Heritage Days 2022

The community celebration began in 1956 to mark the prosperity brought about by industrial expansion, which included the railroad, lumber business, and the Anaconda Aluminum Company.

Freedom Bank is honored to be a part of Columbia Falls’ growth over the past 17 years. Just like many of our customers, Freedom Bank is a small local business. To participate in this community and to be able to support and watch it grow has been inspiring.

Freedom Bank is a main sponsor of the Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena, a team and prize sponsor for the 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and a sponsor of the Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop.

Heritage Days is an adventure and celebration for the whole family. Take a look at the complete schedule below or visit the official website here: http://cfallsheritagedays.com/index.html

Wednesday – July 27, 2022

  • 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – 13th Annual Car Show at Marantette Park.

Thursday – July 28, 2022

  • 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. – Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop
  • FREE Open Swimming at Pinewood Park Pool.
    • 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Adults and kids to 12 years old
    • 8:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Adults and kids 13+ years old

Friday – July 29, 2022

  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment
  • 5:30 p.m. – Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Auction and BBQ
    Marantette Park in Columbia Falls.

    •  5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. BBQ and Social Hour. $5.00 per plate
    • 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Raffles
    • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live Auction
    • 8:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Beer Garden
  • 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Lion’s Club Concert at Marantette Park.
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Bar & Grille

Saturday – July 30, 2022

  • 7:00 a.m. – Firemen’s Breakfast at Don Anderson Fire Hall, 624 1st Ave. West.
  • 8:00 a.m. – Boogie-to-the-Bank 5k & 10k Run. North Fork to Discovery Square . Contact Ashley Campbell at 406-751-4758 for more information.
  • 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Arts, Crafts, Food Vendors and activities for the kids at Marantette Park.
  • 10:00 a.m. – Class Reunions meet to participate in parade. (See your Class contact person for more info.)
  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – North Valley Senior Center Fund Raiser Luncheon.
    (salads, sandwiches, pies and beverages)
  • 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. enjoy the North Valley High Steppers line dancing demonstration
    For more information call the Center at 406-892-4087. The Center is located at 205 Nucleus Avenue.
  • 12:00 p.m. – Main Parade on Nucleus Avenue (Railroad Street to 7th Street West). Parade participants will stage along Railroad Street at the north end of Nucleus Ave. at 11:00 a.m.
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Grille

Sunday – July 31, 2022

  • 7:00 a.m. – 20th Annual WAEA Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Golf Scramble  – Meadow Lake Golf Course – Columbia Falls, Mont.
    Pre-registration and payment is highly encouraged due to limited teams.

    • Format: 4 person scramble – all skill levels invited
    • Start: 8:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
    • Rules: USGA rules govern play
    • Tees: Men play the WHITE tees, Women play the RED tees
    • Field: Number of teams are limited to 36 with a max. of 4 players per team
    • Handicaps: Callaway System
    • Cost: $100.00 per player for 18 holes of golf, lunch and hole prizes. Register by July 20, 2022 with the Meadow Lake Pro Shop (406)892-2111
  • 9:00 a.m. –  12:00 p.m. Saturday Market Columbia Falls  – in front of City Hall on 6th Street West – Columbia Falls, Mont.                                                          The music will be playing, yummy food, handcrafted vendors, come and enjoy this ‘old timey’ farmers market.

New Mobile App Now Includes Card Control

Card Management Is Now Included With The Freedom Bank MT Mobile App

The next generation digital solution integrates directly with the FreedomBankMT Mobile application to deliver connected digital-first payment experiences. The additional card management functions create convenience and transparency.

This new, improved app will give you enhanced control over your debit card. These features include but are not limited to:

  • Understand spending clearly with quick, accessible insights.
    • Transactions will be more transparent with clear merchant names, logos, interactive maps to find merchant locations, and contact information.
  • Manage card on-the-go with advanced control.
    • View Subscriptions, Recurring Payments, and Card-on-file information.
    • Add Travel Plans when you need them, now including out of country.
    • Engage in real time notifications with transaction alerts
    • Turn your card off if you misplace it. Please note, if you have lost your card contact Freedom Bank as soon as possible at (406)892-1776.

 

            

How To Access The New Card Features

  • Simply tap the ‘Cards’ icon within the Freedom Bank MT mobile app to register your debit card and see all the new features, enable alerts or manage your existing card controls. Take advantage of the convenient safety controls at your fingertips.
  • If the update happened and you did not have push notifications enabled, visit your app store and select the Freedom Bank MT mobile app. You will be given the option to update.

If you previously downloaded the Freedom Bank MT Card Control app, please remove it from your device. All Card Control options are now within the Freedom Bank MT Mobile app.

Cybercrime Awareness Session for Small Businesses

Businesses in the Flathead Valley are seeing increasing attempts of bank fraud, phishing attacks, and ransomware. We see it at the bank, and we hear about it from our friends and neighbors. Freedom Bank is hosting a Cybercrime Awareness Session to help small businesses learn the common tactics scammers and hackers are using, as well as actionable advice to protect their business and their bank accounts.

Cybercrime Awareness Session for Small Businesses
Tuesday, July 26th
5:30-7:30 PM
Freedom Bank Community Room

Overview: This session will help small businesses understand the risks in today’s banking environment and assess their business’s exposure to risk due to transaction activity and use of technology. Businesses will get practical advice to make improvements in their protection against cybersecurity risks such as email account takeover and phishing.

Agenda:

  • 5:30-6:00 – Beer/Wine and Appetizers available
  • 6:00-6:15 – Bank Fraud Risks for Small Businesses
  • 6:15-7:00 – Steps to Improve Your Business’s Cybercrime Resilience
  • 7:00-7:30 – Q&A, Discussion

 

 

Cosponsored by

Safely Use Mobile Payment Apps

Avoid Sending Money to a Scammer

  • Don’t click on links in an unexpected email, text message, or direct message that asks you to send money. Don’t give any personal or sensitive information like your username, PIN, or password.
  • Confirm that you know the person you’re sending money to.
  • When sending to someone you know, double-check their information before you hit send.

Protect Your Accounts

  • Use multi-factor authentication. This means you need two or more credentials to get into your account: your password plus something else like an authentication code or fingerprint.
  • Never share your credentials, like a verification code you get via text or authentication app.
  • Set up alerts in the payment app to get transaction notifications outside of the app environment, such as via email or text.
  • Regularly check your payment app and bank accounts to make sure no unauthorized payments have been sent from or accepted by your account.

Paid a Scammer Through a Payment App?

  • Report it to the payment app or service and ask to reverse the transfer.
  • Tell your financial institutions.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Learn more at https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/mobile-payment-apps-how-avoid-scam-when-you-use-one

Infographic about How to Safely Use Mobile Payment Apps and Services

Heightened Cyber Security Awareness

This current environment requires us all to be focused on resilience. Just as you fasten your seat belt before driving, take precautions before using the Internet to be sure you are safe and secure.

Image of bald eagle with words "Stay Vigilant. Heightened Cyber Security Awareness."

The National Cyber Security Alliance has some tips to help you stay protected online:

PERSONAL INFORMATION IS LIKE MONEY. VALUE IT. PROTECT IT.

Lock your devices, like your tablet and phone: You lock the front door to your house, and you should do the same with your devices. Use biometric authentication, such as facial recognition or your fingerprint, to lock your tablet and phone. Securing your devices keeps prying eyes out and can help protect your information in case your device is lost or stolen.

Think before you act: Ignore emails or communications that create a sense of urgency and require you to respond to a crisis, such as a problem with your bank account or taxes. This type of message is likely a scam.

When in doubt, throw it out: Clicking on links in emails is often how bad guys get access to personal information. If an email looks weird, even if you know the person who sent it, it’s best to delete.

Make passwords strong: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!

Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

SHARE WITH CARE

What you post will last forever: Be aware that when you post a picture or message online, you may also be inadvertently sharing personal details with strangers about yourself and family members – like where you live.

Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well.

Own your online presence: It’s OK to limit who can see your information and what you share. Learn about and use privacy and security settings on your favorite websites.

You can learn more at stopthinkconnect.org.

Snack Drive for Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier Country

Freedom Bank is collecting donated non-perishable, packaged treats and snacks for the children of Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier Country.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier Country Logo

Boys & Girls Clubs serve many school aged children in our community. The organizations works with children after school during the school year and all day during the summer. Snacks are a wonderful way to help fuel children so they can continue to learn.

Sizes do not have to be individual small sizes; large or bulk sizes are accepted!

Some ideal items, but not limited to, are:

  • Dry Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Fruit Cups
  • Pudding Cups
  • Jell-O Cups
  • Pretzels
  • Trail Mix
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Crackers
  • Goldfish Crackers

Please drop off donations to Freedom Bank at 530 9th Street West, Columbia Falls, MT 59912. If you have any questions, contact us at 406-892-1776.

Fight IRS Reporting Mandates

To Freedom Bank Customers and Members of Our Community,

We care about you, your finances, and your privacy, so we want to let you know about a concerning proposal taking shape in Washington. If passed, the proposal would require financial institutions to report the inflows and outflows on personal and business accounts to the IRS.

Specifically, the proposed fiscal 2022 budget would require banks and other financial institutions to report to the IRS on the deposits and withdrawals of all business and personal accounts with a balance of more than $600.

Source: Pages 88-89 of the FY2022 Revenue Proposal: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/131/General-Explanations-FY2022.pdf

The proposal would:

  • Constitute a broad, unwarranted infringement on the privacy of all bank customers.
  • Be intrusive and indiscriminate.
  • Undermine the goal of reducing the unbanked.
  • Increase taxpayer complexity and confusion.
  • Overwhelm the IRS with personal financial data and increase risk of data breach.

All Americans have a fundamental right to financial privacy. IRS data collection should be tied directly to tax liability and should be no broader than absolutely necessary. The Administration’s proposal would equate to a fishing expedition unsupported by reasonable suspicion of tax evasion. This proposed new expansive reporting approach to tax collection is unprecedented and warrants serious Congressional scrutiny.

Freedom Bank will not stand for this, but we need your help to ensure policymakers hear us loud and clear. If you want to make your voice heard by policymakers or learn more about this proposal, visit banklocally.org/privacy.

You can also use the official contact forms to directly email our Members of Congress. Sample text for a message is included in this document: https://www.freedombankmt.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Contact-Members-of-Congress.docx

Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to continuing to serve you and our community.

2021 Heritage Days: The Way We Were

The community celebration began in 1956 to mark the prosperity brought about by industrial expansion, which included the railroad, lumber business, and the Anaconda Aluminum Company.

Freedom Bank is honored to be a part of Columbia Falls’ growth over the past 16 years. Just like many of our customers, Freedom Bank is a small local business. To participate in this community and to be able to support and watch it grow has been inspiring.

Look for Freedom Bank in the parade down Nucleus Avenue on Saturday, July 24th at 12:00 pm. After the parade, roughly at 1:30 pm, Freedom Bank sponsors a Wild Horse Drive down Highway 2 from Columbia Heights to the Blue Moon. We are also a main sponsor of the Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena, a team and prize sponsor for the 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and a sponsor of the Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop.

Heritage Days is an adventure and celebration for the whole family. Take a look at the complete schedule below or visit the official website here: http://cfallsheritagedays.com/index.html

Wednesday – July 21, 2021

  • 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – 12th Annual Car Show at Marantette Park.

Thursday – July 22, 2021

  • 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. – Columbia Falls Community Market at the Coop
  • FREE Open Swimming at Pinewood Park Pool.
    • 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Adults and kids to 12 years old
    • 8:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Adults and kids 13+ years old

Friday – July 23, 2021

  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment
  • 5:30 p.m. – Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Auction and BBQ
    Marantette Park in Columbia Falls.

    •  5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. BBQ and Social Hour. $5.00 per plate
    • 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Raffles
    • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live Auction
    • 8:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Beer Garden
  • 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Lion’s Club Concert at Marantette Park.
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Bar & Grille

Saturday – July 24, 2021

  • 7:00 a.m. – Firemen’s Breakfast at Don Anderson Fire Hall, 624 1st Ave. West.
  • 8:00 a.m. – Boogie-to-the-Bank 5k & 10k Run. North Fork to Discovery Square . Contact Ashley Campbell at 406-751-4758 for more information.
  • 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Arts, Crafts, Food Vendors and activities for the kids at Marantette Park.
  • 10:00 a.m. – Class Reunions meet to participate in parade. (See your Class contact person for more info.)
  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – North Valley Senior Center Fund Raiser Luncheon.
    (salads, sandwiches, pies and beverages)
  • 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. enjoy the North Valley High Steppers line dancing demonstration
    For more information call the Center at 406-892-4087. The Center is located at 205 Nucleus Avenue.
  • 12:00 p.m. – Main Parade on Nucleus Avenue (Railroad Street to 7th Street West). Parade participants will stage along Railroad Street at the north end of Nucleus Ave. at 11:00 a.m.
  • 1:30 p.m. – Freedom Bank’s Wild Horse Drive on Hwy. 2 from Columbia Heights to the Blue Moon.
  • 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. – CFHS Class of 1981 40th Reunion – at Eagles 4081 Columbia Falls
  • 7:00 p.m. – Open Rodeo at the Blue Moon Arena northeast corner of Hwy. 2 and 40, just behind the Blue Moon Grille

Sunday – July 25, 2021

  • 7:00 a.m. – 20th Annual WAEA Wildcat/kat Athletic Endowment Golf Scramble  – Meadow Lake Golf Course – Columbia Falls, Mont.
    Pre-registration and payment is highly encouraged due to limited teams.

    • Format: 4 person scramble – all skill levels invited
    • Start: 8:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
    • Rules: USGA rules govern play
    • Tees: Men play the WHITE tees, Women play the RED tees
    • Field: Number of teams are limited to 36 with a max. of 4 players per team
    • Handicaps: Callaway System
    • Cost: $100.00 per player for 18 holes of golf, lunch and hole prizes. Register by July 14, 2021 with the Meadow Lake Pro Shop (406)892-2111

Elder Abuse Awareness

Roughly 20 percent of older Americans fall prey to financial exploitation losing on average $120,000, or $3 billion every year, according to a study from the AARP Public Policy Institute (https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2016-02/banksafe-initiative-aarp-ppi.pdf).

Be on the Lookout for Elder Financial Abuse Scams

It’s an all too unfortunate reality that older adults are attractive targets for financial exploitation because they tend to possess more wealth than other potential victims. This is wealth that in many instances has been accumulated over their lifetime through hard work and conscientious saving.

The COVID-19 pandemic made the problem even worse with fraudsters coming out of the woodwork. Many of our vulnerable citizens found themselves the victim of scammers pretending to assist with COVID-19 related services and using medical and other ill-gotten personal information to perpetrate fraud and rob them of their life savings.

With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day happening on June 15, we wanted to provide our nation’s seniors and their family members with tips to guard against financial exploitation.

Medicare/Health Insurance Scams

It is difficult to imagine that someone could prey on those in need of medical assistance, but unfortunately, Medicare fraud is all too common. Criminals are posing as Medicare or medical supply representatives to obtain personal information or provide bogus services and using the information to bill Medicare or assume an identity to perpetrate fraud.

Another COVID-19 related scam centers around a FEMA program to assist with funeral expenses. While this is a legitimate program, and you can reach out to FEMA to apply for these benefits, citizens should be mindful that:

  • FEMA will not contact you until you call or apply for assistance.
  • The government won’t ask you to pay anything to get this benefit.

As a good rule of thumb never share personal or financial information with anyone who contacts you out of the blue.

Top Scams Affecting Senior Citizens - Zoom Phishing Emails, Telemarketing Phone Scams, Internet Fraud, Investment Schemes, Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams

Zoom Phishing Emails and Internet Fraud

At the onset of the pandemic con artists registered thousands of fake Zoom-related internet domains to send phony emails, texts or social media messages to trick consumers into clicking on bogus links related to purported “account suspension” or “meeting” notices. Those that took the bait inadvertently downloaded malware (malicious software) on their computer, exposing their personal information to potential use by fraudsters.

Internet scammers are also known for sending fake text messages alleging trouble with an internet account, credit card, bank account or shopping order. Many even contain realistic looking logos to lure you into clicking on a link and divulging personal information.

To limit your exposure, avoid clicking on links from unsolicited emails or texts. If you suspect a problem with an account contact the bank or service provider directly.

Telemarketing/Phone Scams

Seniors schooled in etiquette may frown upon “hanging up the phone” or simply saying “no” to unsolicited calls, but it also leaves the door open to criminals posing as company representatives. Three notable examples include:

  1. The pigeon drop where con artists pretend to share found money in exchange for a “good faith” payment drawn from the contacted person’s bank account.
  2. The fake accident ploy where con artists create a false narrative that a loved one has been injured in an accident and needs money for medical expenses.
  3. Charity scams where con artists solicit funds on behalf of a charity for which they are not affiliated with or is not legit.

Remember, if it’s too good to be true it probably is. If you want to give, go directly to the source. And if you are worried about a friend or family member, verify the information with them directly.

Scams are always changing. This year’s pandemic fraud will be replaced by a new and creative scheme next year. The Federal Trade Commission has a “scam alert” page with information about the ever-changing ways that scam artists target consumers, at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.

And as trusted stewards of our customer’s financial data, feel free to reach out to Freedom Bank at 406-892-1776. Our employees are trained on the latest fraud prevention techniques. They can help you spot potential scams and take appropriate measures to protect your account if you suspect you have been a victim of financial fraud.

Micah Hill – April Hometown Hero Award Winner

We are very proud to give Micah Hill the April Hometown Hero Award. Micah was recently selected as the Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools and has courageously lead the Kalispell community throughout the pandemic. “I’m glad my little voice was heard,” stated Colette Riel when she was notified that her nomination won. With his leadership, the Kalispell schools remained open; hiring more teachers to assist with remote learning demands and developing other transitional plans.

Micha Hill and Don Bennett

Micah Hill receives Award and $500 check to The Flathead Youth Home

Hill demonstrated that it just takes that one person to bring the community together and make the Flathead Valley a beautiful place to live. Just recently he was selected by his peers as Superintendent of the Year for the Northwest Region and is now a finalist for State Superintendent of the Year.

Hill has chosen to donate the $500 award to The Flathead Youth Home. The Flathead Youth Home provides short-term crisis intervention and longer-term group care for youth, aged 10 to 18, in the Flathead Valley. It’s a place where children and teenagers can find security, a sense of belonging, and a place to call home. Other nonprofits that Hill would like to recognize that make the Flathead Valley a community are the Kalispell Education Foundation which provides grant-based investments in programs and resources that encourage collaboration, innovation, and academic excellence, Sparrows Nest of NW MT ensures safe, supportive housing and resources for unaccompanied homeless high school students in the Flathead Valley, Heart Locker acts as a “store” open to students at NO cost where K-12 students can take what they need, and the Flathead Community Health Center where primary medical care for the whole family is provided and no services are denied based on the inability to pay. All of these programs support children, families, and the people of the Flathead Valley; the foundation of our community. You can read more about Micah Hill in an upcoming issue of the Hungry Horse News.

The Hometown Hero award will continue running through January 2022. If you know of someone that is going out of their way, above and beyond expectations, cultivating our community and making a positive impact, please nominate them for the Hometown Hero Award. Each nomination is a true testament of the beauty in our community and demonstrates the impact individuals have on our families, friends, and neighborhoods. If the individual you nominated did not win this month, we encourage you to nominate them again!

Visit www.FreedomBankHometownHero.com to learn more.