April 2, 2020

3 Ways to be Proactive with Finances During Hard Times

Preserving your financial wellbeing takes center stage when economic conditions change. When times get hard, reviewing your budget and building an emergency fund are common practices. How else can you be proactive with your finances during times of uncertainty?

  1. Cancel unwanted memberships or subscription services. Go here.
  2. Avoid being hooked by a phishing scam. Go here.
  3. Watch your account activity regularly. Go here.

Are subscription services hurting your pocketbook?

When times are good, you may not think twice about signing up for an annual magazine subscription, a gym membership, or a free trial of a gourmet pet food service. Setting up automatic payments and renewal may also sound like a no-brainer – it saves you time and sometimes locks in a better price.

But when you’re forced to take a closer look at your budget, those automatic charges may not come to mind as you evaluate your day-to-day spending. They’re out of sight and out of mind – until an unexpected charge appears on your statement.

Your immediate thought may be of fraud. Before disputing the charge or canceling your card, take a moment to research the unfamiliar source. If you find it’s something you authorized, you must contact the company directly to cancel the ongoing purchase. Otherwise, you’ll still be responsible for the charges.

DO THIS:

  • Review your checking account or credit card statements over the last 12 months to see if the charge has appeared before.
  • Call companies directly to cancel memberships or subscriptions you no longer wish to pay for.
  • Read the fine print and know the terms before signing up for a free trial. If a debit card is required, you’re likely agreeing to pay for an ongoing subscription after the free period ends.
  • Contact a personal banker if you are still concerned about fraud or need assistance contacting a merchant.

Avoid being hooked by a phishing scam.

Scammers take advantage of fears or uncertainty when the economic climate changes. They’ll use fear, intimidation, trickery, urgency, and disinformation related to the situation to gain access to your personal information.

Remember, financial institutions or the federal government will never contact you and ask for your social security number, bank account number, or credit card number. We’ll also never ask you to confirm your PIN, expiration dates, the CVV code on the back of a credit card, or any other sensitive information. Anyone who does is a scammer.

DO THIS:

  • Always think before you click an email or respond to a request for your personal information – even if the company sounds familiar.
  • Learn more about how to protect your finances from phishing.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you are concerned you have fallen victim to a scam. Call 855.876.1500 or email hello@fortifibank.com.

Watching your account regularly could save you money.

Have you grown accustomed to reviewing your account statements at the end of each month? While month-end reviews are a worthwhile practice, time is an important factor when it comes to catching unwanted or fraudulent charges. We encourage you to use online and mobile banking to stay up to date on account activity between monthly statements.

Besides checking your account balance and activity, these free convenient services also give you access to pay bills, send money to friends and family, and temporarily turn your debit card on or off – anytime and anywhere. Signing up for eStatements is also a best practice to ensure you have 24/7 access to your monthly records. Best of all, they’re securely delivered to your inbox each month.

DO THIS:

Fortifi Bank is here to help you stay informed and educated about the financial resources available to you. If you have been impacted by a difficult time, you are always welcome to reach out to your banker for additional guidance. Together we will make it through.

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