By Mike Kruzman /

A local bank is helping consumers recognize scams used to separate people from their money.

First National Bank, which is headquartered in Howell, is joining banks across the nation for a first-of-its kind campaign to educate consumers about the threat of phishing scams. It is estimated by the Federal Trade Commission that consumers lost $1.9-billion to phishing scams and fraud in 2019. They believe the pandemic has even increased the threat.

The #BanksNeverAskThat campaign will use humor and other engaging content to help consumers identify bogus banking communications asking for sensitive information like social security numbers and passwords. First National will be sharing, what they call, eye-catching and engaging short videos on social media, in e-newsletters, and other communications, all October, which is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The campaign will be bright and bold in an effort to escape the boring and mundane nature that they say fraud awareness and education can often take on. First National advises that banks will never ask questions that seem goofy, like, ā€œDo you prefer boxers or briefs,ā€ nor a question to verify your user name and password because of unusual activity they claim to have spotted on your account. The campaign will direct consumers to a website that has more videos, a quiz, phishing red flags, tips, and frequently asked questions.

For more information, visit that website,