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COVID-19

We have now moved all PPP loan-related updates to the PPP page.

Click here to sign up for our Customer Newsletter for the latest news!

Economic Impact Payments

Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) are consumer relief payments sent by the government. There are different circumstances by which an individual may qualify. Additional information can be found here.

If You Filed Your Taxe Return Electronically in 2018 or 2019

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return (or are already receiving SSI, RRB, or SSDI), the payment will be sent to the account you used for electronic payment/refund. The payment will have an Effective Date of 4/15/2020 and the desciption will read be "IRS Tax or IRS Tax Refund." Note: This will look similar to your tax refund if you already filed your 2019 taxes.

The largest release of payments will credited on April 15. However, if you haven't received yours yet, the government will issue subsequent payments each Wednesday until all payments have been dispersed. They anticipate this will go on thru June.

If You Didn't File Your Tax Return Electronically in 2018 or 2019

If you  didn’t file taxes electronically, a US Treasury check will be mailed to your last known address. There will be a memo on the check to indicate that it’s an EIP payment.

Confirmation Letters

Letters will be sent 15 business days after the payment, to your last known address. This letter will let you know a payment was made and provide instructions for what to do if you didn't receive it.

If You Didn't File a Tax Return in 2018 or 2019

If you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you can visit this portal to provide your information in order to receive your payment. Note: You may not use this portal if:

  • You receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or SSDI benefits. The IRS will automatically send you an Economic Impact Payment.
  • You have already filed a 2019 federal income tax return.
  • Your 2019 gross income exceeded $12,200 ($24,400 for a married couple) or other reasons require you to file a 2019 federal tax return.
  • You were married at the end of 2019 and are not submitting information here with your spouse.
  • You were not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident in 2019.

Click here for more infomation.

 

Is the Bank open for business?

Yes! We are here and ready to assist you. To protect you and our employees, we have initiated our Pandemic Response Plan which includes limiting in-person visits inside our branches while still handling all banking needs. This includes adjusting our branch hours to 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

What steps are you taking to prevent the transmission of COVID-19?

  • We are providing disinfecting wipes to enable staff to regularly clean high traffic areas, including wiping down and sanitizing ATMs and Night Drop containers.
  • We are working with our janitorial service to ensure that all high-touch areas are cleaned nightly in all common areas.
  • A medical-grade cleaning program has been evaluated and is ready to be dispatched as needed.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are being made available at the branches.
  • Our employees have been provided gloves for protection against handling cash.

Can I still call the Bank?

Yes! We are here to help in any way we can. You can call our mainline (805 965 5942) or call any of our branches and offices directly:

  • Santa Barbara 805 979 3545 
  • Montecito 805 335 8110
  • Goleta 805 770 1300
  • San Luis Obispo Branch & Lending Center 805 540 6240
  • Paso Robles 805 296 1690
  • Santa Barbara Commercial Lending Center 805 724 4445
  • Santa Barbara Residential Lending Center 805 335 8150

How can I access Bank services if I need them?

Deposits & Withdrawals

We invite you to consider using mobile deposit and conducting banking transactions online. To sign up for mobile deposit, sign in to Online Banking and click Mobile Deposit Enrollment - we will let you know when you are approved and can start using it.  Need help? Our employees are available by phone at 805 880 7606 or via email at onlinesupport@americanrivierabank.com.

Are you a business customer? Contact us so we can find the right solution for you. We have both mobile deposit and remote deposit options for businesses, depending on your needs: 805 880 7606 or onlinesupport@americanrivierabank.com.

If you must visit one of our locations, please use our ATMsNight Drops and Drive-Up windows instead of entering the building. Drive-Up windows are available at both our Goleta and Paso Robles branches.  At our other branches in Montecito, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, employees are available to provide you with drop-off options for making deposits and delivering documents.

We can still handle your cash and coin at all branch locations. Our ATMs accept cash and checks, and our Night Drops can handle a larger volume of checks, cash and coin.  You will be able to use Night Drop even if you have never used it before.  Night Drop is safe and secure -  Click here for more information about how it works.

Safe Deposit Box

If you need access to a safe deposit box, we will escort you into the branch utilizing a strict hand sanitizing protocol.

New Accounts

You can initiate new accounts by visiting us at AmericanRivieraBank.com/open-new-account. You may also reach one of our seasoned bankers to begin the new account process by phone.

Is there help available for my business while we are closed?

We understand this is a trying time for all of us as we address the implications from this unprecedented pandemic event, and American Riviera Bank is here for you.  If you or your business are experiencing hardship at this time, please call us for assistance:

  • In Santa Barbara County, contact Executive Vice President Joanne Funari at 805 730 7874 or Vice President Bobby Boyes at 805 730 7864.
  • In San Luis Obispo County, contact Executive Vice President Steve Harding at 805 540 6244 or Assistant Vice President Dustin Reese at 805 540 6243.
Keep up-to-date on Paycheck Protection Program Loan developments on our PPP page.

COVID-19 & Other Local Resources

Fraud

Economic Impact Payments

As the first wave of Economic Impact Payments hit bank accounts on Wednesday, we want to take a moment to warn you about fraudsters who hope to make your money their own.

Fraudulent activity we have already seen:

  • Robo calls
  • Fake cures/test kits
  • COVID-19 fumigation/sterilization scams

If you get a call, email or message from someone telling you that you need to provide them with personal information or money in order for you to get your stimulus payment, do not respond! The IRS will not call asking you to provide anything as a condition for releasing funds.

Here are some signs the AARP has suggested you watch out for:

  • The caller or emailer uses the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The term that government officials are using is “economic-impact payment."
  • You're asked to sign your check over to the caller.
  • You receive an email, text or social media message saying that you need to verify your personal and/or banking information to speed up your stimulus payment.
  • The individual offers to get you your payment faster.
  • You receive a fake check, and then the sender tells you to call a number to verify your personal information in order to cash it.

Need to report a potential scam? Visit the Report Phishing and Online Scams page at IRS.gov.

Are you a Financial Caregiver? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has some great information as well! 

Scams

Source: California Department of Business Oversight

Loan Modification and Foreclosure Scams 

Homeowners facing foreclosure should be aware of these common scams:

Deed-Transferring to Third Party – Scammers have told homeowners that by transferring the deed to their home to a third party, they will no longer be responsible for their mortgage payments. This is NOT true. Transferring a title does not relieve a borrower from their mortgage payments. Scam artists often ask for up-front fees to make the deed transfer and promise to rent the house back to the homeowner until the homeowner can afford to buy the house back. If you are facing foreclosure, investigate payment options with your mortgage servicer and do NOT sign your property away.

Intentional Default – Scam artists urge homeowners to not pay their mortgage in order to get a loan modification. While there is no right to a loan modification, the terms and standards for a loan modification are always determined by the mortgage loan servicer – no one else. If you are having difficulty making mortgage payments, you should contact your mortgage servicer directly or contact a HUD certified counselor (888-995-4673) for help.

Banks, credit unions, and mortgage lenders and servicers also have agreed to allow homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to delay or reduce their mortgage payments for up to three months. See the DBO’s COVID-19 Updates page at https://dbo.ca.gov/2020/03/25/covid19/

Lending Scams

Advance Fee Scams – The DBO encourages consumers in need of cash to avoid advance fee scams in which fraudulent companies promise loans if a consumer pays a substantial up-front fee first.  Do NOT pay anyone asking for upfront/advance fees for loan modification services or mortgage forbearance services. Contact the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) immediately at 877-373-4542. Advance fees for loan modifications are NOT legal in California. In addition, collecting late fees is prohibited while a loan modification application is under review, a denial is being appealed, or a borrower is making timely payments.

Investment Related Scams

The DBO encourages investors to be wary of investment schemes promoting cures in connection with the current public health emergency, or other investment opportunities related to the economic downturn.  Schemes may attempt to convince investors to liquidate their savings or sell their current holdings to purchase overvalued assets, assets that come with very high fees or assets of uncertain or questionable value, such as cryptocurrencies or precious metals.
 
Pension Advance Scams - The scam involves investors who provide funds to make cash advances and pensioners who are willing to turn over future pension payments in exchange for an immediate lump sum cash payment.

Opportunity Zones - An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. These types of investments are available only through a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). A QOF may invest in property or a business located in an opportunity zone. Investors considering these investments should consult with their qualified tax adviser because of the complex tax implications. Just because the property is located within an opportunity zone does not automatically make it a good investment. To the contrary, opportunity zones are economically distressed areas which pose additional risks.

Check Before You Invest

The Department of Business Oversight encourages consumers to check the licensing status of companies prior to transacting business. California consumers should contact the Department to check on the licensing of companies offering loans, investments, or other financial services.  This can be done by visiting the Licensee listing on the DBO website or calling the Department's toll-free Consumer Services Office at (866) 275-2677.

How to Protect Yourself:
  • Before investing in any investment, ask questions about the risks and fees involved. Conduct your own independent research or seek the opinion of a financial professional who is registered with your local securities regulator.

  • Never invest in something you don’t fully understand. Do not agree to participate in a general partnership or joint venture if you have no specific experience, knowledge or education in the type of business and would have to rely on others’ expertise.

  • Beware of sales techniques that include repeated phone calls, cold calls, or high-pressure sales pitches hyping the profitability of the deal or promising a sure thing.

  • Do not be fooled by professional-looking websites boasting current productivity levels and profits and featuring photos of new production sites. 
Phishing

Source: Secret Service

WASHINGTON - Criminals are opportunists, and as seen in the past, any major news event can become an opportunity for groups or individuals with malicious intentions. The Coronavirus is no different. In fact, the Coronavirus is a prime opportunity for enterprising criminals because it plays on one of the basic human conditions…fear. Fear can cause normally scrupulous individuals to let their guard down and fall victim to social engineering scams, phishing scams, non-delivery scams, and auction fraud scams.

The United States Secret Service is proactively taking steps to alert the public about the types of email scams associated with the Coronavirus. The Secret Service’s Global Investigative Operations Center (GIOC) reports the subsequent email scams:

“Phishing” is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to entice individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Phishing scams have become ubiquitous through email communication and ecommerce. Cyber criminals are exploiting the Coronavirus through the wide distribution of mass emails posing as legitimate medical and or health organizations. In one particular instance, victims have received an email purporting to be from a medical/health organization that included attachments supposedly containing pertinent information regarding the Coronavirus. This lead to either unsuspecting victims opening the attachment causing malware to infect their system, or prompting the victim to enter their email login credentials to access the information resulting in harvested login credentials. This type of incident enables further occurrences of cyber enabled financial crimes such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), PII theft, ransomware and account takeovers. Another side effect of the Coronavirus is increased teleworking, which furthers the reliance on email for communication adding yet another multiplier to these email fraud schemes. More of these incidents are expected, and increased vigilance regarding email communication is highly encouraged.

Another emerging fraud scheme exploiting the Coronavirus is using social engineering tactics through legitimate social media websites seeking donations for charitable causes related to the virus. Criminals are exploiting the charitable spirit of individuals, seeking donations to fraudulent causes surrounding the Coronavirus. Increased caution should be exercised when donating to charitable organizations.

A third fraud scheme surrounds non-delivery scams. Essentially, criminal actors advertise as an in-demand medical supply company that sells medical supplies that can be used to prevent/protect against the Coronavirus. The criminal enterprise will demand upfront payment or initial deposits then abscond with the funds and never complete delivery of the ordered products.

Quick Tips:

  • Phishing Emails / Social Engineering – Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from senders you do not recognize. These attachments can contain malicious content, such as ransomware, that can infect your device and steal your information. Be leery of emails or phone calls requesting account information or requesting you to verify your account. Legitimate businesses will never call you or email you directly for this information.
  • Always independently verify any requested information originates from a legitimate source.
  • Visit websites by inputting the domain name yourself. Business use encryption, Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Certificate “errors” can be a warning sign that something is not right with the website. The United States Secret Service will continue leading the charge to combat cyber-enabled financial crimes. To learn more about the Secret Service’s Investigative Mission please visit us at: www.SecretService.gov

COVID19 Tracker Apps

Source: Business Insider

Unsurprisingly, people are turning to the internet to get up-to-the-minute information on the coronavirus outbreak, but the thirst for information during a pandemic is a perfect opportunity for hackers. It's also a good time to remind everyone that hackers are still hard at work, even during concerning times. 

An app called "COVID19 Tracker" masking itself as a coronavirus outbreak map tracker is actually ransomware that locks down your phone and demands you pay the hackers $100 in bitcoin within 48 hours, according to Chad Anderson and Tarik Saleh at internet security company DomainTools.

Saleh's report from Friday shows that the app is designed for the Android operating system, and was listed to Android users searching the web for coronavirus tracking apps. To download the app, a user would have to go directly to the website where the app was hosted and download the app from there. The app was not available on the Google Play Store, according to Saleh.

The website appears to have been taken down as of Monday afternoon, but it was still running on Monday morning. The site prompts visitors to download an app, saying, "for android users: to get real-time number of coronavirus cases based on your GPS location please download the mobile app version of the website and enable 'accurate reporting' for best experience." Business Insider isn't linking or posting the name of the site.

Once opened, the app asks for access to your lock screen to give you "instant alerts when a coronavirus patient is near you." The app also asks for permission of an Android phone's accessibility settings for "active state monitoring." If an unsuspecting user grants these permissions to the app, ransomware dubbed "CovidLock" is enabled, and the screen changes to a ransom note:

"Your phone is encrypted: You have 48 hours to pay 100$ [sic] in bitcoin or everything will be erased.
1. What will be deleted? your contacts, your pictures and videos, all social media accounts will be leaked publicly and the phone memory will be completely erased
2. How to save it? you need a decryption code that will disarm the app and unlock your data back as it was before
3. How to get the decryption code? you need to send 100$ [sic] in bitcoin to the address [sic] below, click the button below to see the code
Note: Your GPS is watched and your location is known, if you try anything stupid your phone will be automatically erased"

At the end of the note is a text field where a victim is meant to enter the decryption code, and a button beneath the text field that says "Decrypt."

Saleh notes that protections against this kind of attack in the Android operating system have been in place since Android 7 "Nougat" released in 2016, just as long as the user has set a password to unlock the phone. Without an unlocking password, users are still vulnerable to attacks like the CovidLock ransomware.

Saleh said that the DomainTools security research team had reverse engineered the decryption key, and has released it publicly here so that victims could unlock their devices without paying the ransom.

When asked whether the hackers could simply generate a new decryption key, DomainTools told Business Insider that the hackers would need to rewrite the malware and redeploy it, and a new key wouldn't affect anyone who has already downloaded the infected app. "That is one of the big flaws of CovidLock," DomainTools said.

The company is also monitoring the hackers' bitcoin wallet and its activity, and DomainTools told Business Insider that no one has paid the ransom to the hackers as of yet, but the company is unsure of how many people have downloaded the app. 

DomainTools advises that people obtain information regarding COVID-19 from trusted sources like government and research institutions. It also suggests that people don't open emails or click links with health-related content, as miscreants are "trying to capitalize on fear." And finally, it advises Android users to download apps exclusively from the Google Play Store, where there is less risk of downloading malware. 

This isn't the first instance of malware apps masking themselves as coronavirus-related tracking apps. Last week, cybersecurity researchers identified several fake COVID-19 tracker maps that infect people's computers with malware when opened.


Scams

Source: Wespay

Criminals are opportunists, and as seen in the past, any major news event becomes an opportunity for groups or individuals with malicious intentions. The Coronavirus is no different. In fact, the Coronavirus is a much more potent opportunity for enterprising criminals because it plays on one of the basest human conditions…fear. Fear can cause normally scrupulous individuals to let their guard down and fall victim to social engineering scams, phishing scams, non-delivery scams, auction fraud scams, etc.

Numerous international sources from Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe are reporting a rise in Coronavirus scams, and a rise in the number of incidents in the United States is expected. Brief details of the associated Coronavirus scams being encountered are below:

  • Phishing Scams
  • Social Engineering Scams
  • Non-delivery Scams

Phishing scams have become ubiquitous through email communication and commerce. Cyber criminals are exploiting the Coronavirus through the wide distribution of mass emails posing as legitimate organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). In one particular instance, victims have received an email purporting to be from the WHO with an attachment supposedly containing pertinent information regarding the Coronavirus. This leads to either unsuspecting victims opening the attachment causing various types of malware to infect their system, or prompting the victim to enter their email login credentials to access the information resulting in harvested login credentials. These incidents enable further instances of cyber-enabled financial crime such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), PII theft, ransomware, account takeovers, etc. Another side effect of the Coronavirus is increased teleworking, which furthers the reliance on email for communication adding yet another multiplier to these email fraud schemes. More of these incidents are expected, and increased vigilance regarding email communication is highly encouraged.

Another emerging fraud scheme exploiting the Coronavirus is using social engineering tactics through legitimate social media websites seeking donations for charitable causes related to the virus. Criminals are exploiting the charitable spirit of individuals, seeking donations to fraudulent causes surrounding the Coronavirus. Increased caution should be exercised when donating to causes tied to Coronavirus relief.

A third fraud scheme surrounds non-delivery scams. Essentially, criminal actors are advertising in-demand medical supplies for sale to be used to prevent/protect against the Coronavirus, i.e. medical masks, gloves, disinfectant, etc. The criminal enterprise will demand upfront payments or initial deposits, then abscond with the funds and never complete delivery.

Please reach out to the Global Investigative Operations Center (GIOC) at GIOC@usss.dhs.gov or 202-406-6009, if you receive any information relating to this Info Alert.

Global Investigative Operations Center Reference #20-004-I

Don’t let our small, local feel confuse you – we offer state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology that rivals the big banks. But, at American Riviera Bank, you have direct access to help when you need it.