COVID-19 Updates & Info
4/24/2020: COVID-19 Texting Scam: Be Alert!
The coronavirus pandemic has been raging on American shores for several months, but scammers are still finding new ways to exploit the panic, fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus to con people out of their money. The latest in a string of coronavirus scams involves a simple text message with criminal intent.
Here’s all you need to know about the coronavirus text scam.
The scam starts out with the victim receiving an alarming text message informing them that someone they’ve recently been in contact with is infected with COVID-19. They are then told to self-quarantine and to get tested for the virus.
Here is the actual text from one of these scams:
“Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.”
The text also includes a link for the recipient to click for more information. Many unsuspecting people who read these messages innocently click on the link and play right into the scammers’ hands. The link provides the scammer with access to the victim’s device. The scammer can then scrape the victim’s personal information off the phone and use it to empty the victim’s accounts, open lines of credit in their name or even steal their identity.
If you receive a text message like the one described above, do not respond or click on any embedded links. Report the text to local law enforcement agencies, place the number associated with the message on your phone’s “block number” list and delete the message. You can also warn your friends about the circulating scam to keep them from falling victim.
Your safety during these uncertain times is our priority. It is important to stay vigilant and educated on the evolving scams surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
4/15/2020: Tips to Keep Your Economic Impact Payment in Your Hands
As the ongoing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the well-being and continued service to our members continues to be at the forefront of our planning. With different news and information going around, it can be difficult to know what is truth and what is fiction. One of the most recent fraud scams pertains to the economic impact payment (stimulus payment) which was part of the recently signed CARES Act.
To keep your personal and account information safe, here are a few important facts regarding the upcoming deposits.
Government agencies do not initiate conversations with you via the telephone, email, or text. If someone calls asking for personal information of any type, claiming to be from the IRS, don’t give it to them. Government agencies (including the IRS) will first make contact by sending a notice through the U.S. Postal Service.
If you receive an email message or text claiming to be from the IRS and asking for your account details, don’t provide it. Don’t click on links or attachments in any email message or text that claims to be from the IRS.
The stimulus payment will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service or by direct deposit into your account. The payment will be deposited into the account information on file from your tax filing. They will not ask you to provide it over the phone, in an email, or in a text message.
The government has begun disbursing payments via direct deposit. If you are currently signed up for E-Teller, you can view any pending deposits via online banking. Simply click the account in which the payment will be deposited, then click “pending debits & credits.”
The payments will be based off your 2019 tax filing. If you have not filed yet, it will be based off your 2018 tax filing. If you didn’t or will not file a tax return for either year, there is still a way to get your stimulus check, if you qualify. Go directly to the IRS website to find out more information. Don’t listen to someone who calls you first claiming they can help.
If you have questions or concerns about any of your credit union accounts, please contact us at 716-372-6607 or visit the “Contact Us” page on our website. As always, we are here to assist you.
4/10/2020: Navigating the virtual world: “Zoom-bombing”
With social distancing mandates in order until at least the end of April, and three out of every four Americans under statewide lockdown, huge parts of normal life have now moved into the virtual world. With these changes, it is important for us to keep you up to date with the latest cybersecurity data so that you, and your personal information stay safe while navigating virtual platforms and applications.
Social visits, executive meetings, classes and more happen over videoconferencing apps, with Zoom being the most popular. The app was downloaded 62 million times during the third week of March, and 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now using Zoom.
Zoom’s simplicity is likely the driving factor behind its popularity — and its vulnerability. The FBI is warning of a new kind of scam in which criminals join Zoom meetings with malicious intent.
As they explain it, without protective measures, like passwords and screen-share locks, anyone can join and disrupt a Zoom conference. “Zoom-bombing” is happening more and more often, with hackers hurling racial slurs or displaying graphic content in the middle of classrooms and business meetings.
Some criminals take it one step further by creating bogus domains that impersonate Zoom. When videoconferences are set up on these domains, the hackers will use the opportunity to steal personal information from meeting participants, which they then go on to sell or use for criminal purposes.
The bureau recommends that Zoom users take the following precautions to protect their conferences from being Zoom-bombed:
- Make meetings private by requiring a password or using the waiting room feature, which controls admittance of guests.
- Share teleconference links directly with participants instead of posting them in a public forum, like a social media page.
- Control screen-sharing by choosing “Host Only” in the screen-sharing options.
- Make sure all participants are using updated software
Videoconferencing apps like Zoom are helping millions of Americans maintain a semblance of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these virtual platforms and applications help to ease the transition of remote work, it is important to stay educated and informed of current online scams and fraud.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam that may have compromised your credit union account information, please contact us. We are here to help.
4/3/2020: What the CARES Relief Act Means for You
We continue to think of all our members during the coronavirus pandemic. We want you to know that we’re not going anywhere, because at its core, our credit union is not a building or a business, it’s people unified for a common goal of financial well-being.
We’re always here for you.
These are difficult times for everyone, and we know that your bills and payments are all due. If you’ve been economically impacted by this pandemic and are concerned about your bills, our staff is dedicated to working with and helping you through these uncertain times. Now, more than ever, we are here to support our members. If you are experiencing a financial hardship, please contact us at 716-372-6607 for assistance.
Government action that may impact you.
The CARES Act was recently signed into law and includes several provisions aimed at helping Americans stay engaged in the economy and help you with your bills. Here are some highlights that may directly impact you:
Stimulus payments: Most Americans are eligible to receive a stimulus payment from the government in the next few weeks. These payments are based on your most recent tax filing. Members who are receiving Social Security retirement and disability payments will also receive a stimulus payment. To learn more about these payments and to see if you’re eligible, click here.
Unemployment Payments: If you file for unemployment benefits, you can expect up to $600 per week on top of your normal unemployment benefit for the next 4 months as a result of the CARES Act. The unemployment benefit time period has been increased to 39 weeks.
Small business relief: Small businesses are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. The stimulus plan will offer $350 billion worth of funds to these corporations to help them remain solvent during these economically lean times. These funds take the form of loans, some of which may ultimately be forgiven.
Funding for state and local governments: State governments are especially active and vocal at this time, as they are the sole elected officials authorized to enact and enforce lockdowns on their jurisdictions. State treasuries are also straining to meet the surge in requests for funding from hospitals and individuals seeking unemployment benefits. The CARES Act will distribute $150 billion directly to state and local governments to enable them to address their spending shortages and to fund their increased labor.
The country is going through historically challenging times, but with the combined effort of the federal government, the cooperation and compliance of the public and generosity of each individual, we can all get through this together. Wishing all of our members and their families continued health and safety at this time.
3/31/2020: Social Distancing: Solutions to Safely Manage your Account
For more than 40 years, Olean Area FCU’s mission has been to provide personal service to our members that meet their financial needs at every stage of their lives. Although we’re currently dealing with changing times, our commitment remains the same.
With social distancing and business shutdowns becoming a new normal during the Coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to share solutions on how you can safely conduct financial business without fear of becoming ill.
Digital Resources: Our E-Teller online banking and MobileCU App are great options for many transactions, such as inquiring about balances, transferring money and paying bills. With secure technology, you can deposit checks using our mobile banking app via your cell phone. Digital banking can be conducted without leaving your home and can be accessed 24/7.
ATM Services: ATM’s offer a convenient way to withdraw cash without having direct person-to-person contact. Our Wayne Street and Allegany ATM’s also accept cash and check deposits. For your health and safety, our ATM’s are frequently disinfected and hand sanitizer is available at all locations while supplies last.
Mobile Payment Apps: Consider using mobile payment apps like Bill Pay (available in E-Teller), Venmo and PayPal. Also, we encourage the use of debit cards and credit cards for purchases. Many big retailers and smaller merchants are not only accepting these forms of payment; they are actively encouraging their use.
Phone Service: For members who want or need to talk to a live person, our Representatives are standing by and can help with any kind of assistance you may need. They can be reached at 716-372-6607.
Avoid Withdrawing Large Amounts of Money: It is not necessary to carry or store large amounts of cash. All credit unions are federally insured up to $250,000 (IRAs are an additional $250,000) by the National Credit Union Administration. Cash changes hands very often, which means it’s exposed to a tremendous amount of germs. By minimizing the use of cash, you’re limiting your exposure to those germs.
Clean Your Cards and Hands: Disinfect and clean debit and credit cards. They can pick up germs from every surface they contact and should be cleaned and sanitized often. After using a credit or debit card at a store, make sure to wipe the card with a disinfectant wipe. Also wash your hands after handling them, as well as after touching a payment terminal or an ATM.
We look forward to meeting your financial needs during this difficult time, and through our joint efforts, help prevent the spread.
3/27/2020: Coronavirus Scams: Stay Alert!
As the situation surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, we at Olean Area FCU are determined to keep you informed so you can stay healthy and financially secure. That being said, it is important for us to share what we’ve learned about prevalent scams people are using to exploit the fear and uncertainty that surrounds the coronavirus.
The funding scam. You may receive an email or text message or see a social media post asking you to donate money for research in developing a drug to treat, or a vaccine to immunize against COVID-19. Unfortunately, the majority of these are fakes, and any money donated will go directly to scammers.
Fake health agencies. Scammers are creating URLs and using logos similar to legitimate health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to trick people into believing misinformation about the virus. These emails and posts can also infect your computer with malware which is used to gather your personal information.
Phony purchase orders. Computers at medical treatment centers are being hacked in order to obtain medical supply order information. Based on this stolen information, scammers create fake purchase orders and send a bill for the items. You can avoid being the target of this scam by making sure your anti-malware and antivirus software is up-to-date, and by strengthening the security settings on all of your devices.
Email scams. Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check. Government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money.
Monitor children’s online activities. Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, children may be increasing their online presence which puts them at an increased risk for exploitation. Be sure to monitor their activities and share information with them regarding potential scams and online predators.
Staying safe online. Pay close attention to the source of messages. If the source is unknown, don’t download any attachments or click on embedded links. If you’re working from home, be sure not to click on messages that contain any malicious attachments. Cybercriminals have been targeting at-home employees by disguising emails as being sent from their employer. Also, don’t share sensitive information online. One way to check the security of a website is by looking for the “s” after “http” in the URL. Stick to websites such as the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure you’re receiving accurate information about COVID-19.
If you think you’re being targeted by a scam, please reach out to us. We are here to help.
3/25/2020: A Message from our Lending Team
As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, we want to extend our appreciation for your membership and dedication to Olean Area FCU. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
Even though our lobby doors are closed, we are still here for your borrowing needs during this difficult time. We have electronic services to assist you and we encourage the use of those services, or when necessary, can schedule an appointment to meet with you.
Financial Hardship: If you are experiencing a financial hardship created from the COVID-19 Virus, we will assist you by offering to waive any late payment charges and/or defer, extend or refinance your loan on a case-by-case basis. For any questions regarding assistance please contact a member of our lending team at 716-372-6607.
We are still making new loans, however please be aware that with the Governor’s shutdown, certain services are not available to the credit union, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in both Pennsylvania and New York, our group of approved Real Estate Appraisers, Abstract (Search) Companies and Attorneys. We will take your application for credit, however in certain situations may need to delay the processing and closing of your loan.
To apply for an Unsecured Loan: Click here
To apply for a Home Equity Loan or Line: Click here
To apply for a Mortgage: Click here
We appreciate your understanding. And remember, we’ll get through this together!
3/23/2020: Message to Business Members:
SBA – Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Let us start out by saying we are here to help you get through this! We value each and everyone one of your relations and will do whatever we can to assist you with getting through these unprecedented times.
The Small Business Administration has started offering low interest rate disaster loans to both New York State and Pennsylvania’s small businesses. These loans are called “Economic Injury Disaster Loans” and are meant to help small businesses with meeting their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of this “disaster”.
The maximum interest rate for this program is 3.75%, the maximum term is up to 30 years, and the maximum borrowing amount is up to $2MM.
Not all businesses will qualify for lending through this program, however, this is a very good option and one that we believe you all should consider when trying to weather this storm.
For a “Fact Sheet” that explains the program in more detail: Click Here
You can apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
You may also call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
If we can help you in anyway, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Again, we are here to help!
Please stay healthy and remember to support those that have supported you. We will all get through this together.
3/19/2020: Important Branch Update
To our Valued Members,
In response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic entering our surrounding communities, Olean Area FCU is striving to keep our staff and members safe while still offering our financial services to the community. In this regard, we will be limiting in-person contact to reduce exposure.
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, we will transition to drive-thru and ATM services ONLY until further notice. All branch lobbies will be closed to the public. Loan and account services will be available by appointment as needed.
All members are asked to please utilize our drive-thru services, Online banking, MobileCU, Telephone Banking or calling to speak with a Member Service Representative at (716) 372-6607. Also keep in mind that we offer a Night Drop option for deposits made during off hours.
Please Note: Our daily cash withdrawal limit is $3,000. Unfortunately, we cannot process rolled coin at our drive-thru windows. We are also asking our members to try and limit the number of transactions in order to reduce potential exposure to themselves and our staff.
Our drive-thru hours will currently remain unchanged, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:30pm. Our Wayne Street drive-thru is also open Saturday, 8:30am – Noon.
We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we work to provide creative solutions during these challenging times. We have complete confidence in our ability to serve you during the duration of our lobby closures.
We will continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation and provide the latest updates via our website, email, and social media platforms.
Thank you for being a valued Olean Area FCU member.
Stephen Foster, CEO
3/18/2020: COVID-19: Putting Our Members and Employees First
As the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to grow in our nation, we would like to express our unwavering dedication to serving our members during this time. As a company, Olean Area FCU has developed alternative, safe ways of providing our services, if the need arises.
Contacting the Credit Union
When visiting the Credit Union, know that we have taken extra precautions in order to keep our members and employees safe. Surfaces are sanitized regularly, and sanitizer is made readily available for both members and employees. Gloves are also available for our employees that handle cash transactions.
If you call the Credit Union, please have patience, as we could be experiencing higher call volumes while members are limiting in-person interactions.
Easy Account Access
Olean Area FCU provides the tools you need to access your accounts without having to visit your local branch.
- Access your accounts 24/7 with our online banking feature, eTeller.
- Use your debit card to make deposits, get cash, or make purchases.
- Use our mobile app to deposit your checks from home.
- Make loan payments or transfer funds safely and easily online.
We Are Here to Help
We understand that the coronavirus may impact our members in different ways. By keeping us informed, we can work together to figure out the best plan for each individual situation.
We will continue to keep our members updated regarding the Credit Union’s daily operations via our website https://www.oleanareafcu.org/, email, and social media.
Be on the lookout for scams people are creating to play on your fears:
- Sites claiming to provide medical advice if you enter personal information.
- Sites trying to sell products with false claims.
- Sites posing as charities.
You can find more tips about possible scams by visiting The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
Financial Assistance for Members
If you have financial hardship resulting from COVID-19, we are here to assist you. Please contact us at (716) 372-6607 or 1-800-854-6052.
Your Accounts Are Secure
Remember that despite uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, you can rest assured that your funds are secure at Olean Area FCU. On top of our own security measures, your funds are also federally insured by the National Credit Union Administrations (NCUA) to at least $250,000.
We appreciate your patience and continued loyalty to Olean Area Federal Credit Union as we navigate this challenging time together.
3/13/2020: Coronavirus: A Message from our CEO
As our community learns of the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Olean Area Federal Credit Union’s top priority is always the safety and security of our members, staff and communities.
We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and following all related guidelines provided by government agencies and health experts, including our local Health Department. Please be assured, our primary focus is to provide access to your funds and the continued service you expect.
I would encourage you to take advantage of our online products which allow you to manage your finances from the comfort and safety of your home. Our online banking and mobile app are a great way to monitor your accounts, transfer funds, or pay bills without personal contact.
For the safety and wellbeing of our members and staff, we have increased cleaning efforts in our workspaces, lobby and service areas and encouraged safe hygiene practices for our staff.
We will promptly communicate updates regarding any change in our ability to serve our members. Most specifically, if it becomes necessary to adjust our hours of operation at any of our branch locations, we will provide this information on our website at www.oleanareafcu.org and on our social media pages.
As always, Olean Area strives to provide quality service for our members. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Stephen Foster CEO