7 Tips to Avoid Online Fraud
Every year, millions of consumers fall victim to cybercrime. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2014, consumers lost more than $800 million from scams initiated through the web. In recognition of Internet Safety Month in June, here are seven tips to help consumers protect themselves from online fraud.
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.
- Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at email@example.com – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.
- Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
- Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
F&M Bank Announces Officer Promotions
F&M Bank has promoted 20 employees within its officer ranks, according to Sammy Stuard, president/CEO and chairman.
“Dedication, expertise and commitment from our talented team members is evident to F&M customers whenever they have contact with our bank personnel,” Stuard said in a news release. “Our bank has continued to flourish due to diligence of our people and the strong customer relationships they foster. It is in recognition of exceptional service that these promotions are made.”
The following received promotions to senior vice president:
Khandra Smalley (Clarksville), from vice president/marketing research.
Pamela Settle-Kelley (Clarksville), from vice president/operations manager.
Donna Lancaster (Clarksville), also named director of internal audit/compliance, from vice president/director of regulatory compliance.
The following have been promoted to vice president:
Kathy Harris (Greenbrier), from assistant vice president/branch manager/lender.
Jason Hass (Clarksville), from mortgage loan originator.
Rod Hawkins (Clarksville), from mortgage loan originator.
Rose McCroy (Springfield), from assistant vice president/lender.
Tina Reed (Clarksville), from assistant vice president/human resources.
Rhonda McKinney (Clarksville), from assistant vice president/collateral services.
Craig Sanders (Hendersonville), from mortgage loan originator.
Sarah Schneider (Clarksville), named vice president/loan administration training, from assistant vice president/loan administration.
Mike Smalling (Brentwood), from mortgage loan originator.
Billy Winfree (Green Hills), from mortgage loan originator.
Chad Winn (Clarksville), from mortgage loan originator.
Suzanne Woods (Cookeville), from assistant vice president/branch manager/lender
Named to the position of assistant vice president are the following:
Tina Augustine (Clarksville), promoted to assistant vice president/branch administration training, from customer service representative.
Carrie Hendricks (Clarksville), from assistant controller.
Rachel Henson (Clarksville), from marketing assistant.
Alice Lisenbee (Clarksville), promoted to assistant vice president/branch administration training, from branch administration training.
Michelle Porter (Clarksville), from operations team leader.
Incidents of Ransomware on the Rise : Protect yourself and your organization
Federal Bureau of Investigation - Hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, small businesses, large businesses—these are just some of the entities impacted recently by ransomware, an insidious type of malware that encrypts, or locks, valuable digital files and demands a ransom to release them.
The inability to access the important data these kinds of organizations keep can be catastrophic in terms of the loss of sensitive or proprietary information, the disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and the potential harm to an organization’s reputation.
And, of course, home computers are just as susceptible to ransomware, and the loss of access to personal and often irreplaceable items—including family photos, videos, and other data—can be devastating for individuals as well. Read the rest of the FBI's article on ransomware.
Shannon Wheeler Named New F&M Mortgage Originator
F&M Bank has announced the addition of Shannon Wheeler as a mortgage loan originator, headquartered in the bank’s mortgage center in Murfreesboro at 1639 Medical Center Parkway.
“As Rutherford County continues to enjoy a residential boom, Wheeler’s 20 years of mortgage experience will be of great benefit as we expand our presence,” stated F&M Mortgage Manager Rodney Wilds. “His commitment to providing excellent customer service enabled him to develop a loyal client base in Davidson and Williamson Counties as well. We are extremely pleased to have Shannon on the F&M Mortgage team.”
Shannon can be reached by calling 615-417-6640 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
F&M Names Bell and Andrews to Bank Board
Steve Bell and Dan Andrews, Jr. have been named to the F&M Bank Board of Directors, according to Sammy Stuard, President and CEO.
“Steve and Dan bring a wealth of banking experience and knowledge to F&M and their combined knowledge of the Tennessee marketplace will contribute greatly as we seek new opportunities for growth across Tennessee,” commented Stuard.
Steve began his banking career 1973 with Piggott State Bank in Piggott, Arkansas. In 1993, he was named a vice president in Farmers Bank and Trust in Blytheville, Arkansas and in 1998 was named President and COO there. In 2003 he moved to Franklin, Tennessee to begin the start-up operations for Tennessee Bank & Trust. In 2006, he was named Chairman and CEO of the parent company there.
He attended Arkansas State University and is a graduate of the Banking School of the South at Louisiana State University. He has served on the Williamson County Library Foundation Board and is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Franklin.
Tennessee Bank & Trust and F&M Bank are owned by business executive Gaylon Lawrence, Jr. and are holdings of The Lawrence Group. Bell serves on all six of The Lawrence Group’s banking Boards of Directors located in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
Dan’s banking career began in 1979 with Nashville City Bank and later joined Commerce Union Bank where he was named a Vice President and Commercial Lender for their Middle Market Lending area. In 1988, AmSouth named him to its new Corporate Loan Office and later named him Head of Commercial Lending there. In 2005, he was named Executive Vice President of Tennessee Bank & Trust and named President of the Tennessee Market in 2006.
Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of Tennessee Bank & Trust’s parent company, Farmers Bank & Trust in Blytheville, Arkansas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and is a graduate from the Stonier School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania.
F&M Bank Holds Ground Breaking for New Location in Hendersonville
Hendersonville Mayor Scott Foster joined Sammy Stuard, F&M Bank President and CEO, for the official ground breaking ceremony for its new bank in Hendersonville Tennessee.
Located at 221 Indian Lake Boulevard, the new 10,000 square foot facility will house the both F&M’s banking and mortgage divisions. Construction should take eight months and will replace its 100 Blue Grass Commons office.
“In September, 2008, we opened our F&M Mortgage Services office at 100 Blue Grass Commons Boulevard. From the beginning, it has been a major contributor to F&M’s success and it was quickly followed in the Spring of 2009 with the addition of banking services,” said stated Sammy Stuard, F&M President and CEO. Read Full Article
IRS and US-CERT Caution Users: Prepare for Heightened Phishing Risk This Tax Season
US-CERT and the IRS cautions users to remain aware of phishing attempts to obtain sensitive data, credentials, and payment information.
Throughout the year, scam artists pose as legitimate entities—such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), other government agencies, and financial institutions—in an attempt to defraud taxpayers. They employ sophisticated phishing campaigns to lure users to malicious sites or entice them to activate malware in infected email attachments. To protect sensitive data, credentials, and payment information, US-CERT and the IRS recommend taxpayers prepare for heightened risk this tax season and remain vigilant year-round.
Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization. In many successful incidents, recipients are fooled into believing the phishing communication is from someone they trust. An actor may take advantage of knowledge gained from research and earlier attempts to masquerade as a legitimate source, including the look and feel of authentic communications. These targeted messages can trick any user into taking action that may compromise enterprise security.
Spot common elements of the phishing lifecycle
- A Lure: enticing email content.
- A Hook: an email-based exploit.
- Email with embedded malicious content that is executed as a side effect of opening the email
- Email with malicious attachments that are activated as a side effect of opening an attachment
- Email with “clickable” URLs: the body of the email includes a link, which displays as a recognized, legitimate website, though the actual URL redirects the user to malicious content
- A Catch: a transaction conducted by an actor following a successful attempt.
- Unexplainable charges
- Unexplainable password changes
Understand how the IRS communicates electronically with taxpayers
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
- This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
- The official website of the IRS is www.irs.gov.
Take action to avoid becoming a victim
If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization or access credentials, report it to the appropriate contacts within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
Watch for any unexplainable charges to your financial accounts. If you believe your accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close those accounts.
If you believe you might have revealed sensitive account information, immediately change the passwords you might have revealed. If you used the same password for multiple accounts, make sure to change the password for each account and do not use that password in the future.
Report suspicious phishing communications
- Email: If you read an email claiming to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on attachments and/or links. Forward the email as-is to email@example.com, then delete the original email.
- Website: If you find a website that claims to be the IRS and suspect it is fraudulent, send the URL of the suspicious site to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line, “Suspicious website”.
- Text Message: If you receive a suspicious text message, do not reply or click on attachments and/or links. Forward the text as-is to 202-552-1226 (standard text rates apply), and then delete the original message (if you clicked on links in SMS and entered confidential information, visit the IRS’ identity protection page).
If you are a victim of any of the above scams involving IRS impersonation, please report to email@example.com, file a report with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the police.
Jimmy Bryant Named F&M Lender
James R. (Jimmy) Bryant, former lender at Legends Bank, has been named a commercial lender at F&M Bank in Clarksville. Jimmy is a graduate of Austin Peay State University and has over ten years experience as both a commercial and a consumer lender. He will be headquartered at F&M’s St. Bethlehem Office.
“Jimmy’s financial services experience as both a loan specialist and personal banker, combined with his knowledge of the Montgomery County market will be a real asset as we continue to grow F&M’s market share in Clarksville and the surrounding area", stated Sammy Stuard, F&M Bank President and CEO.
NMBA Recognizes F&M's Michael Smalling
Michael Smalling, F&M Mortgage Loan Originator, was recognized by the Nashville Mortgage Bankers Association as the recipient of two of its most prestigious awards presented during the Associations annual dinner held recently.
Smalling, a twenty-five year veteran of the mortgage services business, was presented with a Production Award for closing in excess of $50 million in mortgage loans. In addition, he received the Community Lending Award for his leadership in starting the Home for Homes Program. It is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals connected to the housing industry working to fund the housing needs of the poor and oppressed in impoverished countries.
“We are extremely proud of the Michael’s leadership, experience and his keen understanding of today’s mortgage services environment. We congratulate him on these well-deserved awards,” stated Rodney Wilds, manager of the Brentwood F&M Mortgage office.
Receive a Fraudulent Text Message?
Fraudulent text messages are being sent to consumers in an effort to steal personally identifiable information. Text broadcasts are commonly used by fraudsters to reach large audiences of potential victims. This scam is quite common and often operates simultaneously in multiple states.
HOW IT WORKS
Automated texts are being broadcast that warn consumers to respond regarding their account.
A recent text example: “(F&M Bank) Important message regarding your account! Please respond -<****.f-and.F-bank.info″.
We will NEVER send you a text message asking for your personal information. If you feel as though a text message, email, or phone call is suspicious, please immediately call us at 800.645.4199 to verify the request for information.
Brad Barrett Named F&M Bank Director
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn — Brad Barrett, former president of The Tennessee Bankers Association (TBA), has been named to the F&M Bank Board of Directors, according to Sammy Stuard, president and CEO.
“Brad brings a wealth of banking knowledge to F&M and his over 20 years of leadership at the helm of the TBA will contribute greatly as we seek new opportunities for growth across Middle Tennessee,” commented Stuard.
Following F&M’s recent sale to Nashville-area businessman Gaylon Lawrence Jr., Barrett joins the bank at an exciting time. Lawrence’s ownership of Middle Tennessee’s eighth largest bank will increase the bank’s capital and further position F&M for continued growth. Lawrence stated, “Brad’s banking expertise and his knowledge of Tennessee’s financial marketplace will add strength to F&M’s leadership.”
In response, Barrett said “since my career began over 45 years ago, the banking industry has undergone dramatic changes that challenge today’s banks and bankers. I have been impressed with the F&M franchise and have witnessed its transformation from a small bank in Stewart County to a thriving and successful regional bank. I am truly honored to have been asked serve on the F&M board and look forward to being part of the bank’s bright future.”
Barrett served as president of The Tennessee Bankers Association from 1992 until 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, having earned his BS degree in finance. He subsequently completed the Institute for Organization Management program at the University of Oklahoma.
Professionally, Barrett served two terms as chairman of the board of trustees for the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. He has been active in the American and Tennessee Societies of Association Executives. He served as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of BancInsure and served as an executive committee member and past chairman of the State Association Division of the American Bankers Association. In addition, Barrett served on the board of directors of the Tennessee Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation.
He is married to the former Diane Poynor and they reside in Nashville. They are the parents of Colin (Rachel) Barrett, Bradley Barrett Jr. and Andrew (Julie) Barrett.
Don’t Take the Bait; Avoid Phishing and Malware to Protect Your Personal Data
IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip Number 2, November 30, 2015 - “Update your account now.” “You just won a cruise!” “The IRS has a refund waiting for you.”
In the cyber world of phishing, the sentences are “bait” – lures from emails, telephone calls and texts all designed to separate you from your cash, your passwords, your social security number or your very identity.
The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial data. Taxes. Security. Together. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.
No doubt you’ve heard that warning to beware of phishing many times. But, phishing remains a problem because it works. Cybercriminals on a daily basis concoct new ways to trick people into turning over cash or sensitive data that can affect your taxes.
When it comes to this type of crime, the main line of defense is not technology, it is you... Read the full article.
BRIAN JONES NAMED COMMERCIAL LENDER FOR F&M BANK
Sumner County---F&M Bank has hired Brian Jones as a Vice President and Commercial Lender for its Sumner County Markets. “Brian has over twenty years of banking experience and his knowledge of the Hendersonville and White House area just adds strength to our presence there,” said Sammy Stuard, President and CEO of F&M Bank.
Brian hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has also completed coursework through the American Institute of Banking and is a graduate of the Tennessee Bankers Association’s Southeastern School of Commercial Lending. His office will be located at the F&M Bank in White House and he can be reached by calling (615) 389-1165 (Cell) or his office at (615) 672-1660, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
We now live in a world that is more connected than ever before. The Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life, whether we realize it or not. We connect with friends and family, conduct business and banking online and rely on many services, like transportation and electricity, that are supported with online systems.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. National Cyber Security Awareness Month takes place each October and is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.
Here are 7 Tips for Protecting Yourself Online.
Andrew Chelton Named New F&M Mortgage Lender
Brentwood, Tenn. — F&M Bank has announced the addition of Andrew Chelton as a mortgage loan originator, operating out of the bank’s mortgage center at 10 Cadillac Dr., Suite 100 in Brentwood/Maryland Farms.
“As Davidson and Williamson Counties continue to enjoy a residential boom, we look to add qualified personnel to our staff. Andrew‘s business development, marketing and sales experience add strength to our presence there. We are pleased to have him on our staff,” stated Rodney Wilds, manager of the Brentwood mortgage office.
Andrew can be reached by calling (615) 400-2086, or by email at email@example.com.
F&M Plans new Hendersonville location
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – Clarksville-based F&M Bank has announced plans to construct a new 10,000-square-foot facility at 221 Indian Lake Blvd. in Hendersonville.In September 2008, F&M Mortgage Services opened at 100 Bluegrass Commons Blvd., which was quickly followed in the spring of 2009 with the addition of banking services at the same location.
“From the beginning, our mortgage operation has been a major contributor to F&M’s success in Sumner County. This immediate success and subsequent growth of our combined services were indications that within a few years a larger facility would be needed,” said Sammy Stuard, F&M President and CEO, in a news release. “We saw value in the Indian Lake property and soon purchased a lot for future expansion. Now, that time is here and we are really excited about our new facility.”
The new branch will feature drive-up access, a 24-hour ATM, safe deposit box availability and an array of services currently not available in the limited space at the current location, bank officials said.
“There will be plenty of parking and accessibility will be much easier,” said Brad Edwards, vice-president and branch manager. “In addition, the new facility will enhance the bank’s ability to service the residential mortgage needs of the robust housing market in Sumner County.”
A groundbreaking is being planned for early October.
The ideal suitor: With new Nashville owner, F&M Braces for growth
Nashville Business Journal -- For F&M Bank, Nashville-area businessman Gaylon Lawrence Jr. presented the ideal suitor: Someone who could keep the bank intact and position it for future growth.
Lawrence, who also owns the parent company of Tennessee Bank & Trust in Franklin, entered a deal last week to take sole ownership of Clarksville’s F&M, the eighth-largest bank based in Middle Tennessee by assets. Terms were not disclosed.
“Basically, this is not a traditional merger where you will have 30 percent cost savings that leads to a loss of departments and people,” Sammy Stuard, F&M’s CEO, told me Monday. “[Lawrence] is a great operator of community banks. He’s a big believer in community banking and we really like his model. … He buys the bank and allows the management and employees to continue to run it.”... read full article here.