young woman using cell phone

Digital Banking Tips for Younger Generations

young woman using cell phone

John

Although the digitally native younger generation may feel more adept than their parents at navigating life online, even the most tech-savvy of young people remain at risk of cyber scams or fraud. Below are some vital tips for younger generations to use digital banking safely.

Don’t share personal information online. This includes your name, address, phone number, and Social Security number. Be especially careful with social media, making sure to limit information in your profile and posts.

Avoid scams on mobile payment apps. When sending money through a mobile payment app, double- check the recipient’s information to be sure you’re sending money to the right person. If you get an unexpected request for money from someone speak with them directly to make sure the request is not from a hacked account. Never send a payment to claim a prize or collect sweepstakes winnings.

Read the reviews! Products or businesses aren’t always what they seem. Read the reviews on third-party websites before purchasing from a business or sharing your credit card or other payment information on a new site.

Don’t lose track of your info. Keep an inventory of the places you have provided your bank or other payment information to prevent identity theft.

Avoid unsecure Wi-Fi connections. The promise of free Wi-Fi may sound appealing for Internet surfing, but not so much for digital banking. Keep yourself and your information safe by turning off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections when using mobile banking.

Stay up to date on your statements. Regularly check your banking statements to look for unauthorized payments or activity and report them to your bank immediately.

Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails, texts, phone calls 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, and never give your password, account number or PIN to anyone.

If you have any questions, please call our Customer First Contact Center at (203) 462-4400 (Monday – Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

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three credit cards next to one another

What To Do Before and After Identity Theft

three credit cards next to one another

John

If you’re not familiar with the term, identity theft is when another individual has gained access to your personal information and is able to use it to their benefit. It could be them being able to spend your money, use your identification to access personal information, or land you in legal trouble through their own actions.

It’s a difficult situation to deal with, and it’s important that you understand what you can do to prevent it, and what you should do if you find yourself a victim of identity theft.

How to Protect Your Identity From Theft

Victims of identity theft often aren’t aware of the causes and methods that these frauds use, and it can leave them open to theft. However, there are measures you can put in place for this situation to be avoided and prevented.

Identity thieves often use the following methods to get your information:

  • Phishing
  • Pharming
  • Malicious software
  • Skimming
  • Social media imposters

Be Aware of Scam Calls

A common way that these thieves get ahold of personal information is through phone scams. Phone scams can come in many different disguises, and they are often after either your personal information or easy money.

A scammer might call with shocking news, claiming that you’re in legal trouble, or that you’re owed a large amount of money. Understand that these calls are often, if not always, a scam, and should be ignored at all times. Scammers will call numbers at random with the same lines, hoping to catch someone who is unaware.

Do not give out your personal information over the phone unless you have called a person or business knowing they are legitimate.

Keep Secure Passwords

With the development of many online services, there’s more sensitive information being stored on the internet than ever before. eCommerce sites and social media store very personal information that you should protect at all costs.

It’s because of this that you need to make sure that your passwords are very safe and not easy to guess or break into. Typically websites will enforce a secure password, but know that you can make it even more complicated and harder to guess.

Cancel Lost Cards

We all drop things from time to time, and it’s not unheard of for people to misplace their credit or debit cards when they’re out and about. If this does happen to you, you should act quickly.

The information on a card can be used to purchase things in stores and online, so you should deactivate your First County Bank debit card via our online banking or through our mobile app, as soon as possible. Losing your card doesn’t always mean fraud, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and have it replaced.

If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

If you are under the suspicion that your identity has already been stolen or is at risk of being stolen, then you need to make sure you act fast to prevent damages. It wouldn’t take a fraud or identity thief long to cause trouble, so the faster you address it, the better

File a Claim

The first thing you should do is alert your bank that you suspect there to be identity theft going on. Letting your bank know that your accounts or information are in danger allows them to take action and help minimize the damage, as they can keep an eye on your accounts for any kind of suspicious activity after you’ve made the claim.

If you have identity theft protection insurance, then you should make sure to file a claim with them too. They can help you try to recover or compensate for the damages that have been done at the hands of the thief.

Some of our checking accounts, MyChoice Checking and ValueAccess Checking with BaZing, include identity theft protection as well.

Contact Credit Bureaus

There are three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) that work with creditors and lenders to help them make important lending decisions. They are also where you can find your credit reports and score, which are helpful for finding cases of identity theft.

If you notice your credit score decrease dramatically out of nowhere or see something off on your credit report, you can be a victim of identity theft.

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, there are two things you can do. First, you can have each of them freeze your credit file, as a security freeze will block new lenders from requesting your credit file to process new credit applications.

You can also set up a fraud alert so lenders are aware ‌of fraudulent activity regarding your information, and they must take more steps to verify your identification before they approve an application. Standard one-year and seven-year extended fraud alerts are offered. The latter is for those who have verified they are victims of identity theft.

Reach Out Where It Counts

It’s not just your bank and insurance company that you should reach out to. You should inform anyone who can provide personal and sensitive information regarding things like payment details, social security numbers, and so on.

You don’t want your personal information to get out, nor do you want accounts opened in your name. Any service in which you’re signed up could be storing important information that an identity thief could use to further their fraudulent activities.

Sometimes individuals find out about identity theft after receiving a bill to their address stating that they owe money, or that they’ve been signed up for a service that they’ve never heard of. If this is the case, you should contact said company immediately after verifying the legitimacy of your evidence. You don’t want to fall for a phishing scam, which some letters or emails could be.

File an Official Report

When your identity is at risk, it’s important to have evidence of everything that’s going on and to be able to show that you were actively trying to recover it. If your case ever has to go to court, or requires legal intervention, having official records of it will be very helpful.

To get these, you should inform your local police department of what’s going on, and make sure you get a copy of the report for yourself.

If you have this document, and your information was used to tie you to a crime, you then have evidence that will show that you’ve already filed a claim for identity theft. The last thing you need is to suffer legal consequences in the midst of all of this.

You can also report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission and receive a recovery plan. This official report would be useful as well when proving that you have taken action upon notice of a case of identity theft.

Freeze Your Accounts

If it’s your financial information that’s being accessed, your bank accounts can empty quickly. If the individual is using your credit information for daily purchases, you should have some time to freeze your accounts at the bank.

However, it’s much better than losing your money to someone with your stolen identity!


two kids playing in tree house

Mortgage Commercials

two kids playing in tree house

John

Experience the Comforts of Home with a Mortgage from First County Bank

There’s nothing like the comfort of home.

A place where you and those you treasure most can sit back, relax, and connect. Where you can close doors to the demands of the world outside and open your mind to new plans and possibilities.

At First County Bank, we want you to experience all the comforts of having a place of your own. So, whether you’re looking to buy your first home, lower the payments on your current place, or move to your next address, we’re here to help you get to the place that’s just right for you.

First County Bank. It’s where you and your plans for home belong.

Member FDIC
Equal Housing Lender

 

Your Plans for Home Belong with a Mortgage from First County Bank

There’s a special place out there waiting for you.

It’s called home. Where you can build a family … a business dream … a cozy retreat. Where you can open doors to friends and neighbors or curl up with what’s most precious to you.

At First County Bank, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to find their home. That’s why we offer a range of flexible mortgage programs with great rates and personal guidance to help you get to the place where you were meant to be.

First County Bank. It’s where you and your plans for home belong.

Member FDIC
Equal Housing Lender


how to deactivate and reactivate a debit card at first county bank

How to Deactivate and Reactivate a Debit Card

How to Deactivate and Reactivate a Debit Card

With online banking at First County Bank, you can activate or deactivate your card with the click of a button.

To take control of your debit card, follow these simple steps:

  • Go to our homepage. Go to My Account and click on Online Banking.
  • From your home screen, click on Your Profile at the top, and then Banking Services.
  • Click on Guard my Card
  • You will now see any applicable cards and have the ability to Deactivate or Activate them.
  • Select the one that you want to activate or deactivate. We are going to deactivate this particular card by simply clicking on this button. You’ll see the status of your card has been successfully changed and the card is no longer highlighted.
  • If you want to activate it again, just click the activate button. Once again, the card is highlighted and the status of your card has been successfully changed.

It’s just that easy!

We pride ourselves on providing peace of mind for our customers so they can focus on what matters most.

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.


mobile banking at first county bank

Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking

Mobile banking from First County Bank gives you the convenience and freedom you desire for your busy lifestyle.

You can download the mobile app in seconds from the Apple app store or Google Play. From this point on, your personal accounts, and the tools you use to manage them, are as close as your mobile device. You can access your account whenever and wherever you are…at home or on the road.

First County Bank mobile banking gives you the control to securely manage your accounts:

  • View account balances and activity
  • Pay bills
  • Transfer funds in minutes
  • Send money with Zelle
  • Set alerts to stay informed and minimize fraud
  • Easily deposit checks using your mobile device
  • Deactivate and reactivate your debit card in case it’s misplaced

And more…

With the mobile app, you can even leverage biometrics like fingerprint or facial ID for secure access with no need to remember your password for features like Get Fast Balances (this is not available if using a mobile browser)

Let mobile banking from First County Bank give you the convenience and freedom you deserve.
It’s just that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong


benefits of online banking at first county bank

Benefits of Online Banking

Benefits of Online Banking

First County Bank offers a way to safely and securely manage all of your accounts, no matter where you are. With account management, online bill payments and money transfers all at your fingertips, you can choose how and when you bank with 24/7 access to your accounts using your computer, tablet or smartphone. Once you are a registered First County Bank online user, you can also download our mobile app to manage your accounts.

Online and Mobile Banking from First County Bank offers numerous benefits and features.

On our homepage, go over to my account and click on Online banking.

Once you’re in online banking, you’ll be able to view your account balances which all appear in a quick snapshot. You can view account history and select a range of 30 days, 60 days, etc:

  • Easily transfer funds in between accounts by going to Quick Transfer and click on from, to, enter amount, and click transfer.
  • Send money with Zelle.
  • Pay bills easily adding a company or person.

By going to Your Profile at the top and clicking on Banking Services, you can deactivate or activate your debit card with Guard My Card.

  • Manage alerts
  • View and sign up for eStatements
  • Stop payment on a check
  • Reorder checks
  • Manage fingerprint / facial ID
  • Update contact information
  • Open an account
  • Transfer funds and so much more

It’s just that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.


how to open an account online at first county bank

How to Open an Account Online

How to Open an Account Online

Here we will walk you through the easy process of opening a savings account which is a very similar to opening a checking account.

    • Go to our website. You can open a personal account online and choose from a checking or savings account. Get to our account offerings page by clicking on savings account or going to the compare savings accounts button. Click on that and then Scroll down to see the available accounts that can be opened online. Click on apply now and you’ll be brought to our online application page. Complete all the fields where information is requested. View the disclosure, accept and continue
    • You’ll need to upload a photo ID. This would require the front and back of your driver’s license or a U.S. government photo ID. Once your ID has been uploaded, click on continue. Proceed by entering in your name, contact and private information, clicking on continue until it’s complete.
    • You can enter employment information or skip it and click on continue. Verify all of your personal details and click on continue. Check the boxes to certify the tax payer identification information, consent and click on continue. Within the Security Check section, answer the necessary questions and click on continue.
    • Now you can enter details for your account set up. Create a nickname for your account if you like. Choose the funding method whether an ACH transfer from an existing account, a debit or credit card, or in person deposit, and indicate the opening deposit amount. You have the option to add an ATM card and click on continue.
    • You must then review and accept all related account disclosures. Digitally sign your application and click on Submit Application.

It’s just that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.


set up and use online bill pay at first county bank

Set Up and Use Online Bill Pay

Set Up and Use Online Bill Pay

The ease of online bill pay and its many conveniences is why a majority of our customers have made the switch to Online and Mobile Banking from First County Bank.

Here’s how you set up bill pay:

Go to our homepage. Go to My Account and click on Online Banking. Login to your account.

Go to pay my bills at the top and click on it. You can choose to add a company or a person as a payee.

For a company, you can choose from any of these different categories. We’re going to choose utilities. You’ll see that there are already several companies that are established in the system.

Find the company that you want to pay, or you can search our network for another company or person.

To pay one of the providers, which in this case is Eversource, click on the provider, enter your account number, confirm your account number, provide an optional nickname, enter your ZIP code and then click on add.

To pay a person, you would complete the form, entering in their contact information, and again click on add. Once you register the company or person, they would be listed in the payment center. You can now select the payee, choose the correct account from which to pay, enter the amount, select a delivery date that the payment must be received on and click on Send Money. You can add a memo and then click on Submit Payment.

By clicking on Activity you can track the payments that you have issued.

It’s just that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.

 

If you have questions about Online Bill Pay, including how to get started, visit one of our branches to speak with a Digital Ambassador.


how to manage alerts at first county bank

How to Manage Alerts

How to Manage Alerts

Set up alerts to stay on top of account activity with online banking from First County Bank.

Alerts are easy to set up via online banking. Go to our homepage. Go to My account and click on online banking.

Once you’ve entered online banking, you are going to go to click on Your Profile, then Banking Services, then Manage My Alerts, then My Alerts.

You can create a new alert, change current alerts and view alert activity.

Under Add Notification Subscription is where you can see and set up various types of alerts. Here I am going to set up a card alert and then click on Add Subscription. You can then select alerts for various cards that alert you to specific transactions, transactions over a certain amount, merchant types and transaction types.

You can then add an email address or phone number to receive an email or text alert. Once everything is added or edited, go ahead and click on submit. You can also see your alert history and all of your current alerts which can easily be edited or deleted.

It’s just that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.


how to enroll in eStatements at first county bank

How to Enroll in eStatements

How to Enroll in eStatements

Help reduce paper and save time by signing up to receive free electronic statements for your First County Bank accounts using our online banking service.

It’s easy to set up your electronic statements:
From our homepage, proceed to My Account, click on Online Banking. Log into your account and you’ll see your home screen. Go over to your profile, click on your Name, then click on Banking Services, then e-statements.

To enroll in eStatements, simply click on View eStatements. You will initially be asked to review the Consent and Agreement to eStatement Delivery, confirm your email address, and select the accept button (you are now enrolled in eStatements and will no longer receive paper statements). This is how your welcome page appears and you will immediately gain access to electronic copies of the statements for all accounts that you have access to within First County Bank that you access through online banking.

It’s that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.


how to reorder checks at first county bank

How to Reorder Checks

How to Reorder Checks

To reorder checks, follow these simple steps:

  • Go to our website. From the home page, go over to Personal Banking, go down to Checking Accounts and you’ll see the last item on that menu is Reorder Checks. Click on that.
  • Scroll down and click on Order Now. You’ll see a security message saying that you are now leaving First County Bank. Click on Continue.
  • You will now be directly linked to the Deluxe website, our trusted vendor for reordering checks.
    You will then fill in information regarding your account including your routing number, your account number and your ZIP code. You can also sign in to see pricing or browse without pricing.
  • Scroll down and choose from several check options. Click on Shop Now for a variety of styles and designs. Go to Customize Your Checks Below where you can choose your preferred font. Fill in your contact information here. Under Check Details you can indicate your starting number. You have the option to add a symbol, a background image, and/or additional messaging if necessary.
  • Select the Check Type and Quantity of boxes you require.Click Confirm and Next to follow the prompts to complete your purchase.

Through simple and intuitive online ordering, backed by industry-leading fraud protection, your order will be on its way to production.

It’s just that easy!

First County Bank
It’s where you belong.


handing key to new homeowner

Mortgage Banker vs. Mortgage Broker: What's the Difference?

handing key to new homeowner

John

If you are looking for a home loan or refinancing your existing home loan, you are likely to come across people or businesses that fall under two distinctive categories:

  • Mortgage banker
  • Mortgage broker

Understanding the key differences between the two can help you figure out which is best suited for your needs. Our team at First County Bank has compiled a guide with the key differences between mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. Indeed, not all lenders are the same, so depending on who you choose to go with, you will have access to unique features and options.

Both a banker and a broker can help you get a home loan. They are also both listed by the federal U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as “loan officers” who fulfill similar functions. Yet, a mortgage banker is an institutional lender, while a mortgage broker is a middleman between the person seeking a loan and the lender. Below, we dive deeper into the differences and similarities between the two loan officers.

What Is a Mortgage Banker?

A mortgage banker is, or works for, an institution that funds, underwrites, approves, and closes mortgages. Once the mortgage is originated, the mortgage banker can choose to sell the loan to investment firms, specialist agencies, or even retail banks.

A mortgage banker will earn fees through the underwriting, approval, and closure process related to the mortgage. Typically, they work in the loan department of a bank or any other financial institution, where they are in charge of advising borrowers and approving or rejecting mortgage loan applications.

What Is a Mortgage Broker?

A mortgage broker does not fund mortgages, but ‌is a federally licensed agency or individual who is authorized to sell loans on behalf of a lender. Unlike a mortgage banker, the broker doesn’t underwrite or approve the loan, as these steps are still done by the lender.

The mortgage broker is tasked with getting the borrower the best possible deal for their needs and situation. Brokers earn a commission, which is paid by the loan, aka the difference between the rate they provide to the borrower and the one they receive from the lender. Alternatively, some brokers prefer a percentage of the loan value instead.

Why You Should Work With a Mortgage Banker

A mortgage banker closes the deal in the name of the lending institution and uses the institution’s funds to finance it. Here are some benefits to working with mortgage bankers, such as First County Bank.

They Provide Loans for One Specific Financing Institution

As mortgage bankers work for a specific institution, they can only assist borrowers with the loans from their institution. Though they are knowledgeable about the different loan options provided by their institution, they may not advise on any other mortgage options, and the approval process ensures the borrower meets the specific eligibility criteria.

If you have a complex financial situation, you may want to improve it before applying for a bank loan.

They Decide Whether an Application Is Approved or Rejected

While approval criteria can be strict, there can still be some room for a subjective decision depending on the circumstances. As the mortgage banker is the individual in charge of your application, a borrower can use their appointment with a banker to ‌clarify their financial situation or explain irregularities that might play in their disfavor.

Mortgage bankers act as advisors, so in exceptional situations, they can make the difference between being approved or being rejected after meeting with the borrower.

You Can Save Time and Money With a Mortgage Banker

By working directly with the loan officer at the bank, you can rapidly find out whether your loan is approved or not. The transaction can be completed quickly for borrowers who meet the eligibility criteria, saving you time and money.

Get Your Mortgage With First County Bank

Are you still unsure where to turn and get a mortgage? At First County Bank, we understand ‌it can be stressful for home buyers to find the right mortgage options for their needs. That’s why we offer an extensive choice of mortgage tools and calculators to help you unlock your full financial potential.

We know that navigating property purchases can be difficult, but our dedicated team of mortgage experts are available to help you understand how much you can afford to borrow and prepare you for your next adventure as a homeowner. Get in touch today to make your dream home a reality!