How to protect your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought public life in America to a standstill. Many people are rightfully concerned about their income, retirement savings, and the short- and long-term impact to the economy and job market. While much is still up in the air, there are a few things you should know to protect your finances and put your mind at ease during these turbulent times.
Is my money safe in the bank?
As you may have heard, Hills Bank has closed its lobbies to the public for the time being. However, our drive-up teller windows remain open during normal business hours, and in-person appointments can be made for necessary services. We understand that not being able to visit the bank can be concerning. But it’s important to remember that your money is protected. Regardless of the bank’s operation conditions, your money is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Deposits with an FDIC-insured bank or savings institution will continue to be protected up to at least $250,000. The FDIC has shared other financial FAQs related to the coronavirus, which you can view here.
What if I need cash?
The Federal Reserve System has and will continue to meet the currency needs of banking customers. You can be assured that, whether directly or electronically, you’ll have access to your funds when you need them.
How to protect yourself from coronavirus financial scams
The internet bad guys are preying on the public’s fear and sending out all sorts of scams related to COVID-19. Here are some examples of the types of scams and other fraud you should be on the lookout for:
- Emails that appear to be from organizations such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), or the WHO (World Health Organization). The scammers have crafted emails that appear to come from these sources, but they actually contain malicious phishing links or dangerous attachments.
- Messages that ask for charity donations for studies, doctors, or victims that have been affected by the coronavirus. Scammers often create fake charity emails after global phenomena occur, like natural disasters, or health scares like the COVID-19.
- Emails that claim to have a “new” or “updated” list of cases of Coronavirus in your area. These emails could contain dangerous links and information designed to scare you into clicking on the link.
Remain cautious, and always remember the following to protect yourself from scams like this:
- Never click on links or download attachments from an email that you weren’t expecting.
- If you receive a suspicious email that appears to come from an official organization such as the WHO or CDC, report the email to the official organization through their website.
- If you want to make a charity donation, go to the charity website of your choice to submit your payment. Type the charity’s web address in your browser instead of clicking on any links in emails, or other messages.
Free money? Not so fast
As Congress considers whether to send out checks directly to Americans, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shared several tips to avoid scams while the details are worked out:
- The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.
- The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- These reports of checks aren’t yet a reality. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
Financial assistance from Hills Bank
With the closure of schools, restaurants, and other workplaces, we recognize the challenges and financial difficulties facing Iowans in the coming months – and we’re here to help.
Have you been affected? If you are a Hills Bank customer with a loan or mortgage and/or deposit account, please connect with our banking team. You can reach us:
- Online at hillsbank.com or through our online banking app (if you're not already signed up, enroll here.)
- By calling 1-800-HILLSBK (1-800-445-5725)
- Through the HERE by Hills Bank app to chat directly with a banker at your convenience
We will work with you to provide financial assistance when you need it most.