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Blog Archive August 2020



Guiding Your College Teen To Their Financial Independence

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As your child embarks on one of the most momentous milestones of their lives, preparing him/her for college is a huge endeavor. Aside from the paperwork, packing, logistics and various choices to decide upon, there is also the primary factor for which it could not be possible; the financial aspect of covering the expenses for the next four years.

Before your teen leaves for campus, have a realistic budget in place. Consider the different ways income will be incoming or possibly earned and provided. This can be through financial aid, a job, parental assistance or a scholarship. Also, take into account the various expenses they will be responsible for so they are clear regarding the money they have will be allocated. Every student’s financial responsibilities will be different. 

Some students are surprised by the cost of things they had never considered, such as transportation or food. Others may plan to work more hours than they are actually able to based upon their class workload or the class times they are assigned, leaving them less income than anticipated. As outgoing high school students, college Freshmen are typically unaware of the cost of things. Being newly independent, college students have newfound freedom and want to be adventurous but are also shocked that they do not have the budget to act upon their ideas. Last minute road trips, spontaneous new hairstyles, and going out often takes a toll on their limited budgets.

As a student, there are ways to maximize their status. Textbooks, for instance, can be purchased used and re-sold when the year is over. Many local stores and restaurants offer discounts to students. Beware of credit cards that offer free credit to your teen. While it may seem tempting, it can quickly get out of hand if your teen overcharges and doesn’t have the funds to pay it. Having a joint debit account might work better if you plan to contribute money every month. The funds can be easily transferred, and your student can use the debit card or take out cash when needed. PAB&T offers the perfect type of free checking account for a college teen. Taking into consideration the needs of a college student, there is no minimum balance requirement, and PAB&T will reimburse you $25 of Non-PABT ATM fees per statement cycle. It is also designed to be extremely convenient, allowing users to manage funds through online banking and our mobile app with text alerts while still using Person to Person (P2P) payments.

Regardless of how well a budget is maintained, it is nearly impossible to graduate college without some debt nowadays. However, the more successful your student is at maintaining their budget during college, the less their debt will be after college, giving them a significant advantage in starting their careers and adult lives.

They will also be better off in general as far as having learned a crucial skill that will serve them well. Knowing how to create a realistic budget that will lead you to an advantageous financial goal and following it is a powerful character lesson. 

The key is for those guidelines to be clear from the beginning. As the academic year progresses, adjustments may need to be made based on housing or job changes. Still, communication should always be maintained about the expectations of your student.

This will allow him/her to become responsible for making decisions to become financially independent in the long term.


Avoiding Digital Fraud

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Online shopping has increased significantly over the past few years as the convenience of finding the best deal from the comfort of home prevails over the in-person retail experience. Online sales increased 14% for Americans alone in 2020. During the Pandemic, especially during quarantine, when many retailers’ brick and mortar locations were forced to close, online sales surged to new heights. As online purchases grow in numbers, so do the opportunities for online fraud. In fact, an estimated $7 Billion in digital fraud will occur in the year 2020 alone.

As the growing trend to shop online continues, consumers need to be alert and mindful of the various ways digital fraud can occur so it can be avoided as much as possible. As technology has advanced, so have the phishing scams and fake digital ads used to reel in unsuspecting victims. Consider the following tips to avoid digital fraud and to be able to shop safely online.

Public versus Private Networks
When making a purchase online, always do so when you are home on your own private and secure network. Never allow an online scammer to steal your financial information by looking up your banking information or inputting passwords while using a public network.

Trial Offers
Read the fine print before signing up for a free trial that turns into a monthly subscription. The cancellation is often challenging to follow through, and additional charges are applied without the consumer’s consent.

Correct Information
Maintaining updated information with your financial institutions, such as banks and credit cards, will ensure that they can reach you promptly. This supports when there is an issue and assists in keeping accounts protected. Reputable financial institutions such as Pan American Bank & Trust will alert you to possible fraud. PAB&T has a fraud center that continuously monitors client accounts and will notify clients directly by phone, email and/or text message when unusual activity occurs.

Call and Text Spoofing
If incoming calls or texts are from unidentified numbers, leave them unanswered. If you believe they are from a legitimate source, return the call from a secure line on a published number to verify the call is authentic, especially if they are asking for information.

Never Share Sensitive Login Info
A reputable company or financial institution will never ask you for your login information, password or secure access codes. Be aware of anyone asking for that information in any manner, whether by phone, text or email. A PAB&T representative will never ask a client for their password or PIN.

Never Pay Upfront
If you’ve been awarded a prize or are applying for a loan, debt relief or a job, be suspicious if you are asked to pay for anything upfront. The chances of the funds being stolen are high, especially if the transaction is through email, text or phone.

Phishing Emails
Cyber-thieves are technologically advanced and able to create emails that replicate those you typically receive from name brands. For that reason, it is easy to be fooled into clicking on the links provided in the email, leading to a fake portal that collects valuable information such as your credit card info. Never click links in emails as a rule of thumb!

Lost Credit and Debit Cards
Lost and stolen credit cards are responsible for a large portion of the fraud that occurs. Credit cards are often left behind after bills are paid at restaurants, stores, etc. Opportunists are always on the lookout for forgetful victims and use the cards immediately for fraudulent purchases. If you believe you have forgotten or lost a debit card, a PAB&T personal banker can assist you in canceling your lost/stolen debit card and help you obtain a new card. Clients may also report their card Lost/or Stolen through their Online Banking system. In addition, PAB&T has a 24hr Bank By Phone option that clients may utilize to manage their debit card. They can simply call (888) 245-0400 to use this option.

Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust or of authority. Repeated examples are government officials, charities or family members. Never give money or your financial information over the phone, by text or by email.

Pop-Up Ads
Advertisements that appear on your screen in an intrusive manner are pop-up ads. If clicked upon, these ads can lead users to sites that will not only steal their personal and financial info but also permit malware to be installed on their device, leading to additional difficulties and issues.

False Promotions and Sales
Before purchasing, always confirm a website is secure. Confirm that the web address starts with https://. If you were lured in by a sale or promotion, verify the same offer is on the actual company site.

Do Your Research
If you question a company or product, type it on an online search engine along with “review,” “scam” or any other term or phone number that best suits your inquiry.

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