Month: April 2019

Letters From Leton: The Taste of Progress!

Like flowers, they sprout up in the spring.

Of what or whom do I speak? – Girl Scout Cookie Sales Tables. In front of the Wise Fire Department. In front of Food City. They are everywhere, and their cookies (especially Samoas and Thin Mints) call to me like the Sirens of O’Brother Where Art Thou (and Greek Mythology).

In the past, I’ve been able to resist the call. As I generally do not carry cash on my person, I can avoid being lured by their tasty offers.

However, not to be out done by the simple strategy of a Bank CEO, the Girls Scouts now take cards.

Just another indication that the world of banking and commerce has changed (forever) the way we do business, even when it comes to buying Girl Scout Cookies.

As I handed over my PVNB Debit Card I simply said, “Two Samoas and Two Thin Mints.”

Ahhh, the price (and taste) of progress!

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.

5 Benefits of Online/Mobile Banking

1. Increase Security & Control

With mobile and online banking, you’re in control. Through features like event alerts and our mobile app, MobiMoney, you can monitor your accounts anytime, anywhere, in REAL TIME. This doesn’t mean you HAVE to check your account every 30 minutes though. Instead, you can set up alerts to notify you of things like:

  • When a deposit is made to your account
  • When your balance gets low
  • When a debit is made to your account
  • When transactions of a specified amount occur

You can also turn your debit card on and off with the touch of a button from your phone. Taking advantage of these features not only provides the convenience of control, these features also decrease your risk of fraud.

For additional information about mobile banking, check out our Mobile Banking Tutorial.

2. Save the Trees

Did you know there are environmental benefits to online/mobile banking? By taking advantage of features like online statements and online bill pay, you can greatly reduce your paper usage.

3. Eliminate Late Fees

Speaking of online bill pay… Never missing a payment means no more late charges! The ability to pay your bills online from anywhere means you can get those payments in on time no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Even better, set up automatic bill pay!

4. Reduce Carbon Emissions

Did you know you can do things like deposit checks, make payments, check your credit score, view your accounts, re-order checks, and more from the convenience of your home (or anywhere with internet)? Saving a trip to the bank not only saves you time, it also reduces your fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Save time, money, and the environment at the same time? Sign us up! (Just kidding, we’re already signed up for online banking. But if you’re not, you can here.)

5. Bank Anytime, Anywhere

With online banking, you have access to a 24/7, mobile branch of the bank. Essentially, you can take PVNB with you on vacation, to college, on business trips… anywhere, anytime. Say “YES” to that last-minute road trip without having to worry about getting your finances in order. Pay your bills in bed, check your balance at the beach, send someone money on a mountain – live your life!

If you’re interested in online and mobile banking but have questions, please contact us by phone or email, and we will be happy to provide assistance and answer your questions!

2019 Scam Trends and How to Avoid Them

As consumers learn more about avoiding scams, criminals learn more about creating them. Last year in the U.S. over 50,500 scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau, and at the time of this article, over 9,600 scams have already been reported in 2019.

Fraud can come in many different forms and affect people of all ages and businesses of any size, so it’s important to be aware of common threats and understand what you can do to mitigate your risk.

2019 Scam Trends


Phishing methods are continuously evolving and increasing in sophistication. We’re starting the list with phishing, because phishing is one of the forms that many of the scams in this article can come in.

Phishing is when you get emails (or texts or calls) that look like they’re from a company or person you know, but they’re actually from cybercriminals. These emails try to entice you to click on a link where you will be prompted to enter personal information like passwords or bank account information.

These emails often address you by name and include sophisticated web design features that make them appear legitimate even to skeptical recipients.

5 Ways to Protect Your Business From Account Fraud

Employment Scams

These elaborate scams target job-seeking individuals with ads for high-paying, remote positions. The scammers may even go as far as to conduct fake video interviews. To get the job, the candidate must fill out fake employment forms with personal information, and they may be asked to purchase training materials that they will be reimbursed for later. Another trick scammers may use to steal information is to require a fake “credit report” as part of the application process. Once the criminal has stolen the victim’s personal information and money, all communication ceases.

In another tactic involving fake checks, the scammer writes a fake check for more than was required, and the scam target is told that they were overpaid and need to pay back the difference either by wiring money or sending prepaid cards to the scammer.

Online Purchase Fraud

Online purchase scams occur when a user pays online for goods or services that are never delivered. Pets are the most common products offered in these schemes, followed by automobile products, clothing, and cosmetics.

On the flip side, the criminal may pose as a buyer, purposefully overpaying for a product from Craigslist or eBay using the same fake check method described above.

5 Tips to Prevent Card Fraud

Home Improvement Scams

Either in online/email ads or by going door-to-door, fake contractors offer assessments or repairs for a small fee. If the work is agreed to, the scammer will either take payments without returning, do shoddy work, or claim that they found bigger issues and need to raise the price. These types of scams may increase after storms or other natural disasters when many homes are in need of repairs.

Advance Fee Loan Fraud

In this scam, fraudulent companies offer “guaranteed” loans so long as the processing fees, taxes, or other upfront fees are paid in advance. Once the advance fees have been paid by the applicant, contact ceases and the loan never comes through.

Social Security Scams

Scammers are using new technologies to make phone calls look like they’re coming from a different number than they really are. In the Social Security scam, people get calls that actually look like they’re from the Social Security Administration’s customer service number. When the call is answered, victims are harassed and threatened with losing their benefits if they do not provide certain information.

7 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Tech Support Fraud

These scams may come in the form of phishing emails or pop-up messages on websites or apps on your computer or smartphone. The message may say that your computer, phone, or tablet needs a routine update or is infected with a virus. You’ll be prompted to download software to resolve the issue, but the software will actually infect your device with malware to steal your personal information.

How to Use Your Smartphone to Detect Card Skimmers at Gas Pumps

Tips to Avoid Scams in 2019

  • Avoid clicking on links in emails or texts from senders you don’t know. The American Bankers Association recommends these tips for verifying the authenticity of emails and avoiding phishing scams.
  • Before making payments or providing personal information to a person or company you are unfamiliar with, do some research. Investigate the company, individual, or online profile you think you are interacting with by searching for them on Google or reading consumer reviews.
    • If you’ve verified that the company is real, but you’re having trouble determining if the communications are really from that company, call the company directly using a number listed on their website.
  • Slow down, and remember that no authentic employer, salesperson, loan officer, contractor, company, or Social Security Administration employee, etc. will ever threaten you in attempt to force you to pay or provide personal information. If you feel threatened or harassed, that is a red flag.
  • Just because funds were credited to your account doesn’t mean the check cleared, so when depositing a check that is not from someone you know well, wait at least 2 weeks for the check to clear before spending any of it.
  • Be wary if someone asks you to pay them using pre-paid cards. Sometimes scammers use this method to make it harder to track the funds once the scam is realized.
  • The FTC recommends hanging up on prerecorded phone calls.
  • Report scam attempts to the BBB.
  • If you believe your financial information may have been compromised, contact your bank immediately. Click here for PVNB Debit Card Support Numbers.

For more information on scam trends, check out the 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.

Letters from Leton: Red Corduroy Pants

As we prepare for our Annual Shareholders Meeting on Friday and our first annual meeting without George, I’d like to share this story with you.

Back in December, George and Karen came by to enjoy Christmas lunch with the Jonesville staff. George was wearing red corduroy pants, and it was the last time I saw him.

He mentioned that he had owned the pants for over 30 years and that this was the first time he had been able to wear them!

In spite of what George knew was coming, he maintained his philosophy of “the glass is half full” and was having fun with himself and those around him.

A couple days ago, and each year on the 22nd of April, I put on an old CAT ball cap. The cap was my dad’s, and I do it in remembrance of him.

I think now I am going to go out and buy a pair of red corduroy pants, a couple sizes too small.

Each year on December 14th, I think I will try them on, and maybe one day they will fit me too and remind me of a gentleman I once knew and will always cherish.


“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman & CEO of PVNB, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes & intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.