Fraud Alert: Avoid Check Scams with the Following Tips

We have seen several instances of check scams in the past months. This article is meant to educate our customers about how check scams occur and what to look for to avoid a check scam.

Many of the recent incidents we’ve seen involve one of the following:

  • A scammer may ask you to cash a check/money order or to allow transfer of funds to your account and then say you can keep a percentage of the funds
  • The scammer promises you will receive money in exchange for transferring money to your account from an external source
  • You are overpaid for an item you sold on the internet (i.e. Craigslist, EBay, etc.)
  • You receive a letter in the mail, a phone call, or an email indicating you have won a lottery or sweepstakes
  • You receive notice that you have received an inheritance from someone you do not know
  • You have received mail, an email or fax requesting an immediate response

So how are all of these check scams the same?

In most cases, you are contacted by someone who says you will be getting a check from them in exchange for a specific action on your part. They usually tell you that after the check is deposited, you will then need to wire transfer the money back to them. The story will be complicated and usually sounds legitimate. It is only after this occurs that the original check you deposited will be returned back to your bank as a counterfeit item. The full amount of the check will then be deducted from your account. The result of such a scam is that you have now paid the scammer the amount of the original check from your own, personal funds in addition to losing the money that was sent to you in the first place.

Why did the bank allow me to withdraw the money?

Federal law requires that we release funds to you within several business days of the deposit. The number of days varies depending on the deposited item, but does not usually surpass 7. Because it may take longer than this for the funds to actually be moved from one bank to another, you may be at risk when spending deposited funds if you do not know the sender personally.

Is it possible for the bank to determine if the check is good or bad?

A bank is not always able to verify funds on an item. It’s extremely important that you know the source of the funds and trust the legitimacy of the transaction prior to withdrawing these funds from your account.

Who is responsible when I incur a loss due to a check fraud scam?

In short, the customer is always responsible for funds deposited to their account. The bank cannot determine the legitimacy of checks you receive since they do not know where you received the check. You should always be careful regarding checks you receive from people you do not know.

This all sounds pretty scary, and hopeless. Isn’t there anything the bank can do to protect me?

At Central National Bank, our staff is trained to recognize the signs of check fraud and ask questions to the customer. It is not always easy to catch this fraud if the customer feels certain the check is legitimate. We do our best to protect our customers, and ask that you work with us to help catch check fraud before it happens. If you have additional questions about check fraud please feel free to contact our service representatives at 1-800-262-5456. When in doubt, ask your local banker for help determining the legitimacy of a check.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Protect Your Small Business from Fraud

Cybercriminals are targeting small businesses with increasingly sophisticated attacks. Criminals use spoofed emails, malicious software spread through infected attachments and online social networks to obtain login credentials to businesses’ accounts, transfer funds from the accounts and steal private information, a fraud referred to as “corporate account takeover.”

Combating account takeover is a shared responsibility between businesses and financial institutions. Bankers can explain the safeguards small businesses need and the numerous programs available that help ensure fund transfers, payroll requests and withdrawals are legitimate, accurate and authorized. Companies should train employees about safe internet use and the warning signs of this fraud, because they are the first line of defense.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Central National Bank offers small businesses these tips to help prevent account takeover:

  • Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.
  • Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.
  • Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.
  • Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.
  • Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities. 

To learn more, see ABA’s Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover (

Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Protect Yourself Online

The internet is a powerful resource that many Americans have come to depend on for everyday activities like shopping, banking, and connecting with friends. Yet, for all the internet’s advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams.

In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Central National Bank offers the following tips to help consumers stay safe and secure online:

  • Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.  Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
  • Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails 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.
    • Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.
  • Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
  • Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
  • Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
  • Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Tips for Protecting Mobile Devices

The number of attacks on mobile devices is growing, in part, as a result of the increased popularity of mobile banking. According to a report by the Federal Reserve, 51 percent of smartphone users say they have used mobile banking in the past 12 months.

In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Central National Bank recommends that consumers take extra precaution to protect the data on their mobile device by doing the following:

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
  • Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
  • Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren’t very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Tips to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft occurs when a criminal obtains and misuses someone’s personal information without permission, typically for economic gain. For many victims, it can result in drained bank accounts, poor credit, and a damaged reputation.

In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Central National Bank offers the following tips to help consumers protect themselves from becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • Don’t share your secrets.

Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

  • Shred sensitive papers.

Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

  • Keep an eye out for missing mail.

Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

  • Use online banking to protect yourself.

Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.

  • Monitor your credit report.

Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at

  • Protect your computer.

Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

  • Protect your mobile device.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Central National Bank Recognized for 125 Years as a Nationally-Chartered Bank

Central National Bank was presented with a framed certificate commemorating 125 years of supervision under the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent bureau in Washington D.C. which serves to regulate and supervise all national banks in the United States.

Chairman Emeritus Ed J. Rolfs accepted the certificate on behalf of the bank with his son and current C.E.O and President Ed C. Rolfs standing at his side. Emily Schrader and Keith Osborne made the formal presentation on behalf of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

“Central National Bank customers can be assured that their deposits are safe and secure with our bank.  We are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with the OCC and look forward to serving our customers for the next 125 years,” said Rolfs.

Central National Bank reported strong performance through the first half of 2015 and finished the second quarter with total assets of $886 million. The bank serves customers across a broad geography including 34 retail banking branches in 22 communities in Kansas and Nebraska.

“We are very proud of our long history of strength and stability for our customers,” said Rolfs. “We are also pleased to have been recently named one of the top 200 Healthiest banks in the country by As a point of reference, this site tracks and reports health ratings for more than 7,000 banks and credit unions in the country and we have been ranked number 48. The ranking is based on an analysis of our capital strength as well as our total value of loans considered to be at risk.”

Wiggle Before You Swipe!

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from Debit Card fraud is to be aware of your surroundings, including checking over a debit card terminal for a skimmer. A skimmer is a malicious card reader that records the information off of your card’s magnetic stripe when you swipe the card at a gas station or ATM terminal.

How can you tell when a skimmer has been installed?

The easiest way is to “wiggle” the card slot. Pull on the card reader and make sure a skimmer isn’t attached. You typically won’t have to pull very hard to detach a skimmer. Should you find a skimmer on the machine you’re using you should immediately notify the business so they can take the appropriate steps to notify customers that card data may be compromised.

Be vigilant about checking every machine for skimmers, not just gas stations and ATMs. ATMs located in a bank drive-thru lane can be just as vulnerable as an ATM located somewhere remote. It takes just as long to install a skimmer as it does to purchase a tank of gas and drive away.

Make Your Tax Refund Work for You!

It’s easy for us to think of this year’s tax refund as free money coming to us courtesy of Uncle Sam. However, the truth of the matter is that the check you receive is a return of your own hard earned money. And since you’re going to get your own money back, why not use it to get ahead of your financial goals?

In 2014, sixty-nine percent of those polled by American Consumer Credit Counseling indicated that they had used their tax refund to pay down debt and get ahead on monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, and car payments. In 2013, twenty-six percent indicated they would put their refund into savings, while forty-five percent said they would use it to pay down credit card debt. The National Retail Federation saw that forty-six percent of its 2014 survey respondents intended to cushion their emergency savings with their returns, with nearly six in 10 young adults between 18 and 24 putting their refunds into savings.

The results of these surveys are indicative of a growing, budget-friendly and money-savvy trend: Americans are opting out of tax-time splurging and are focusing on getting ahead. Here are a few easy ways to get yourself set up for success as tax season approaches:

  • Take advantage of a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA programs offer free tax help to those who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speakers. Qualified individuals can receive basic income tax return preparation assistance from IRS-certified volunteers.
  • Use Form 8888 to split your refund.  Why rack up more debt on your credit card in an emergency when you can set aside savings to cover it interest-free? The IRS provides taxpayers with multiple avenues to receive and save their refunds. Take advantage of direct deposit to your checking account to pay off debts and automatically deposit a portion of your refund to your savings account.
  • Need more inspiration to save? Enter to win with SaveYourRefund. SaveYourRefund has 101 cash prizes, including 100 weekly prizes of $100 and one grand prize of $25,000.
  • Take the America Saves pledge to make a commitment to yourself to save. Get emails to keep yourself motivated and/or sign up for text message reminders to get tips and advice about your savings goals.

We know that making smart financial decisions isn’t always easy. So whether you’re just starting to look at ways to get ahead in 2015 or are already planning to put your refund towards your goals, remember that your tax refund doesn’t have to go to one place. When you get your hard earned money back, put a piece of it towards paying down debts AND save some for a rainy day. It really is that easy.

This post courtesy of :

Tammy Greynolds works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at

Two Ways Tax Scammers Might Target You

It’s that time of year — tax time. It’s also a great time to get up to speed on tax-related scams – so, we’re passing some valuable information on to you from the Federal Trade Commission, the federal agency entrusted with protecting your rights as a consumer.

Here are two ways tax scammers might target you:

Tax identity theft

This kind of identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund or a job. You find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS saying:

  • more than one tax return was filed in your name, or
  • IRS records show wages from an employer you don’t know

If you get a letter like this, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. You can find more about tax identity theft at and

IRS imposter scams

This time scammers aren’t pretending to be you — they’re posing as the IRS. They call you up saying you owe taxes, and threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay right away. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and they can rig caller ID to make it look like the call is coming from Washington, DC – when it could be coming from anywhere. Leaving you no time to think, they tell you to put the money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number right away.

The real IRS won’t ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they usually do it by mail. 

If you have a question about your taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to You can report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or at 800-366-4484, and to the FTC at