Fighting the Virus & Fighting Scammers- April Entry
With the Coronavirus sweeping across the nation and our communities, many are being impacted in more ways than just their personal health; their financial health may also be suffering. Schools, many retail operations and factories are being shut down in the hopes the curve will be flattened and things can return to normal operation sooner rather than later. But with these layoffs comes unemployment for many. While these are most certainly uncharted waters, and we aren’t sure when the end will come, it is important to know how to best protect your finances.
Like many other financial institutions in Iowa (and the nation), Washington State Bank has been operating a little differently lately. Our lobby doors remain locked throughout the day, but our drive-thru locations are fully functioning during their normal business hours. Washington State Bank will continue to remain opened in some form throughout the pandemic. No matter your Bank’s branch availability, your money is safe and insured inside of it. As an FDIC insured bank, your deposits are protected up to at least $250,000. These deposits are backed by the U.S. government.. The FDIC has posted these and many other frequently asked questions on their website.
Unfortunately, when a new crisis hits scam artists are looking to capitalize on them. Consumer complaints to the FTC related to the Coronavirus has doubled in the last week with over 7,800. Many of these fraud complaints come from travel and vacation related calls and messages alerting people to possible refunds, mobile text scams, and government imposters. It is estimated that the average consumer has lost an average of $598 in Coronavirus related scams. So how can you avoid these scams? Here’s a few tips provided by the FTC:
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch Coronavirus scams such as treatments and work-at-home schemes.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. These things are not proven to treat or prevent COVID-19.
- Fact-check any information you may come across. Things can be distorted in translation from one person to the next with well intentions of passing along information. It’s important to check the facts for what the federal, state and local government agencies are doing.
- Know who you’re buying from. Scammers are preying on people in search of high-demand products such as cleaning and medical supplies, when in fact they may not have said products to sell.
- Do not respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. Details from the CARES Act are still being worked out, so anyone who tells you that they can get you the money now is a scammer.
For more information on various scams and what the FTC is doing in response, click here.
#MortgageMonday - To Build or Buy?
With spring quickly approaching, many will be on the move this year. Are you deciding between buying or building your next home? This month’s blog title is #mortgagemonday and we are weighing in building vs. buying. Whether you're a first-time home buyer or you're looking for something that better fits your family's needs, this is a question you'll likely be facing. Whatever you decide to do, it's important to compare the pros and cons of each decision, so you can make the best decision for your needs.
3 Advantages to Building a Home
- The ability to customize -Building new gives you the freedom to start with a blank slate and create the home that features all your wants and needs without running into any structural issues that may come with an existing home.
- No need for immediate repairs or renovations- Once the build is complete, construction is done. There will be nothing that needs fixed and no walls that need torn down. You won't have to budget for renovations soon and your home will most likely come with a warranty, which should cover any repairs that may come up in the first year.
- No competition- In today's market there is a higher demand for existing homes than the number of homes available to purchase. This means homes are on the market for shorter periods of time and the buyers are likely to face competing bids. When you build a home, you eliminate that competition.
3 Advantages to Buying an Existing Home
- Less time consuming- Starting from scratch on a home can take months to complete. Buying and closing on an existing home can take far less time, and you're able to move in as soon as you've closed on the house.
- Convenience- Building a home means the need to consider every detail, including where to purchase land, the design of the home, and the fixtures and trims you want to include. When purchasing an existing home, those decisions have all been made for you which can make it a less stressful process.
- Can make upgrades over time- While an existing home may not have every feature you want, you are able to make upgrades when the time is right for you and as you are able to save for them.