Bank Support

Learn how to make banking work for you. For tips on your banking success, just ask Alex, our expert banker. Find out how fraudsters use gift scams to trick you. Understand how to handle those crisp new bills that stick together. Discover when you are required to pay taxes on interest earned on checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit accounts.

Question: What is the gift card scam?  – Julie from Baltimore, Maryland.

Answer: The gift card scam is when fraudsters create a ruse to trick their victims into using gift cards from places like Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, Amazon, iTunes and Best Buy as a method of payment. Scammers prefer gift cards because purchases can be made immediately and done anonymously.  The physical card isn’t even required.  The con artist can make online purchases with the claim or bar code.  The reasons for paying varies depending on the scam.  Sometimes it’s because the “winner” won the lottery, a prize or sweepstakes and needs to pay a processing fee to receive their winnings.  Other times it is the IRS claiming that there is an issue with the victim’s tax returns and insists that payments be made by gift cards.  No matter the reason, if anyone asks to be paid by gift card, don’t do it.

Question: How do you get new bills to not stick together?  – Harry from Harlem, New York.

Answer: There are several tricks to unstick crisp dollar bills.  One way is to take each bill and crumble/ruffle them up.  There are fingertip wax moisturizers that can be purchased to assist in improving one’s grip.  This makes it easier to count and separate new bills.  Another trick is to add air by fanning a stack of crisp bills.  For the best results, fan all four sides several times.  Similarly, you can causes a small break between crisp bills by simply folding a stack of them lengthwise.

Question: Do I have to pay taxes on my checking and savings accounts?  – Tina from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Answer: Any interest earned on checking, savings, money market and certificate of deposit accounts are considered as ordinary income and are taxable.  However, it doesn’t need to be reported on a federal tax return if the amount of interest earned for the year is less than $10.  Financial institutions will send their customers a 1099-INT tax form when the interest earned from those accounts passes the $10 threshold.  For complicated tax questions, please consult a CPA or tax specialist.

Written by: Alex Sanchez, Branch Manager

Important: For your specific questions about banking, contact your banking expert, Alex, at:

Alex is starting his 17th year in the banking industry.  He has worked for such notable banks as Bank of America, US Bank, and Chase.  Alex has his bachelor’s degree in Business Economic from the University of California Riverside.

elor’s degree in Business Economic from the University of California Riverside.