April is Financial Literacy Month, and part of being financially literate is understanding the risks you face regarding financial fraud and how to combat it. We are always here to protect your funds, but there are several proactive measures you can also take to protect your assets, such as understanding the fraud risks that are present and utilizing the tools we have available to protect your finances.

Unfortunately, we are seeing an uptick in fraud in Gallatin County, which makes things difficult for individuals, businesses, and financial institutions. While this is something none of us want to think about, it is happening in our area, primarily through check fraud and debit card fraud, but there are other financial scams occurring, as well. Here are a few ways you can begin to be proactive against becoming a victim of fraud:

If you do not have a locked mailbox, please do not put checks in them. Fraudsters in our area are stealing checks out of mailboxes and then changing the name on the check and cashing it. There are several ways to avoid this:

  1. Use Bill Pay on the Bank of Bozeman website to pay your bills. We do not charge a fee for personal accounts.
  2. Visit the merchant’s site and pay your bill directly.
  3. If you are a business owner, use an ACH program to pay all of your bills. We have an ACH program available for our business account clients.
  4. If you must pay the bill via check, take it directly to the merchant or drop it off in the secured mail bin at the post office.

Debit card fraud is another way people can take money from your account.

  1. Always protect your pin. Use a unique code, and do not write your pin on your card.
  2. If you have misplaced your card but believe it is still in your possession, utilize the temporary turn off feature in the Bank of Bozeman app under the cards tab. You can turn the card back on once it has been found or cancel it if you determine it has been lost.
  3. If you are positive you have lost your card, cancel it immediately by calling the bank. If it is after hours, you can still report your card lost by calling 1-800-472-3272.
  4. Be cautious where you input your card information. If a website directs you to another site to pay, do not use your card on this site. Reputable sites will have you input your payment method directly on their website.

It is always our priority to keep your accounts safe and secure. If you have any questions or concerns regarding fraud, please call us at 406-587-5626.