are taking advantage of rapidly changing data and facts associated with COVID-19, both in the workplace and in our homes. Government agencies, corporations, and news outlets continue to warn individuals to be mindful of increased fraudulent activities during these uncertain times.
These scams, which can be sent via email, text message, and social media claim to provide COVID-19 updates, sell products, ask for charitable donations, or reference government aid packages. These messages appear to be legitimate in nature but seek to fraudulently obtain personal information, financial gain, and create panic. Use these tips to identify and avoid scams:
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts claiming to have inside information on the virus. There are currently no vaccines, potions, lozenges, or other prescriptions available online or in-store to treat or cure COVID-19.
- Do your homework prior to donating to charities or crowdfunding sites. Confirm the validity of the organization as fraudsters are now advertising fake charities. Do not let anyone rush you into a donation, particularly those who ask for cash, gift cards, or wiring of funds.
- Do not click on links or open attachments from sources you do not know. Cybercriminals are using the COVID-19 headline as a tactic to spread viruses and steal information. Do not provide personal information, payment information or sensitive workplace information via suspicious email addresses.
- Be suspicious of urgent demands and emergency requests. The health and safety of you and your family is the top priority. Do not fall for scammers threatening fees or fines, cancelled deliveries, and health concerns in exchange for financial gain.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Many individuals have begun to receive robo-calls and social media requests for social security numbers, banking information, and gift cards. Scammers promise high paying work from home opportunities, free sanitation and cleaning, as well as COVID-19 protection in exchange for payment and sensitive information.
- Be mindful of scammers using government aid packages for criminal gain. Lawmakers have announced plans to send Americans checks to assist with the financial burden of the virus, with details still in discussion. The government will not request payment, nor will anyone reach out requesting personally sensitive health or financial information in exchange for financial support.
- Obtain your news from a trusted source. Be mindful of text message scams, social media polls and fraudulent email accounts sharing false information to create panic. Before acting on information, review its source and check a trusted news outlet to confirm its validity.
When in doubt, ask a coworker, family member, or friend for their opinion. Two sets of eyes are better than one. If you believe you have fallen victim of a scam, call your local police at their non-emergency number and consider reporting to the FBI’s IC3 Internet Crime Database.
If you have any questions or concerns during this, please do not hesitate to reach out.
We continue to wish everyone good health as we all work to get through this challenging time.
Two Updates, Afternoon 3/19/20:
Frandsen Bank and Trust wants to ensure families are given options in these uncertain times in the case of job loss, a reduction in work hours, illness, or other issues.
Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting our Frandsen Bank & Trust Mortgage Servicing Department at 1-844-220-3500.
Consumer Loan Customers:
As your local community bank and trusted advisor, Frandsen Bank & Trust stands ready to help our consumer customers who have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are committed to working with you to help you navigate these turbulent times and we encourage you to contact your local office to discuss your particular situation. Together, we can determine your needs and find solutions, including potential loan payment deferrals.
Effective Thursday, March 19, all lobbies will close but drive-thrus will remain open
We are closing all our bank lobbies—with the exception of Duluth and Oslo, which will maintain regular lobby hours. All other FB&T offices will remain open and fully staffed through their drive-up windows and night-deposit receptacles, as well as by appointment. All transactions will be processed within the normal time frames.
To see an updated list of all drive-thru hours, click here.
The steps we’re taking to help business customers:
As your trusted financial advisor, Frandsen Bank & Trust stands ready to help our business customers who have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are committed to working with you to help you navigate turbulent times and we encourage you to contact your Business Banker to discuss your particular situation. Together, we can determine your needs and find solutions, including potential loan payment deferrals.
A message from our CEO
Dear Neighbor, Friend, and Customer,
With political leaders declaring states of emergency late last week, you probably have questions about how Frandsen Bank & Trust will safely provide the financial services you rely on. We are taking vigilant action to protect the health and well-being of our customers and staff. We want to assure you that we plan to remain open for business in some capacity at all locations during this pandemic. Here is a synopsis of what we are doing.
Steps to ensure continued banking services
Frandsen Bank & Trust’s Business Continuity Plan is a well-thought-out strategy designed to help us quickly implement appropriate procedures in the event of a major emergency. This plan has been battle tested during previous flood and snow emergencies and has served us well. In response to news reports, we activated this plan on February 28, 2020, and immediately began preparations to ensure continued banking operations.
No one can predict how the pandemic will progress over the weeks ahead. Our response team is monitoring the situation daily. We will follow the latest guidance from public health authorities in the three states we serve, as well as the national Centers for Disease Control. If the course of the pandemic requires us to make changes in daily operations (for example, closing bank lobbies), we are equipped to continue to serve you via multiple channels.
Steps to protect our customers and staff
Like you and your family, we are following CDC sanitation guidelines for all our offices and drive-up facilities. Some measures we have implemented include:
We encourage you to use our digital and drive-up services
- We are providing resources and education to help our employees stay healthy and to stay home if they become ill. Quarantine measures are being applied as necessary.
- All nonessential visitors (vendors, family members, etc.) have been asked to avoid the bank. This does NOT apply to customers—but we do have options if you’d like to meet with your banker without coming into the bank.
- We have restricted nonessential travel and large gatherings between staff members.
- We have instructed our employees on best practices for hand hygiene and keeping workstations disinfected throughout the day.
- We have asked janitors to provide enhanced sanitation in our buildings.
Frandsen Bank & Trust offers a full suite of easy-to-use online and mobile services that can save you a trip to the bank. Although we are committed to keeping bank lobbies open, we encourage you to make use of this technology.
- Manage your accounts with online banking. If you are not enrolled in Personal Online Banking, click here. If you are not enrolled in Business Online Banking, contact your local Frandsen business banker.
- Manage your accounts and deposit checks with our Mobiliti™ smartphone app. (Personal Online Banking registration is required—click here to enroll. Message and data rates may apply.)
- Manage your accounts with Frandsen’s Convenience Line by calling 877.689.1469.
- Apply for consumer or real estate loan here.
- Get cash back with your debit card at ATMs or from point-of-sale purchases at select local merchants. Find surcharge-free ATMs here.
- Most Frandsen Bank offices have drive-up and night-deposit facilities. We encourage you to use them rather than coming into our lobbies.
We can help you through this challenge
Our vision is to proactively provide financial solutions that will create success in the lives of our customers, communities, and employees. Frandsen Bank is ready to assist customers who experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic. If you find yourself in need of advice or resources, please contact your local Frandsen Bank & Trust office. We are big enough to help, but small enough to care.
Be aware that scams are rampant at this time and fraudsters are trying to take advantage of this situation. Do not hesitate to contact a Frandsen banker if in doubt about any offer or communication that could potentially impact your finances. Remember, we will never ask for your confidential passwords to any of your Frandsen Bank accounts!
Finally, please keep in mind that we may experience staffing issues during this time. We hope you will be patient as we navigate these waters together.
Chief Executive Officer
We are taking steps to ensure continued banking services and protect our customers and staff:
- Our pandemic response team continues to monitor the situation daily
- Tested plans and procedures are in place and we are well prepared to continue operations
- Sanitation guidelines for all our offices and drive-up facilities are being enhanced and reinforced
- We are providing resources and education to help our employees stay healthy and to stay home if they become ill