Avoiding Charity Scams

Wednesday, April 24 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

When you decide to support a cause you care about, you want your donation to count. Arvest Bank is providing tips for consumers to avoid scams and help ensure your donations get where they’ll do good.

Do some research online

  • Looking for a charity to support? Search for a cause you care about – like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” – and phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.”
  • When you consider giving to a specific charity, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”
  • Check out the charity’s website. Does it give information about the programs you want to support, or how it uses donations? How much of your donation will go directly to support the programs you care about? If you can’t find detailed information about a charity’s mission and programs, be suspicious.

Be careful how you pay

  • If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it. That’s how scammers ask you to pay.
  • To be safer, pay by credit card or check.
  • It’s a good practice to keep a record of all donations. And review your statements closely to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate – and that you’re not signed up to make a recurring donation.

Keep scammers’ tricks in mind

  • Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. That’s something scammers do.
  • Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made.
  • Scammers can change caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code.
  • Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving.
  • Scammers make lots of vague and sentimental claims but give no specifics about how your donation will be used.
  • Bogus organizations may claim that your donation is tax-deductible when it is not.
  • Guaranteeing sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation is not only a scam, it’s illegal.

If you get a call from a fundraiser:

  • You don’t have to give over the phone. Don’t let any caller pressure you. A legitimate charity will be happy to get your donation at any time, so there’s no rush. Take time to do the research.
  • Ask the fundraiser for the charity’s exact name, web address, and mailing address, so you can confirm it later. Some dishonest telemarketers use names that sound like large well-known charities to confuse you.
  • Ask how much of your donation will go directly to the program you want to help. Then, call the organization directly and ask them, too, or see if the information is on their website. What else does the charity spend money on? Some fundraising can be very expensive, leaving the charity with little money to spend on its programs.
  • Ask if your donation will be tax-deductible. Not every call seeking a donation is from a charity. Some calls might be from Political Action Committees or other groups where donations are not deductible. You can make sure that your donation is to a charity and tax-deductible by looking up the organization in the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search.
  • Check to see if the fundraiser and charity are registered with your state’s charity regulator (if that’s required in your state).

Report scams to FTC.gov/complaint*. Find your state charity regulator at nasconet.org* and report to them, too. Share any information you have – like the name of the organization or fundraiser, phone number, and what the fundraiser said.

Organizations that can help you research charities

These organizations offer reports and ratings about how charitable organizations spend donations and how they conduct business:

The IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search* tells you if your donation would be tax deductible.

If you see any red flags, or if you’re not sure about how a charity will use your donation, consider giving to a different charity. There are many worthy organizations who will use your donation wisely.

 

* Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Source: FTC.gov

 

 

Tips to Manage Stress and Promote Health

Wednesday, April 24 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Stressed out. Burned out. Overwhelmed. These are common phrases we all use to describe our daily lives. Our modern world has us managing more stress than ever and finding ways to de-stress, unwind and relax. Stress affects us all at one time or another. This natural response is intended to enhance your ability to operate in challenging situations; however, too much stress isn’t normal and can be a chronic risk to your physical and emotional health.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, which was created by the Health Resource Network (HRN) to educate people about the risks and dangers of chronic stress. Learning to manage stress in a healthy way can help you optimize its benefits and can serve as a motivation to perform well.

What is Stress?

Stress is a normal physiological reaction to everyday demands of life. It can come from a variety of sources. The most common sources of stress stem from work, family or financial circumstances. Physical elements, such as excess heat or hunger, and psychological elements, such as feelings of fear or anger, can be significant stressors, as well. Even positive events, such as job promotion or marriage, can cause stress in daily life.

Your brain automatically signals a fight-or-flight response to your body when it perceives a threat. This leads to a burst of hormones that increases heart rate, raises blood pressure and increases alertness. In small amounts, this natural response helps you handle stress in the short-term. Chronic stress occurs when the body endures these stressors for longer periods or in more severe amounts.

The Dangers of Stress

Chronic stress can have a potentially serious impact on our minds, bodies and behaviors. These side effects can include anything from physical symptoms such as headaches or upset stomach to emotional reactions such as anger or irritability. Some of the more serious health conditions that stem from long-term chronic stress include depression or anxiety, heart disease, weight gain or loss, gastrointestinal problems and diabetes. These potential consequences of stress can lead to increased spending on medical bills and poor financial decisions. Practicing healthy stress management techniques can lessen these effects and help maintain your health and your savings.

How to Manage Stress

Stress can be a powerful tool to cope with daily hassles as well as significant challenges. While it’s impossible to eliminate stress completely, you can take steps to minimize its negative effects. The first step is to identify what triggers your stress. Major stressors such as job pressures or financial concerns are easy to recognize. But also consider smaller stressors, such as sitting in traffic or paying bills, when evaluating your triggers. Identify when you can control the stressor and when you can only control your reaction to the stressor, then develop strategies to manage what you can control.

Practicing relaxation techniques can also help with stress management. Consider the following practices to start building your resilience to stress†: 

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Consistent sleep habits
  • Meditation and deep breathing
  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Music and dance
  • Laughter
  • Vacations and days off
  • Time with friends 

Find ways to relax and take time for yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. Stress management is an ongoing process, but by identifying your stressors and making a conscious effort to take care of your mind and body, you can reduce its chronic effects and maximize the benefits stress can provide.

Learn more about Stress Awareness Month* and read more about stress management from the Mayo Clinic*. 

* Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

†Consult with your doctor before beginning any new diet and/or exercise program. 

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-basics/hlv-20049495

 

 

 

A Spin on Spending - Earth Day

Monday, April 22 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

There are a number of ways to live a more environmentally friendly life. A simple way to start is by saving electricity when you can. Conserve electricity by switching off appliances when they’re not in use. Electrical items like TVs, phone and laptop chargers, and kitchen appliances left in stand-by mode still draw electricity. It’s best to turn these off completely, or unplug them when you can. 

You can also avoid using disposable bottled water. Instead use a reusable water bottle. According to research, more than 90 percent of plastic waste isn’t recycled - most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Go paperless with your monthly bills and bank statements to help cut down on deforestation and pollution. You can enroll in Arvest e.Statements through Online Banking with BlueIQ™, or the Arvest Go mobile app. Once you do this, you’ll be one step closer to reducing your carbon footprint. 

 

Tags: A Spin on Spending
 

Fake Caller ID Scams on the Rise

Thursday, April 18 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Bank is alerting customers about criminals who are using phone calls to impersonate their banks and steal personal information.

“I’m calling from Arvest Bank. Someone’s been using your debit card ending in 2345 at XYZ Store. I’ll need to verify your Social Security number — which ends in 8190, right? — and full debit card information so we can stop this unauthorized activity...”

In this scam, the caller ID shows the name of your bank, and the caller knows some of your personal details. Does that mean it’s legit? No. It’s a scam — and scammers are counting on the call being so unsettling that you might not stop to check your bank statement.

These phone scams combine two scammer tricks: “spear phishing” and caller ID spoofing. In a phishing attempt, scammers may make it look like they’re from a legitimate company. When they call or email with specific details about you — asking you to verify the information in full (things like your Social Security number or address) — that’s called spear phishing.

What makes this scam even more tricky is caller ID spoofing. That’s when scammers fake their caller ID to trick you into thinking the call is from someone you trust.

Here’s how you can avoid these scam tactics:

  • Don’t assume your caller ID is proof of whom you’re dealing with. Scammers can make it look like they’re calling from a company or number you trust.
  • If you get a phone call, email, or text from someone asking for your personal information, don’t respond. Instead, check it out using contact info you know is correct.
  • Don’t trust someone just because they have personal information about you. Scammers have ways of getting that information.

If you gave a scammer your personal or Arvest account information, please contact us immediately by calling Customer Service at (866) 952-9523, or visit a branch. To report a suspicious email, phone call or text message, please forward the suspicious email to, or send a message to: reportfraud@arvest.com.

Please visit our Consumer Protection section for information on Identity Theft, fraud, scams and online threats.

 

(Based on FTC resources)

Tags: Fraud Alert
 

Arvest Bank Receives U.S. Small Business Administration Honor

Monday, April 15 at 08:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently honored a group of lenders – including Arvest Bank – for their commitment to providing critical capital to South Central Region businesses in 2018.


The recognition was part of the annual Mid America Lender’s Conference (MALC), held April 8-10 this year in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Arvest was honored as the Arkansas District’s Impact Lender of the Year due to its strong and longstanding commitment to the SBA lending program. Arvest has topped Arkansas’ SBA lender list for the past five years, and in 2018, made 54 7(a) guaranty loans, totaling more than $21 million.

Additionally, since 2014, Arvest has supported small business in Arkansas with 321 loans totaling more than $104 million, which supported an estimated 3,000 jobs in the state.

“The impact of these high-achieving, dedicated lenders can be felt throughout our communities as they supply needed finding to entrepreneurs to start or expand small businesses and create good-paying American jobs that help strengthen our economy,” regional administrator Justin Crouse said in a news release issued by the SBA.

Tags: Arvest

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