At PennCrest Bank®, we are diligent about protecting your personal information.

We use a variety of methods to ensure your privacy. As always, we recommend changing your passwords on a regular basis and not using the same password for multiple online accounts. You may access the link to our Customer Alerts and Tips below, where more tips are available.

Please take as many precautions as you, our valued customer or visitor, can take to help lower the risk of unauthorized activity on your account(s) and protecting your computer(s) and devices.

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Your Computer Internet Access Security

With Wired Internet Access:

  1. The operating system should have current Service Packs and Security Patches installed.
  2. A current and updated anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware with real-time scanning should be installed.
  3. At least the Windows Firewall should be activated, but a software firewall and Intrusion Prevention System(IPS) or Intrusion Detection System(IDS) is preferable.
  4. If the system has the Adobe Acrobat and/or Java programs,these should also be removed or updated with security patches from the vendors.

With Wireless Internet Access:

  1. The operating system should have current Service Packs and Security Patches installed.
  2. A current and updated anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware with real-time scanning should be installed.
  3. At least the Windows Firewall should be activated, but a software firewall and Intrusion Prevention System(IPS) or Intrusion Detection System(IDS) is preferable.
  4. If the system has the Adobe Acrobat and/or Java programs,these should also be removed or updated with security patches from the vendors.
  5. In addition, the wireless router should have no less than WPA-2 encryption, while WPA-2 PSK is considered stronger.
  6. The router should be strong password protected.
  7. Preferably, the router should not broadcast its address, but if it does, the encryption should be strong.

Internet Banking Security

PennCrest BANK provides security through RSA Multifactor Authentication Device Security.  In conjunction with RSA’s device forensics to seamlessly authenticate our customer’s computers/devices, the traditional Access ID and password required at login and security challenge questions used to verify our customer’s identity are used as a method of layered security.  This type of multifactor authentication device security is in compliance with FFIEC guidelines.

RSA Multifactor Authentication Device Security includes the use of Extended Validation (EV) certificates.  PennCrest BANK customers can easily and reliably verify this site’s identity and security by looking for the green website address bar above. The Extended Validation (EV) certificate triggers web browsers to display a green address bar and our site provider’s name (Fiserv, Inc.).  Each browser displays the EV certificate differently. 

Customer Alerts and Tips

Holiday Budgeting

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is upon us but the time is here. As soon as the last piece of Halloween candy is handed out, thoughts turn to St. Nicholas with a little bit of turkey and stuffing in the mix. While budgeting is always important, it’s even more so from now through the end of the year when presents abound and sales seem endless. Below are tips for holiday budgeting to ensure you enjoy this wonderful time of year but are also responsible in your spending.

Make a List and Check It Twice
Instead of blindly buying gifts as you see things that catch your eye, take 20 minutes to write down every person for whom you’ll need to get a gift. Don’t forget important people like teachers, dog walker, cleaning team, plus the office gift exchange. A gift, whether store bought or homemade, is a meaningful expression of appreciation for those in your life you wish to thank.

It’s Not Only Gifts
Holiday spending is not just about buying gifts, although that is most likely a large chunk of it. Your budget also needs to account for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas travel, the cost of groceries for large family meals you host or other gatherings where you bring food or drinks, decorations, end-of-year charitable giving, greeting cards, wrapping supplies, holiday-related apparel and other non-gift expenses.

Allot Your Spending
Each person should be allocated a “no-more-than” amount for a gift. While it’s helpful if you have an idea what to get each person, the more important part is that you don’t overspend. There will be sales—and therefore temptation—galore so it’s key to have some parameters for each person. Don’t buy something you wouldn’t otherwise just because it’s on sale.

Always Price Check
The internet is a great resource during holiday shopping. Stores are especially competitive during the holidays so it’s always smart to ask if they’ll price match other stores, even online prices, which are often less than in-store prices. When you find something you plan to buy, do a quick Google search to see if it’s less elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to be on the mailing list for stores you frequent as they’ll usually send special holiday coupons. Don’t forget to search the internet for coupon codes if you’re buying online.

Make Your Own Gifts
Homemade presents are a perfect way to save money while creating something memorable. While these gifts might not work for everyone on your list, they’re certainly good options for some.

Delicious cookies and a homemade card for your kids’ teachers or a framed family photo for grandparents are much more valuable than a shirt someone likes but doesn’t need.

Gift Cards
Although they are less personal, gift cards can be a good solution for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life. These include in-store cards, as well as debit cards that you can obtain from your local bank. Be sure to check the fees. Most in-store cards have no fees (to encourage use) while bank cards may have issuance fees, depending on the benefits of your checking account product.

Ship Early or Pay the Price
If you have presents to send out-of-town family members or need to ship gifts because you’re unable to pack them, do this as soon as possible. Be it the United States Post Office, UPS or FedEx, rates go up drastically once December hits. While it might seem like several weeks before Christmas will be plenty of time, you can easily spend hundreds more on shipping if you delay. And that will easily break the most carefully planned budget. If you buy online, consider having items wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient by the vendor.

Keep Track of Spending
You won’t know how much you’ve spent unless you meticulously track it. Keep receipts and enter them in your budget as you go, plus reconcile credit card payments each week. Experts recommend trying “the envelope trick,” which means you use cash as much as possible to ensure you stay on budget. When the envelope is empty, you’re done buying presents. If you use credit cards for convenience, make sure to pay them in total at the end of the month so you’re not stuck with interest payments that didn’t factor into your budget.

Holidays Aren’t About Things
At the end of the day, remember that the holidays are about spending time with family, friends and other loved ones. While presents are fun, this time of year is about making memories and not collecting material possessions.

The holidays can—and should—be one of the most joyous times of the year. Don’t let over-spending and the resulting debt create unnecessary stress. You want to start the New Year on a clean slate, not struggling to pay your holiday bills that start pouring in.

This information is provided with the understanding that the association is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a professional should be sought. Provided as a public service by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.

Online BillPay Will Keep You On Time 

We've become a nation of time-savers. One of the simplest and most burgeoning time savers is online bill pay. By using online bill pay, we can save time, postage and ensure that our bill payments arrive on time.

Some people are hesitant to use this service because they don't understand how it works, are distrustful of putting financial information on the web or prefer the traditional method of paying bills by writing a check so they can have a paper trail.

There are three ways to pay your bills online:

  1. First, you may want to check with your community bank or other financial institution to determine whether they offer online bill pay to their customers. Many financial institutions offer online bill pay as a free service to their customers. You simply set up an online account on the bank's secure server, register your bills and schedule payment dates.
  2. Secondly, you may want to use a third-party bill pay service to set up accounts for all of your monthly bills. This system works in the same manner. Just be sure the service you select has a safe encrypted Internet site. To ensure that you are not being directed to a fraudulent site, look for an image of a padlock in the lower portion of your computer screen. When you double-click the padlock, you'll be able to read the certification information on the pop-up screen. If there is no padlock image, you need to keep searching for another secure bill pay service.
  3. As a third alternative, many companies accept online payments without charging you a fee. Additionally, once you set up an online bill pay account with one of your creditors, the company will send you an e-mail reminder that your bill payment is due and then send you a follow-up e-mail after you confirm your payment.

With online bill pay, you can schedule your payment due date and won't have to worry about finding time to sit down and write checks. Should you be on vacation or have an emergency situation, you don't have to worry about paying your bills. With your established due date, the bank online bill pay service will automatically deduct your stated amount from your account. Just be sure that you have enough money in your bank account each month to cover your payments. 

If you are really serious about getting all of that clutter off your desk, you can also request that your creditor e-mail your statement to you. At the click of a button, you can access all of your account information whenever it is convenient for you. You can review payment history, transactions and recent activity so you will know if someone is using your account without authorization without waiting for a statement in the mail.

Once you see how easy an online bill pay service can be, you'll wonder why it took you so long to get started. Just remember to always use caution any time you transact business via the Internet. Be sure to use a reliable and trusted company with a secure server. 

This information is provided with the understanding that the association is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting, or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a competent, professional person should be sought.

Provided as a public service by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.

Contact: Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers (717) 231-7447

You're Entitled to a Free Credit Report!

Thanks to a recent change in federal laws, Americans are now entitled to receive one free copy of their credit report every year from each of the nation's top three credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

And according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the only website authorized to provide those free reports is www.annualcreditreport.com.

However, there are plenty of companies that charge consumers for access to their credit reports, so the FTC cautions you to type that web address carefully to avoid accidentally ending up on a site that charges a fee for a service you're entitled to receive for free.

Consumer Alert: Equifax Breach

On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted.

In their press release, Equifax stated they will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.

We encourage you to pay close attention to your account activity through Click&Go Internet Banking® and PennCrest Mobile Banking.  Contact the Bank immediately at 888-716-7587 if you suspect fraud on your account so that appropriate action may be taken.

If you feel you are a victim of identity theft please visit www.IdentityTheft.gov, the Federal Trade Commission’s resource site which will help you report and recover from identity theft.

Consumer Alert: New Medicare Cards/New Scams 

Changes are coming to your Medicare card. By April 2019, your card will be replaced with one that no longer shows your Social Security number. Instead, your card will have a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that will be used for billing and for checking your eligibility and claim status. And it will all happen automatically – you won’t have to pay anyone or give anyone information, no matter what someone might tell you. Read more on the Federal Trade Commission site https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/05/new-medicare-cards-are-way 

Flu Pandemic Preparedness

PennCrest BANK® is aware of and monitoring the flu activity.  Current activity levels report a large number of flu cases throughout the nation and across Pennsylvania; however, public health control measures appear to be effective.  This is referred to as Stage 3.  At this time the outbreak has no effect on Banking operations and we will continue to staff our offices as normal.  We will implement our procedures as necessary if there is an increase in the number of confirmed cases in our area.  Please continue to visit our website or call 814-381-7366 for the current pandemic message.  This message will be updated with information on the flu outbreak and Bank operations as changes occur.

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