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2020 News Archives

News for YOU! is a free, monthly newsletter provided by KS StateBank that offers tips and other information to help you make wise financial choices. Please feel free to sign up now to receive new editions of our newsletters each month, as well as other updates. You can also subscribe to our business newsletter, News for YOU! Business Edition. 

Visit the 2019 News for YOU! Archive.

December 2020

Giving Wisely in the Time of COVID

Thanks to COVID-19, many charitable organizations are faced with greater demand for their services, but less in donations as people have less to give. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that your donation will be used wisely and well. As you consider new places to send your donations, now and throughout the holiday season, don’t forget these four tips for giving wisely:

  1. Search online for the cause you care about — like “help COVID victims” or “homeless kids” — plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search for its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” If you find red flags, it might be best to find another organization.
  2. Check out the charity’s website. Does it give information about the programs you want to support, or how it uses donations? How much of your donation will go directly to support the programs you care about? If you can’t find detailed information about a charity’s mission and programs, be suspicious.
  3. Use one of these organizations to help you research charities: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar. The IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search tells you if your donation would be tax deductible.
  4. See what your state’s charity regulator has to say about the charity. Don’t know who that is? Look it up at nasconet.org. 

Donating on social media or through a crowdfunding campaign? Don’t assume solicitations on social media or crowdfunding campaigns are legitimate — even posts that are shared or liked by your friends. Do your own research. Contact your friends offline to ask them about the post they shared. And remember that crowdfunding campaigns are not tax deductible. 

Find more tips at FTC.gov/Charity and in these videos. If you spot a bogus charity, report them to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. 

This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

 

Tips for Safer Holiday Shopping

The annual holiday shopping tradition is well underway. But as we all know, there's nothing traditional about the year's holiday season. With lockdowns and social distancing, the season of "shopping till we drop" will look markedly different this year. But rest assured, there are some steps you can take to ensure a safer shopping experience:

  • Shop online. Shopping online has always been a convenient and easy way to avoid crowded stores and parking lots. This year, however, it's a smart way to protect yourself from the health risks of COVID-19. Shopping online may help you save more, too, as many retailers are offering attractive deals and virtual events to encourage online traffic this holiday season.
  • Arrange for curbside pickup. If you choose to order something online from a local store, arrange to pick it up curbside. Ask store personnel to place items in your trunk for touchless pickup.
  • Gear up. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) urges consumers to wear masks, maintain social distancing guidelines, and avoid touching of the face. You should also thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water when you return home from shopping outings.
  • Shop at off-peak times. Avoiding the holiday shopping rush always seems like a good idea, but this year it's especially important. If you have to visit a store, try to avoid peak times, such as weekends. Also try to get your shopping done early to avoid last-minute shopping traffic.

COVID-19 may have changed a lot of things in your life, but it doesn't have to change your joy of gift giving. Just be sure to take these precautions to ensure you and your loved ones have a joyous and healthy holiday season.

 

Holiday Schedule

Our branches and offices will be closing at noon on Thursday, December 24 for Christmas. We’ll reopen at our regular times on Saturday, December 26. We will be open during regular hours for New Year’s Eve, but closed New Year’s Day.

From all of us at KS StateBank, we wish you a wonderful holiday season!

 


 

November 2020

Be Aware of Unemployment Fraud

In the August issue of News for YOU! we shared how fraudsters have capitalized on the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic including stealing unemployment benefits. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers are using the names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs to file fraudulent claims. It's estimated that tens of thousands of unsuspecting people have been victimized.

We’ve recently seen an increase in calls from our clients with fraud concerns, especially for unemployment fraud. If you become a victim of unemployment fraud, you may not even be aware of it until you receive a notice from your state's employment office or from your employer. If that should happen, we recommend that you reach out to the following institutions:

  • Inform your employer. Whether it's your current or former employer, they need to know that a fraudulent claim has been made on your behalf.
  • Contact your state’s unemployment office. Many states provide the opportunity to notify them about a fraudulent claim online. Be sure to keep a copy of any documentation you receive. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
  • File a report with local Police Department. Get a copy of the report so that you have it on record that your identity may have been compromised.
  • Review your credit report regularly. You are entitled to one free copy a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
  • Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to put a freeze on your credit. Such a freeze will ensure that no new credit accounts can be opened in your name. You can also have one of the credit bureaus place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit.
    • Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc. – 888-548-7878
    • Experian Information Solutions, Inc. – 888-397-3742
    • TransUnion – 800-916-8800
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov or call 877-382-4357
  • Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271 if you suspect someone is using your Social Security number
  • Contact the Postal inspection service if you believe your mail was stolen
  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicle if you believe someone is trying to obtain an ID

As an extra layer of protection, we recommend that you add a password to your accounts. Also, with tools like Online and Mobile Banking, you can monitor all your account activity any time. If you notice any unauthorized transactions, please notify us immediately.

For more information on ways to protect yourself from identity theft and to report fraud, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s ID theft website, fraud reporting website, or view our Identity Theft FAQ page.

 

Tips for Shopping Online

The holiday shopping season will be here soon. Many of you may have already started your gift buying and are taking advantage of early sales. For those that choose to shop online, the Federal Trade Commission has provided some important tips to help you shop safely.

Know who you're dealing with. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. And if you get an email or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you’re browsing, don't reply or follow the link. Legitimate companies don't ask for information that way.

Know what you're buying. Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate that the product is in less-than-mint condition, while name-brand items with bargain basement prices could be counterfeits.

Know what it will cost. Check out websites that offer price comparisons and then compare "apples to apples." Factor shipping and handling into the total cost of your purchase. Do not send cash or money transfers under any circumstances.

Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates. Can you return the item for a full refund if you're not satisfied? If you return it, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fees, and when you will get your order? A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule requires sellers to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised. Many sites offer tracking options, so you can see exactly where your purchase is and estimate when you’ll get it.

Pay by credit card. If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you can dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them. In the event that someone uses your credit card without your permission, your liability generally is limited to the first $50 in charges. Some companies guarantee that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made to your card online; some cards provide additional warranty, return, and purchase protection benefits.

Keep Records. Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them; be on the lookout for charges that you don’t recognize.

Protect Your Information Don't email any financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting financial information like your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number. If you begin a transaction and need to give your financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a URL that begins "https" (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some fraudulent sites have forged security icons.

Check the privacy policy. Really. It should let you know what personal information the website operators are collecting, why, and how they're going to use the information. If you can't find a privacy policy — or if you can't understand it — consider taking your business to another site that's more user-friendly.

 

November Holidays

Veterans Day: We will be closed on Wednesday, November 11 for Veterans Day as we honor those who have served our country. Thank you to our veterans for your bravery and sacrifice.

Thanksgiving Day: Our branches and offices will also be closed on Thursday, November 26 for Thanksgiving. We’ll return to normal hours on Friday, November 27. We’re grateful for all of our clients and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 


 

October 2020

Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s 2019 report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.48 billion to these “phishing” scams in 2018 alone. Imagine where we are in 2020.

Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at KS StateBank, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.

We want every bank client to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.

These top three phishing scams are full of red flags:

  • Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  • Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  • Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number? No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.

You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

What’s Your Scam Score? Take five minutes to become a scamspotter pro by taking the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz at BanksNeverAskThat.com. Share your score on Twitter to encourage your friends and family to test their scam savviness, too. The more scamspotters out there, the harder it is for phishing criminals to catch their next victim!

 

Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Finances

Teaching healthy money habits can be challenging, but it's one of the most important lessons you can share. And you don't need to be an expert to give them a solid foundation in financial literacy. Use these tips for a simple yet impactful financial talk with your kids.

Make it Age-Appropriate Finances are complicated, so make sure you tailor your talk to their level of understanding and interest. Discuss terms like "budgets," "overdraft fees," "interest rates," and "credit scores." Regardless of age, it's never too late or too early to teach financial literacy basics.

Take Advantage of Events A grocery store is a familiar place for introducing kids to the value of a dollar. But also remember to include them in other shopping experiences, such as buying a home or car or paying bills. Experiences like these can illustrate affordability, the process of making a payment, or how to apply for a mortgage.

Encourage Earning Earning, saving, and spending their own money is one of the most excellent ways kids can learn about money management. Some families do this through a weekly allowance, paying for chores, or financially rewarding them for good grades. Others have their children work in the family business or encourage them to find another paying job.

If you are paying for chores, use that opportunity to discuss negotiating a raise. If they've found regular work, remember to talk about taxes and other withholdings so they aren’t shocked when they receive their first paycheck!

Encourage Saving Understandably, their first instinct may be to spend all of what they just earned. Teach them that saving should happen regularly and explain why. Illustrate how saving makes larger purchases possible and how it creates a safety net, so they always have cash on hand.

Be Patient with Questions Money management is notoriously tricky to understand, even for adults. Answer questions with openness, patience, and give yourself credit for your personal experiences that support your expertise.

Remember that actions speak louder than words alone. Demonstrate to your kids that you practice what you preach when it comes to financial health and growing wealth.

 

Columbus Day

All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, October 12 in observance of Columbus Day. We will reopen at our regular times on Tuesday, October 13.

 


 

September 2020

Take Control of Your Money in Uncertain Times

There are some things in life that are just beyond our control. The situation with COVID-19 has sure taught us that. It seems like almost overnight, unexpected circumstances like furloughs, job losses, and business closings have made goals like buying a house or taking an early retirement seem no longer within our control.

There is, however, something we can control during these and other uncertain times: our money. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Budget. Budgeting has always been the key to successful financial management; however, during the pandemic when you may have experienced a loss of income, it's absolutely critical. Take some time to review your expenses and look for ways to reduce them. Our online financial management tool, My Money, can help your set a budget and track your spending. 
  • Build emergency savings. Life has always been unpredictable – even before COVID-19. We can never predict when we might encounter an unexpected expense or life event, like illness or job loss. The best way to financially prepare for the unexpected is to have an emergency fund. Saving even a few dollars a pay period can add up and give you the peace of mind you need.
  • Reduce credit card debt. Debt has unfortunately become a part of our lives. According to USA Today, the average American has over $6,200 in credit card debt. If you're among them, you'll want to focus on paying down that debt. To accomplish that, review the interest rates and balances you have and start paying down higher-interest debt first. Also, be sure to pay more than the minimum payment due to reduce interest fees. You may also want to look into consolidating credit card debt with a balance transfer offer.
  • Look at other options for reducing other debt. If anything positive has come out of the pandemic, it's lower interest rates. That means now could be a good time to refinance your mortgage or to refinance higher-interest student loan debt.
  • Maintain good credit. The need to maintain strong credit will never change. Be sure to pay all your bills on time and to avoid using credit cards to pay for things you can't afford. If you're having difficulty making payments, notify your creditors immediately to work out payment plans.

In challenging times, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose our focus, however, staying focused on your finances can help make your life a little more manageable – and get you back on track to meet those goals you had planned.

 

Adding Others to Your Accounts: Understand the Risks

People often wonder about whether or how to add someone else, usually a relative, to a bank account. These decisions are not to be taken lightly. While we can't advise you on how to share your money or your accounts, we can give you guidance about the implications of adding names onto deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes and loans.

Adding co-owners to a deposit account vs. alternative arrangements. Under FDIC rules, a joint account is a deposit account owned by two or more people who have equal rights to withdraw 100 percent of the deposits and to close the account.

In addition, each co-owner is insured for up to $250,000 for his or her share in all joint accounts at an insured bank. If you want to add co-owners mainly for convenience purposes or to access funds in an emergency, you will need to carefully consider how limits on withdrawal rights could affect your insurance coverage.

A power of attorney may also be used way to give someone limited access to a deposit account on an as‐needed basis without granting ownership rights. Please consult an attorney to discuss this option.

Allowing others to access your Online Banking accounts. Granting someone access to your accounts online is essentially the same as adding them as an authorized signer of your account. Through Online Banking they would have the ability to make internal and external (Bank to Bank) transfers, schedule bill payments and more. You should be careful who you give this access to, and only do so when necessary.

Giving others access to your safe deposit box. The rules and procedures for safe deposit boxes can vary by state and by bank, so ask your bank about the options for granting someone access and what you would have to do if you later change your mind. Remember, this person could take anything out of the box without your approval.

Adding co-owners vs. "authorized users" to a credit card account. A co-owner is financially responsible for all debt incurred, including any charges by an authorized user. Depending on the cardholder agreement, authorized users may or may not be financially responsible for any debt on the card. A card owner also may be able to place restrictions on authorized users, such as limits on amounts that can be charged.

Think carefully before you co-sign a loan. It’s important to keep in mind that you will have to pay the debt if the co-signer does not. You may also have to pay late fees and collection costs, which increase the debt amount. Your credit rating could also be affected if this person fails to pay or pays late.

For additional guidance about adding names to accounts, consider consulting an attorney, your banker or another advisor.

Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.

 

Labor Day

All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, September 7 in observance of Labor Day. We will reopen at our regular times on Tuesday, September 8. Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

 


 

August 2020

Protect Yourself from Unemployment Fraud

Identity thieves are always looking for ways to defraud unsuspecting and innocent victims. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has provided the perfect opportunity. Fraudsters have capitalized on the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic in a variety of unscrupulous ways. They've even gone so far as to steal unemployment benefits.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there's a large-scale national scam whereby criminals, believed to be based overseas, are using the names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs to file fraudulent claims. It's estimated that tens of thousands of unsuspecting people have already been victimized.

What to do if you've been a victim of unemployment fraud If you're a victim of unemployment fraud, you may not even be aware of it until you receive a notice from your state's employment office or from your employer. If that should happen, there are some important steps you need to take:

  • Inform your employer. Whether it's your current or former employer, they need to know that a fraudulent claim has been made on your behalf.
  • Contact your state's unemployment office. Many states provide the opportunity to notify them about a fraudulent claim online. Be sure to keep a copy of any documentation you receive. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
  • File a report with your local police department. Get a copy of the report so that you have it on record that your identity may have been compromised.
  • Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to put a freeze on your credit. Such a freeze will ensure that no new credit accounts can be opened in your name. The contact information for the three credit bureaus is as follows:

    Experian: 1-888 397 3742 or Experian.com     Equifax: 1-800-349-9960 or Equifax.com     TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872 or TransUnion.com

    You can also have one of the credit bureaus place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit.

  • Review your credit report regularly. You are entitled to one free copy a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
  • Track account activity. With tools like Online and Mobile Banking, you can monitor all your account activity any time. If you notice any unauthorized transactions, notify us immediately.

For more information on ways to protect yourself from identity theft, visit the government's ID theft website.

 

Pros and Cons of Listing Your Home for Sale During the COVID Outbreak

This is a popular time of year for homeowners to list their homes for sale. However, given the health crisis (and financial crisis for many), you may be wondering if it's still a good idea to sell your home. What are the pros and possible pitfalls of selling your home during the COVID outbreak? Here are two sides to that coin.

Pros of Selling Your Home Mortgage rates are currently competitive, and many experts believe they'll hover on the low end of the spectrum. With rates so low, and the uncertainty of when they will rise again, homebuyers will be looking to capitalize on this opportunity. This puts your listing in a great position, and finding a buyer despite the challenges should still be easy. Looking at it from a mortgage rate perspective, it's a green light for selling your home this spring.

There's talk that we are heading towards a recession and for a good reason: COVID-19. However, we are not currently in that position, so that means that consumers are likely still feeling confident about making large purchases. Once the economy turns in three, six, or 12 months from now, homebuyer's attitudes are likely to change. Listing your home during a recession could mean you will get less than the asking price you want.

Cons of Selling Your Home On the other hand, there's good reason to wait on listing your home for now. With the nation practicing heighten caution for personal health and the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to socially distance to minimize exposure to germs, having people come to your home for a showing may not be the best idea.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to having a traditional open house. Virtual showcases were already popular, and many real estate agents offer this feature. Another option is to vacate the home while your real estate agent shows it to a prospective buyer. But that is not always feasible and may not be something that all the participants are comfortable with.

Without a doubt, selling a home given our current circumstances is challenging, and unlike any other real estate environment we've experienced before. However, much like other markets, home buying and selling are always occurring.

If you decide to put your home on the market, contact a KS StateBank Mortgage Loan Originator* to help purchase your next home.

*KS StateBank

How scammers siphoned $36B in fraudulent unemployment payments from US

In a Zoom session with the camera turned off, Mayowa describes how he scoops up U.S. unemployment benefits fattened by COVID-19 relief, an international imposter attack that has contributed to at least $36 billion being siphoned away from out-of-work Americans. 

Mayowa is an engineering student in Nigeria who estimates he’s made about $50,000 since the pandemic began. After compiling a list of real people, he turns to databases of hacked information that charge $2 in cryptocurrency to link that name to a date of birth and Social Security number. 

In most states that information is all it takes to file for unemployment. Even when state applications require additional verification, a little more money spent on sites such as FamilyTreeNow and TruthFinder provides answers – your mother’s maiden name, where you were born, your high school mascot. Mayowa said he is successful about one in six times he files a claim. 

“Once we have that information, it’s over,” Mayowa said. “It’s easy money.” 

Mayowa agreed to take USA TODAY inside the fraud in an interview arranged by security firm Agari, using only his first name to hide his identity. The security company gives him another source of cash: It pays him in Bitcoin to provide information about active scams.

Help us report on coronavirus scams

Are you a government contract officer? A vendor? A purchasing agent in the private sector? Do you know about a scam tied to coronavirus we should know about? Email us at covidscams@usatoday.com.

Coronavirus-era unemployment fraud was first identified in the state of Washington in May and since has spread to all 50 states, skipping to new targets as government agencies plug holes exposed by the massive scams. Mayowa and his crew of foreign scammers focused in November on Hawaii, Florida and Pennsylvania.

In addition to the crushing volume of legitimate claims during COVID-19 and public pressure to speed up payments, mobile banking apps and prepaid debit cards issued by some state unemployment offices paved the way for fraud this year, security experts said.

The step-by-step playbook the scammers follow is shared on Telegram, an app that provides cloud-based anonymous messaging and acts as an internet bulletin board of tips and questions.

Asked whether he feels bad about stealing from unemployed Americans, Mayowa pointed out that 70% of his peers in school are working the scams as side hustles, too.  

“No, no remorse,” Mayowa said. “We don’t know them. We don’t know who they are; it’s nobody.”  

States for years had prepared for low-level fraud, focusing on whether actual state residents filing for unemployment were telling the truth. The recent wave of imposter fraud – including from overseas – caught them off guard. 

In Washington, alarms began flashing red for Suzi LeVine on May 12. It was 10 p.m. and the message was clear: We are under attack. 

The commissioner of the state’s unemployment system knew claims were increasing as the pandemic and its economic devastation spread. But suddenly claims were 10-fold what LeVine expected.  

Things got crazy quickly. Within two weeks of CARES Act funding enriching weekly benefits, $600 million had been bled from the state system – roughly 8% of the $8.6 billion paid over the summer. The state pulled the plug on all payments for two days while it struggled to figure out what was happening. 

Suzi LeVine, commissioner of Washington state's Employment Security Department, said she knew something was wrong this spring when the number of jobless claims being filed was 10-fold what she expected. The wave of imposter fraud led to $600 million in improper payments and calls for Gov. Jay Inslee to fire LeVine. The state has recovered $357 million so far.

Eventually, the state’s computers started to flag anomalies: out-of-state banks, duplicate email addresses and multiple names using the same bank accounts. But there and elsewhere, antiquated state computer systems failed to flag foreign IP addresses, repeated computer serial numbers and techniques to mask that number.

Washington generally sees a few dozen fraudulent claims from imposters a year. Since March, the state has identified 122,000. 

“When you consider the policy factors accelerating benefits and getting them to the neediest people and the expanded $600 available … we had the perfect storm,” said LeVine, who served as ambassador to Switzerland during the Obama administration. “They have been lying in wait for this moment.”

Washington should’ve been a wakeup call for every other state. Instead, it took some states six months or more to introduce new two-factor authentication systems and third-party ID verification tools and to block suspicious addresses. Many also began relying more heavily on a national shared database to detect suspicious actors.

A failure to move quickly combined with the ingenuity of the scammers has allowed the fraud to continue rippling across the country, contributing to delays in payments to out-of-work Americans, according to Michele Evermore, a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.

Key pieces of imposter unemployment scam

“These fraudsters are like velociraptors,” Evermore said. “Once they find one piece of the gate is mended, they’ll move on to another part to attack.” 

The Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General estimated in a November report that these schemes and others targeting pandemic unemployment payments represented about $36 billion in losses through November. 

USA TODAY contacted unemployment departments in all 50 states to ask how much fraud had been paid out, and how much had been recovered. Of the half that responded, only eight have released the amount of taxpayer dollars they improperly paid out in fraud – a fraction of the national estimate.

Many states are reticent to discuss the situation, citing security concerns as well as difficulty quantifying what meets the definition of a fraud scheme. Some declined to even estimate loss numbers – or downplayed their significance.  

Nevada officials say determining that a claim is fraudulent requires interviews with claimants and a “due process opportunity to present evidence.”

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services “has chosen not to respond to this request,” wrote Zoë Calkins, spokeswoman for the unemployment insurance agency. 

In September, the federal Labor Department gave $100 million to state systems to combat fraud. But state unemployment commissioners say they’re still chronically underfunded, working with decades-old technology that can’t keep up with increasingly complex schemes to bypass identity safeguards. 

“One of the consequences of having a system that hasn’t been modernized is that it is extremely challenging to deal with the concerted fraudulent attacks,” said Rosa Mendez, a Nevada spokeswoman. 

The Department of Labor, the FBI and the Secret Service say they’re working together to uncover fraud, plug holes in identity verification systems and claw back millions in improper payments. 

Prosecutors have tracked down a handful of “threat actors” and “money mules” – U.S. residents who help carry out the schemes. Agari, the security contractor, estimated that Nigerians are responsible for half of all international scams that fall under the umbrella of business email compromise, including unemployment, romance and "get rich quick while you work from home" offers. About a quarter of those reach the U.S. 

The goal is to recover as much of the pilfered funds as possible. Washington state, for instance, has recovered $357 million of the $600 million stolen.

In late October, Kelly Maculan received a letter from the Illinois unemployment system confirming her last day of work had been April 3.  

Except Maculan wasn't out of work. She was employed full time as an office manager near Chicago. So, she called the number on the letter to notify the state of the error and figured that would be the end of it.

States say they are underfunded, using antiquated equipment to try to keep scammers at bay.

Days later, she received another notice that an $822 direct deposit to her had been flagged as fraud – and that she would need to repay it or face legal action. 

Maculan was irate. She has spent the past eight weeks struggling through long wait times and unfulfilled promises to call her back. After her employer got involved, the state told her this month to disregard all the notices.

Scammers need actual people to file their fictitious claims, looking for those who have not already filed on their own. In Maculan’s case, she has no idea how someone got her personal information, although she noted that her Discover card was breached years ago.

She blames the state for not having “a system set up to avoid this issue.”  

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Illinois officials declined to comment specifically on Maculan’s case, and they were among those who wouldn’t estimate how much in improper payments they’ve issued since March. Spokesman Will Gomberg did say the Illinois Department of Employment Security has stopped over 341,000 claims due to identity theft since March 1.

“If a victim received a notice stating that they owe us money after they reported fraud, this notice of overpayment was sent in error,” Gomberg said. “We want to apologize for any anxiety this may have caused, and we want to reassure victims that they do not owe any money as a result of a fraudulent claim.” 

Unemployment payments rarely flow directly to the scammers. Instead, experts say fraudsters launder the money through online accounts and people with legitimate U.S. bank accounts. 

That not only obscures the scammer’s identity but makes it harder for the government to detect the fraud and recoup funds. 

Scammers avoid ATMs, which are equipped with cameras, in favor of online banking and new banking apps.

Mobile banking and other online money-transfer apps have opened up new avenues for moving money around more easily. They allow access to accounts without anyone ever appearing in person – even avoiding cameras at ATMs – and offer debit cards that are easily moved on the black market. 

Scammers used Green Dot accounts to transfer funds in bulk in the Washington fraud, LeVine said. Mayowa, the scammer in Nigeria, said fraudsters also use Venmo, PayPal, Cash App and Walmart2Walmart to extract funds.

“Once those funds go to a Green Dot account, they’re often transferred through a series of movements into mules based in the U.S. probably, then moved offshore in two to three hops,” said Armen Najarian, chief identity officer of Agari, the security firm.  

Philip Lerma, chief risk officer at Green Dot, said the company is aware of its role in the unemployment fraud and is taking an active role in identifying problems. 

“For cases related to unemployment funds, we immediately engage state agencies and other third parties to make them aware of potentially fraudulent activity and help them assess, confirm and address it quickly and effectively,” Lerma wrote. “In many cases, using advanced device forensics, data analysis and other proprietary controls, we’ve been able to identify suspicious activity and prevent fraudulent transfers before they go through.” 

A network of so-called “money mules” includes full co-conspirators and those who have been groomed – sometimes for years – and may be unaware of their role. Najarian estimated that half are unwitting partners of puppeteers in Nigeria, South Africa or the United States.

Judy Middleton, 70, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, is accused by federal prosecutors of serving as a money mule for a sophisticated scam, one of those that targeted Washington’s unemployment system. She appears to have no other criminal history. The retiree and grandmother told the court she has two homes, a motor home and two vehicles.

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In a federal case filed in Jackson, Mississippi, in November, prosecutors said a criminal ring filed unemployment claims on behalf of eight people whose direct deposit payments flowed to Middleton’s bank account, $79,922 in total. It’s unclear from the court records who was orchestrating the scam. 

Prosecutors say Middleton withdrew the money via ATMs and cashier’s checks. She also bought Walmart and Kroger gift cards and sent money via wire transfers to other bank accounts. 

In one instance, prosecutors say, Middleton packaged up $19,000 in cash and mailed it through the U.S. Postal Service to a man in Colorado. 

If convicted of all 19 fraud charges, Middleton would face hundreds of years in prison, fines and supervision. Her trial has been delayed until March. Neither she nor her attorney answered phone calls seeking comment.  

Since March, backlogs and political pressure have forced the resignation of two state insurance commissioners in Florida and Oklahoma. Two others, in Kentucky and Wisconsin, have been fired.

Pressure mounted for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to fire his commissioner, LeVine, too, after hundreds of millions in public funds were stolen. 

As unemployed Americans continue to file for assistance, scammers keep searching for workarounds to states' efforts to keep them out.

So far, LeVine has kept her job. She says the department worked quickly to find holes and plug them while alerting other states to prepare. She got training from her staff on verifying identification and worked alongside the National Guard, which had offered emergency help.

“We’ve been humbled by being the first out of the gate to suffer this attack, but we’ve grown and improved our responsiveness,” LeVine said.

California officials drew headlines recently for announcing they suspect as much as $2 billion was paid out in improper payments. Other states have reported lower losses:  $242 million in Massachusetts, $200 million in Michigan, $18 million in Rhode Island, $8 million in Arizona and $6 million in Wisconsin.

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Three states that declined to share their numbers – Oregon, Tennessee and West Virginia – issued identical statements to USA TODAY, saying they “cannot discuss details involving ongoing fraud prevention tactics, investigations, or the scope of potentially fraudulent activity.”

None of those officials would say where the statement came from. All states belong to the same lobby organization, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. That association did not respond to requests for comment.

Nick Penzenstadler is a reporter on the USA TODAY investigations team. He can be reached at npenz@usatoday.com or @npenzenstadler, or on Signal at (720) 507-5273. 

More in this series

Источник: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2020/12/30/unemployment-fraud-how-international-scammers-took-36-b-us/3960263001/
NMLS ID 410602

 

Memorial Day 

All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. On this day we honor and remember those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.

 


 

April 2020

Avoid Coronavirus Scams

With scammers now taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus, The Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration recently issued a joint alert related to fraudulent product schemes. We encourage you to read tips from the FTC on how to avoid these scams. You can stay informed on these and other scams on the FTC's website.

 

We Are Here For You

We understand that during these unprecedented times you may have questions about our current banking operations and your financial wellbeing. Nothing is more important than the safety and health of our clients, employees and communities, and we want to assure you that we have taken steps to prepare for this difficult situation.

America’s banks, including KS StateBank, entered the current COVID-19 crisis from a position of strength thanks to record capital and liquidity levels, as well as prudent planning and risk management. We are working to respond to the needs of our consumer and business clients directly impacted while we continue to execute our own business continuity plans.

Below we’ve provided answers to some of the questions you might have right now. Please reach out to us if you have additional questions.

Is the bank open? Yes. Our bank is open for business, but we have altered our operations to protect the safety of our team and our clients. For example, we are limiting our branch lobby access at our Kansas branches (the lobby at our Phoenix branch remains open) until we have determined it is safe to resume normal operations. We will be adhering to the latest public health guidance in making that determination. In the meantime, we encourage you to use our drive ups, mobile and online services to conduct your banking business. We are also allowing banking by appointment for some specific transactions.

Is my money safe? The safest place for your money is in the bank. It’s FDIC-insured and it’s convenient. Our federal regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), regularly examines the bank to make sure we have detailed, tested disaster recovery procedures and business resumption plans. The FDIC has provided an FAQ for consumers that you can find here.

Which bank services are available? While we have limited lobby access at our Kansas branches for the safety of our employees and clients, our drive ups are open and you still have access to our website as well as Online Banking and Mobile Banking. We also have Telephone Banking to conduct transactions by calling 866-587-4040. As always, you can call the bank at 800-588-6805 and we would be happy to help you.

How will I make loan payments? You can continue to make payments as you always have. We can get you set up for automatic withdrawals from your KS StateBank account or to make an ACH debit from another financial institution. You can also mail your payments to us or drop them off at any of our locations.

My usual ATM is not accessible, where can I go to get cash? Our ATM network is up and running. Clients may withdraw cash from their checking accounts using their debit cards. For your convenience, KS StateBank provides free withdrawals at non-KS StateBank ATMs (KS StateBank will not charge a fee, but you may still incur a charge from the other financial institutions or ATM owner). Our clients that use Checking PLUS may receive up to $25 in ATM fee refunds each statement cycle when certain qualifications are met. Please see our Personal Deposit Accounts page for more details.

For more information, visit our Coronavirus Response page.

 

Stay Informed and Up-to-Date

At this time it is important to stay connected and up-to-date. You can visit our website and social media sites where we are updating any changes and providing information in regards to COVID-19. 

 


 

March 2020

Achieving Financial Compromise in Your Relationship

Making investment decisions is challenging for anyone. However, when you're part of a couple, the challenge is even greater. Though you and your partner may share the same dreams and goals for your life, you may not share the same investment approach to meeting them. For example, one of you may be an aggressive investor while the other may prefer a more conservative approach. One of you may be actively involved in managing finances, while the other may prefer not to be involved.

The challenge lies in finding a way to compromise. Here are some strategies that could help:

  • Talk about it. Open communication is key to the health and long-term success of a relationship. It's also helpful when it comes to your joint finances. Carve out some quiet time to talk about your individual financial goals and dreams for the future.
  • Find a middle ground. It's likely that you and your spouse will share a lot of the same goals. There may, however, be differences in how you approach them. For example, one of you may dream about early retirement, while the other may want to continue working for as long as they can. Try to find a middle ground.
  • Prioritize and budget for your goals. Once you have a list of goals, determine which are the most important to you both. Then, think about how much you will need to achieve those goals. If you each want to save for college for a child, estimate tuition costs in the future. If you're planning for retirement, you'll have to really think about what kind of retirement you each want and make an estimate of what you need. Our online financial management tool, My Money can help. My Money is a free service found in KS StateBank Online Banking that makes it easier to stay on track, set goals, and maintain your finances.
  • Understand your current investments. It's not uncommon for one partner to take a more active role in financial management. While that may work well for your relationship, it's still important that the financially passive partner have a basic understanding of your finances, accounts, holdings, insurance policies, providers, and contact information. This will ease the burden if something were to happen to the financial manager.
  • Understand each other's risk tolerance. Though one partner may be more actively involved in money management, you should be aware of the other's feelings about risk — and work to compromise on how investment decisions are made. If, for example, you're an aggressive investor and your partner is more conservative, you need to work out your differences before investing. You could compromise by investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds or by investing smaller amounts.
  • Consult with a neutral third-party. In some circumstances, it may benefit you and your partner to sit down with a neutral financial professional who can help you make decisions to manage your individual preferences.

By taking these steps and making your finances a priority, you and your partner can get to where you want to be...together.

 

Romance Scams: It's Not True Love if They Ask for Money

Lots of us have profiles on online dating sites, apps or social media to find “the one.” But that interesting person who just messaged you could be a sweet-talking romance scammer trying to trick you into sending money.

Reports of romance scams are growing, and costing people a lot of cash. According to new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data, the number of romance scams people report to the FTC has nearly tripled since 2015. Even more, the total amount of money people reported losing in 2019 is six times higher than it was five years ago – from $33 million lost to romance scammers in 2015 to $201 million in 2019. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC.

In a sea of online profiles, romance scammers can be hard to detect. But, there are signs you can look out for. Romance scammers start by using someone else’s identity to create fake profiles. They’ll send you flattering messages to make a special connection, say all the right things, and gain your trust. They might claim to be a doctor, a servicemember, or an oil rig worker living overseas. They want to make future plans with you. But then, something comes up and they ask you for money to help them out. Which nearly always means asking you to buy gift cards (and give them the PIN, so they get the cash), or wiring them money.

Here’s the thing: Never send money or gifts to a love interest you haven’t actually met. It’s a romance scam.

  • Stop communicating with the person immediately.
  • Search online for the type of job the person says they have. See if other people have heard similar stories. For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.”
  • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. If it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.
  • Never wire money to a stranger, or pay anyone with gift cards. If someone asks you to wire money or pay with gift cards, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Stay Connected to All Things KS StateBank

Now it’s even easier to stay connected to what’s happening at KS StateBank! Not only can you find us on Facebook and LinkedIn, but we’re now on Instagram and Twitter as well. We’ll be sharing what’s happening in our communities, bank news, product information, financial tips and more.

Just remember not to post personal or account information on any social network. If you have a question regarding anything specific on your accounts, Client Care would be happy to help! Just give them a call at 800-588-6805.

 


 

February 2020

Avoid Online Fraud

With cyber-attacks becoming more and more sophisticated and common, and as we all become more active online, we must take steps to protect our information from cyber thieves. February 11 is Safer Internet Day, so this is a good opportunity to review some ways to keep your information safe.

  • Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
  • Establish strong passwords. A strong password is at least 8 to 12 characters and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using passwords based on personal or easily accessible information, such as names, birthdays and common phrases (such as “1234” or “Password”) and never share passwords with coworkers, family or friends. Use different passwords for each account and change them regularly. 
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Also, look for common red flags such as misspellings, grammatical errors, requests marked as “Urgent!” or “sensitive”, and/or emails from personal email addresses rather than a business email account.
  • Recognize and avoid bogus website links. Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto devices and/or route users to bogus websites. Hover over suspicious links to view the actual URL that you are being routed to. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL. For example: www.ABC-Bank.com vs. ABC_Bank.com.
  • Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
  • Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
  • Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
  • Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

 

Helping Your Aging Parents

Taking care of elderly loved ones has become a pressing responsibility for many individuals and families today. In fact, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, about 17% of adult children will care for their parents at some point. If you find yourself in this situation now – or in the future – there are some things you can do to help your aging loved one:

  • Be compassionate. The most important thing you can offer is empathy. For some families, this can be extraordinarily challenging as their aging loved ones can be having a difficult time dealing with the challenges of growing older, including failing health, financial insecurity, loss of loved ones, loneliness, and increased dependence.
  • Stay connected. This is especially important if you have a parent living on their own. Carving out time for regular phone calls and visits is a great way to show them you care.
  • Ask for help. Caring for your parent is likely not your only responsibility. If you need assistance, don't be afraid to call on other siblings or family members to share in the caregiving.
  • Keep your parent active. Helping your aging parent stay active is important for their mental health and wellbeing and for yours as well. Find resources and activities that may be available to your parent and help them get involved.
  • Attend medical appointments. As your parent ages, their health concerns may become more pressing. Accompanying them on medical appointments will ensure that their healthcare concerns are being heard, they understand options available to them, and that they are following medication and treatment instructions.
  • Assist with financial and other tasks. As we age, everyday tasks, such as keeping up with the mail, paying bills, and going shopping can be difficult. Offer to bring in some help or to do some of the work for your parent.
  • Practice self-care. Make sure you carve out time for yourself to de-stress and do the things you like to do. You'll be a better caregiver for it.

 

Join Our Team at KS StateBank!

Join our growing team and expand your career in banking. We have positions available in Commercial Lending, Mortgage Lending, Training and Retail Banking and we offer competitive pay and benefits. To learn more about these opportunities and apply, visit our Careers page.

 

Presidents Day

All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, February 17 in observance of Presidents Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, February 18.

 


  

January 2020

Warning Signs of a Debt Problem

With the start of the new year, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at your finances and work on any potential trouble spots. For many of us – between student loan payments, car loans and mortgages – living with and managing debt has become part of our normal lives. For others though, debt can be a serious problem that can cause financial stress, insomnia, and relationship problems.

One of the biggest problems for those living with the burden of debt is that they fail to recognize they have a problem – until it's too late. There are, however, some clear signs that indicate when debt is a problem. These warning signs include:

  • You can afford only minimum monthly payments. Paying only the minimum on revolving debt, such as your credit cards, will result in substantial interest fees – and could take you years to pay off the debt.
  • You can't meet your regular expenses. If you need to borrow from your friends or family members or take cash advances on your credit cards to pay your phone bill or your car payment, you have a debt problem.
  • Your debt is growing. Are you aware of the amount of money you owe? Take the time to add up your debt. Then, determine if you're debt is staying the same or increasing each month. If you're not paying down debt, you have a problem.
  • Your credit score is declining. If you have a high percentage of debt and you are late or delinquent on your payments, your credit score will reflect that.
  • You have no money to save. From car repairs to medical bills, life is full of unexpected expenses. That is why it's essential to have an emergency fund to help pay for them. If you have to use credit to pay for unexpected expenses, you will end up accumulating additional debt.
  • Bill collectors call you. Do you find yourself screening your phone calls for debt collectors? If you're receiving calls, it means that you've fallen behind on your payments. Ignoring the calls won't make them or your debt problem go away.
  • Have you applied for a new credit card, mortgage, or car loan and been denied? A denial means that a lender does not believe you have the capacity to pay back your loan.
  • You frequently overdraw your bank account. If you have an overdrawn account, it means you are spending more money than you have. Take a look at your spending to uncover ways to cut expenses.
  • You're losing sleep. If you're staying up at night worrying about how you're going to pay your bills, you definitely have a problem.
  • You hide your debt. Neglecting to tell your partner or other family members about the debt you have is a sure sign you have a problem.

If you are exhibiting these signs of debt, it's important to act immediately. Speak with a nonprofit credit counselor or an experienced financial advisor. Don't delay as ignoring your debt problem will only cost you more.

We also offer My Money, a free online financial management tool found in your KS StateBank Online Banking account. My Money can help you stay on track, set goals and maintain your finances. 

 

Make a Fresh Start in the New Year

The holidays may be over, but many of us are still making lists. Only instead of writing down what we want to buy, we're thinking about what we want to change about ourselves with our annual New Year's resolutions. Despite our high hopes and big plans, many of us usually don't get very far into the year before we break those resolutions.

It's never a bad idea to think about ways to improve your life, but instead of making resolutions, make a fresh start by taking these important steps:

  • Reflect. Life is always moving, but take some time to stop and reflect on the past year. What were you most proud of? What was most difficult for you? What would you like to change?
  • Set priorities. As you reflect on your life, think about what matters most to you. Is it your family? Your career? A passion you have for something? Once you assign your priorities, start allocating your time accordingly. Then, you can spend more time on what's important to you and less time on things that aren't.
  • Set goals and work toward them. Is there something you would like to accomplish in the New Year? For example, do you want to write a book? Or make a career change? Once you determine your goal, list some small steps you can take to work toward it.
  • Simplify. If you feel you don't have enough time, cut back on some of your lesser responsibilities. You can also simplify your life by getting rid of material things you don't need.
  • Be positive. Instead of focusing on the things you can't or didn't do, focus on the things you've done well. Destructive emotions, such as guilt or anger won't help you improve your life. By being positive, you'll attract other positive people.
  • Enjoy life. We all have responsibilities, but life is very precious and short. Make sure you carve out time to do the things you love to do and spend time with the people who mean the most to you.

So go ahead ... make a fresh start in the New Year by following these simple steps. You'll be glad you did.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will reopen during regular hours on Tuesday, January 21.

Источник: https://www.ksstate.bank/resources/news-for-you/2020-news-for-you/
Card Activation Card Activation

Report Unemployment Identity Theft

en español

States have experienced a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings using stolen identities that were accessed or purchased from past data breaches, the majority of which occurred in previous years and involved larger criminal efforts unrelated to unemployment. Criminals are using these stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits across multiple states.

For information and reporting other types of unemployment fraud, including claimant fraud or employer fraud, visit our Report Unemployment Fraud page.

Signs that you may be a victim of unemployment identity theft

Most victims of unemployment identity theft are unaware that claims have been filed and/or that benefits have been collected using their identities. Many people only find out unemployment identity theft occurred when they receive something in the mail, such as a payment or state issued 1099-G tax form that’s incorrect or for benefits not received.

Sample form from the IRS.gov website: IRS form Certain Government Payments 1099-G

You may be a victim of unemployment identity theft if you received:

  • Mail from a government agency about an unemployment claim or payment and you did not recently file for unemployment benefits. This includes unexpected payments or debit cards kansas unemployment bank of america debit card could be from any state.
  • A 1099-G tax form reflecting unemployment benefits you weren't expecting. Box 1 on this form may show unemployment benefits you did not receive or an amount that exceeds your records for the unemployment benefits you did receive. The form itself may be from a state in which you do not live or did not file for benefits.
  • While you are still employed, a notice from your employer indicating that your employer received a request for information about an unemployment claim in your name.

Reporting unemployment identity theft

  1. Report unemployment identity theft to the state where it occurred. Use the State Directory for Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft, below, to report it to the state.
    • You may not receive an immediate confirmation from the state when you submit a report. Time estimates for how long this process takes vary by state.
    • The state may require additional documentation (like filing a police report or a sworn affidavit) in order to open an investigation; they will review your case and make a determination. Each state has different requirements and a different process for investigating identity theft.
    • If you received a 1099-G tax form for benefits you didn’t receive, the state will need to issue you a corrected 1099-G tax form and will update the tax record with the IRS on your behalf.
  2. When you file your income taxes, ONLY include income you actually received. Do not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G to file your taxes.
    • The processing of your tax return should not be delayed while your report of unemployment identity theft is under investigation.
    • If you have not filed your taxes yet, do not report the incorrect 1099-G income on your tax return.
    • If you have already filed your taxes, do not file an amended return. The IRS will issue additional guidance regarding your next steps. Refer to the Identity Theft and Unemployment Benefits page on IRS.gov for updates and additional tax filing information.
  3. Check your credit report for suspicious activity or unauthorized lines of credit opened. You can request free credit reports every week from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) through AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1- 877-322-8228; you will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
    • Consider freezing your credit. It’s the best way you can protect against having new accounts opened in your name. Visit the Credit Freeze page on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
  4. Report unemployment identity theft that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud. In addition to reporting with the state, reporting with the National Center for Disaster Fraud helps law enforcement stop trst shopping unemployment identity theft. Filing this report with the National Center for Disaster Fraud will also notify the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, which is the primary agency responsible for investigating unemployment fraud. You may not receive a response back after submitting this information.

State Directory for Reporting Unemployment Identity Theft

Refer to each state's specific guidance around reporting unemployment identity theft. Some states may refer to unemployment as "reemployment assistance" or may refer to identity theft as "imposter fraud".

Never send personal information or documents to unverified sites or in response to requests from social media. The resources below have been verified by state and federal government.

For technical issues with this website, accessibility problems, or to report non-working phone numbers or broken website links in the State Directory, please contact: ETAfeedback@dol.gov.

Источник: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft

Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

“It’s a racket. It’s a scam,” said Rachel Davis, a 38-year-old dental technician from St. Louis who was laid off in October. Davis was given a MasterCard issued through Central Bank of Jefferson City and recently paid $6 to make two $40 withdrawals.

The banks say their programs offer convenience. They also provide at least one way to tap the money at no charge, such as using a single free withdrawal to get all the cash at once from a bank teller. But the banks benefit from human nature, as people end up treating the cards like all the other plastic in key2benefits debit card customer service wallets.

The fees are raising questions from lawmakers who just recently voted to infuse banks with taxpayer money to keep them afloat.

Reacting to the AP story, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said that as a member of the Senate Banking Committee he’ll look into what can be done to help people drawing unemployment benefits avoid the fees.

“Nickel-and-diming people who have been laid off and are already facing financial hardship is more than just a bad-neighbor policy; it’s bad for our economic well-being,” Menendez said. “This is an extension of some of the tricks and traps that credit card companies have used – only these practices are squeezing the families who most literally cannot afford it.”

Steven Adamske, spokesman for the House Financial Services Committee, said he wasn’t aware of the debit card programs before he was contacted by the AP but said he is concerned about card holder fees.

“Our hope . would be that banks who are getting federal assistance would forgo these kinds of fees as we’re trying to help everyone in society deal with this recession,” Adamske said.

Some banks, depending on the agreement negotiated with each state, also make money on the interest they earn after the state deposits the money and before it’s spent. The banks and credit card companies also get roughly 1 to 3 percent off the top of each transaction made with the cards.

Neither banks nor credit card companies will say how much money they are making off the programs, or what proportion of the revenue comes from user versus merchant fees or interest. It’s difficult to estimate the profits because they depend on how often recipients use their cards and where they use them.

But the potential is clear.

In Missouri, for instance, 94,883 people claimed unemployment benefits through debit cards from Central Bank. Analysts say a recipient uses a card an average of six to 10 times a month. If each cardholder makes three withdrawals at an out-of-network ATM, at a fee of $1.75, the bank would collect nearly $500,000. If half of the cardholders also dial customer service three times in any given week (the first time is free; after that, it’s 25 cents a call), the bank’s revenue would jump to more than $521,000. That would yield $6.3 million a year.

Rachel Storch, a Democratic state representative, received a wave of complaints about the fees from autoworkers laid off from a suburban St. Louis Chrysler plant. She recently urged Gov. Jay Nixon to review the state’s contract with Central Bank with an eye toward reducing the fees.

“I think the contract is unfair and potentially illegal to unemployment recipients,” she said.

Central Bank did not return two messages seeking comment.

Glenn Campbell, a spokesman for Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., said the congressman would support a review of the debit card programs nationwide.

Another 10 states – including the unemployment hot spots of California, Florida and South Carolina – are considering such programs or have signed contracts. The remainder still use traditional checks or direct deposit.

With the national unemployment rate now at 7.6 percent, the market for bank-issued unemployment cards is booming. In 2003, states paid only $4 million of unemployment insurance through debit cards. By 2007, it had ballooned to $2.8 billion, and by 2010 it will likely rise to $10.5 billion, according to a study conducted by Mercator Advisory Group, a financial industry consulting firm.

The economic stimulus plan signed by President Barack Obama this week will increase federal unemployment benefits by $40 billion this year. Subsequently, there will be more money from which banks can collect fees. The U.S. Department of Labor allows the fees as long as states create a way for recipients to get their money for free, spokeswoman Suzy Bohnert said.

“Beyond that, the individual decides how to manage his drawdowns using the debit card,” she said in an e-mail.

A typical contract looks like the agreement between Citigroup and the state of Kansas, which took effect in November. The state expects to save $300,000 a year by wiring payments to Citigroup instead of printing and mailing checks.

Citigroup’s bill to the state: zero. The bank collects its revenue from fees paid by merchants and the unemployed.

“If you use your card the right way, you’re not going to pay fees at all,” said Paul Simpson, Citigroup’s global head of public sector, health care and wholesale cards.

But that’s not always practical.

Arthur Santa-Maria, a laid-off engineer who lives just outside Albuquerque, N.M., said he didn’t pay any fees the first time he was laid off, for several months in 2007. His unemployment benefits were paid by paper checks. He found a new job last year but was laid off again last fall.

This time, he was issued a Bank of America debit card – a “prepaid” card in industry lingo – but he was surprised to learn he had to pay fees to get his money. He asked the bank to waive them. It said no. That’s when Santa-Maria called back to ask how to check his account online. He logged on and saw that the call cost him a half dollar. To avoid more fees, Santa-Maria found a Bank kansas unemployment bank of america debit card America ATM at a strip mall and withdrew $80 at no charge. When he got back to his car, he decided to take out the rest of his money – $250 – and deposit it in his bank account.

Afterward, Santa-Maria logged on to his account and saw a charge of $1.50 for two withdrawals in one day.

“They’re trying to use my money to make money,” Stanta-Maria said. “I just see banks trying to make that 50 cents or a buck and a half when I should be given the service for free.”

New Mexico authorities bargained with Bank of America to get lower fees for unemployment recipients, said Carrie Moritomo, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Workforce Solutions. The state saves up to $1.5 million annually by switching from checks to debit cards.

Bank of America spokeswoman Britney Sheehan pointed kansas unemployment bank of america debit card that the fees charged in New Mexico are similar to those charged in the 29 other states with unemployment debit cards. The bank believes “the fee schedule is reasonable and consistent with similar programs,” she said.

Banks could issue unemployment debit cards with no fees for cardholders, but that would likely mean that states would have to pay more of the administrative costs, said Mark Harrington, director of marketing for Citigroup’s prepaid card services. If a state demanded no cardholder fees and could mass dua webcert login the difference, Citigroup might enter such a contract.

“We would be open to that,” Harrington said. “We’re not looking to structure any programs where we would lose money, but we’re definitely flexible.”

Simpson noted that the cards can save money for jobless workers who have no bank accounts. In the past, these people had to use corner check-cashing shops that charged fees as high as 2 percent, or $6 for a $300 check. Now, they can swipe their cards at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart or elsewhere for free.

Kenna Gortler, a laid-off paper mill worker in Oregon, said her union is advising members to avoid the debit cards and sign up to get their benefits through direct deposit. More than 300 of her fellow workers have lost their jobs at the mill in the last three months, and horror stories about ATM fees and overdraft charges are starting to filter back to others who are just now signing up for their benefits.

“It’s discouraging,” Gortler said. “People have limited funds and they don’t need to be giving money to the banks. They need to be keeping that money to feed their families and pay bills.”

–––

Associated Press writer Jim Abrams in Washington contributed to this report.

Источник: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-bank-fees-jobless-benefits-022009-2009feb20-story.html?_amp=true

2020 News Archives

News for YOU! is a free, monthly newsletter provided by KS StateBank that offers tips and other information to help you make wise financial choices. Please feel free to sign up now to receive new editions of our newsletters each month, as well as other updates. You can also subscribe to our business newsletter, News for YOU! Business Edition. 

Visit the 2019 News for YOU! Archive.

December 2020

Giving Wisely in the Time of COVID

Thanks to COVID-19, many charitable organizations are faced with greater demand for their services, but less in donations as people have less to give. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that your donation will be used wisely and well. As you consider new places to send your donations, now and throughout the holiday season, don’t forget these four tips for giving denali state bank online for the cause you care about — like “help COVID victims” or “homeless kids” — plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search for its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” If you find red flags, it might be best to find another organization.

  • Check out the charity’s website. Does it give information about the programs you want to support, or how it uses donations? How much of your donation will go directly to support the programs you care about? If you can’t find detailed information about a charity’s mission and programs, be suspicious.
  • Use one of these organizations to help you research charities: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Amazon baby registry lookup, and GuideStar. The IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search tells you if your donation would be tax deductible.
  • See what your state’s charity regulator has to say about the charity. Don’t know who that is? Look it up at nasconet.org. 
  • Donating on social media or through a crowdfunding campaign? Don’t assume solicitations on social media or crowdfunding campaigns are legitimate — even posts that are shared or liked by your friends. Do your own research. Contact your friends offline to ask them about the post they shared. And remember that crowdfunding campaigns are not tax deductible. 

    Find more tips at FTC.gov/Charity and in these videos. If you spot a bogus charity, report them to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. 

    This article was provided by the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

     

    Tips for Safer Holiday Shopping

    The annual holiday shopping tradition is well underway. But as we all know, there's nothing traditional about the year's holiday season. With lockdowns and social distancing, the season of "shopping till we drop" will look markedly different this year. But rest assured, there are some steps you can take to ensure a safer shopping experience:

    • Shop online. Shopping online has always been a convenient and easy way to avoid crowded stores and parking lots. This year, however, it's a smart way to protect yourself from the health risks of COVID-19. Shopping online may help you save more, too, as many retailers are offering attractive deals and virtual events to encourage online traffic this holiday season.
    • Arrange for curbside pickup. If you choose to order something online from a local store, arrange to pick it up curbside. Ask store personnel to place items in your trunk for touchless pickup.
    • Gear up. The Center kansas unemployment bank of america debit card Disease Control (CDC) urges consumers to wear masks, maintain social distancing guidelines, and avoid touching of the face. You should also thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water when you return home from shopping outings.
    • Shop at off-peak times. Avoiding the holiday shopping rush always seems like a good idea, but this year it's especially important. If you have to visit a store, try to avoid peak times, such as weekends. Also try to get your shopping done early to avoid last-minute shopping traffic.

    COVID-19 may have changed a lot of things in your life, but it doesn't have to change your joy of gift giving. Just be sure to take these precautions to ensure you and your loved ones have a joyous and healthy holiday season.

     

    Holiday Schedule

    Our branches and offices will be closing at noon on Thursday, December 24 for Christmas. We’ll reopen at our regular times on Saturday, December 26. We will be open during regular hours for New Year’s Eve, but closed New Year’s Day.

    From all of us at KS StateBank, we wish you a wonderful holiday season!

     


     

    November 2020

    Be Aware of Unemployment Fraud

    In the August issue of News for YOU! we shared how fraudsters have capitalized on the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic including stealing unemployment benefits. According to the Federal State bank southern utah cedar city Commission (FTC), scammers are using the names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs to file fraudulent claims. It's estimated that tens of thousands of unsuspecting people have been victimized.

    We’ve recently seen an increase in calls from our clients with fraud concerns, especially for unemployment fraud. If you become a victim of unemployment fraud, you may not even be aware of it until you receive a notice from your state's employment office or from your employer. If that should happen, we recommend that you reach out to the following institutions:

    • Inform your employer. Whether it's your current or former employer, they need to know that a fraudulent claim has been made on your behalf.
    • Contact your state’s unemployment office. Many states provide the opportunity to notify them about a fraudulent claim online. Be sure to keep a copy of any documentation you receive. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
    • File a report with local Police Department. Get a copy of the report so that you have it business card store near me record that your identity may have been compromised.
    • Review your credit report regularly. You are entitled to one free copy a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
    • Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to put a freeze on your credit. Such a freeze will ensure that no new credit accounts can be opened in your name. You can also have one of the credit bureaus place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit.
      • Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc. – 888-548-7878
      • Experian Information Solutions, Inc. – 888-397-3742
      • TransUnion – 800-916-8800
    • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov or call 877-382-4357
    • Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271 if you suspect someone is using your Social Security number
    • Contact the Postal inspection service if you believe your mail was stolen
    • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicle if you believe someone is trying to obtain an ID

    As an extra layer of protection, we recommend that you add a password to your accounts. Also, with tools like Online and Mobile Banking, you can monitor all your account activity any time. If you notice any unauthorized transactions, please notify us immediately.

    For more information on ways to protect yourself from identity theft and to report fraud, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s ID theft website, fraud reporting website, or view our Identity Theft FAQ page.

     

    Tips for Shopping Online

    The holiday shopping season will be here soon. Many of you may have already started your gift kansas unemployment bank of america debit card and are taking advantage of early sales. For those that choose to shop online, the Federal Trade Commission has provided some important tips to help you shop safely.

    Know who you're dealing with. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. And if you get an email or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you’re browsing, don't reply or follow the link. Legitimate companies don't ask for information that way.

    Know what you're buying. Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate that the product is in less-than-mint condition, while name-brand items with bargain basement prices could be counterfeits.

    Know what it will cost. Check out websites that offer childrens trust fund of south carolina comparisons and then compare "apples to apples." Factor shipping and handling into the total cost of your purchase. Do not send cash or money transfers under any circumstances.

    Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates. Can you return the item for a full refund if you're not satisfied? If you return it, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fees, and when you will get your order? A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule requires sellers to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised. Many sites offer tracking options, so you can see exactly where your purchase is and estimate when you’ll get it.

    Pay by credit card. If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you can dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them. In the event that someone uses your credit card without your permission, your liability generally is limited to the first $50 in charges. Some companies guarantee that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made to your card online; some cards provide additional warranty, return, and purchase protection benefits.

    Keep Records. Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them; be on the lookout for charges that you don’t recognize.

    Protect Your Information Don't email any financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting financial information like your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number. If you begin a transaction and need to give your financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a URL that begins "https" (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some fraudulent sites have forged security icons.

    Check the privacy policy. Really. It should let you know what personal information the website operators are collecting, why, and how they're going to use the information. If you can't find a privacy policy — or if you can't understand it — consider taking your business to another site that's more user-friendly.

     

    November Holidays

    Veterans Day: We will be closed on Wednesday, November 11 for Veterans Day as we honor those who have served our country. Thank you to our veterans for your bravery and sacrifice.

    Thanksgiving Day: Our branches and offices will also be closed on Thursday, November 26 for Thanksgiving. We’ll return to normal hours on Friday, November 27. We’re grateful for all of our clients and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

     


     

    October 2020

    Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?

    Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s 2019 report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.48 billion to these “phishing” scams in 2018 alone. Imagine where we are in 2020.

    Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at KS StateBank, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.

    We want every bank client to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.

    These top three phishing scams are full of red flags:

    • Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
    • Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious old town san diego food or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your kansas unemployment bank of america debit card, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
    • Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number? No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.

    You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

    What’s Your Scam Score? Take five minutes to become a scamspotter pro by taking the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz at Pnc branch locations chicago. Share your score on Twitter to encourage your friends and family to test their scam savviness, too. The more scamspotters out there, the harder it is for phishing criminals to catch their next victim!

     

    Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Finances

    Teaching healthy money habits can be challenging, but it's one of the most important lessons you can share. And you don't need to be an expert to give them a solid foundation in financial literacy. Use these tips for a simple yet impactful financial talk with your kids.

    Make it Age-Appropriate Finances are complicated, so make sure you tailor your talk to their level of understanding and interest. Discuss terms like "budgets," "overdraft fees," "interest rates," and "credit scores." Regardless of age, it's never too late or too early to teach financial literacy basics.

    Take Advantage of Events A grocery store is a familiar place for introducing kids to the value of a dollar. But also remember to include them in other shopping experiences, such as buying a home or car or paying bills. Experiences like these can illustrate affordability, the process of making a payment, or how to apply for a mortgage.

    Encourage Earning Earning, saving, and spending their own money is one of the most excellent ways kids can keybank business customer service phone number about money management. Some families do this through a weekly allowance, paying for chores, or financially rewarding them for good grades. Others have their children work in the family business or encourage them to find another paying job.

    If you are paying for chores, use that opportunity to discuss negotiating a raise. If they've found regular work, remember to talk about taxes and other withholdings so they aren’t shocked when they receive their first paycheck!

    Encourage Saving Understandably, their first instinct may be to spend all of what they just earned. Teach them that saving should happen regularly and explain why. Illustrate bbva compass bank hours saturday saving makes larger purchases possible and how it creates a safety net, so they always have cash on hand.

    Be Patient with Questions Money management is notoriously tricky to understand, even for adults. Answer questions with openness, patience, and give yourself credit for your personal experiences that support your expertise.

    Remember that actions speak louder than words alone. Demonstrate to your kids that you practice what you preach when it comes to financial health and growing wealth.

     

    Columbus Day

    All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, October 12 in observance of Columbus Day. We will reopen at our regular times on Tuesday, October 13.

     


     

    September 2020

    Take Control of Your Money in Uncertain Times

    There are some things in life that compassion com just beyond our control. The situation with COVID-19 has sure taught us that. It seems like almost overnight, unexpected circumstances like furloughs, job losses, and business closings have made goals like buying a house or taking an early retirement seem no longer within our control.

    There is, however, something we can control during these and other uncertain times: our money. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

    • Budget. Budgeting has always been the key to successful financial management; however, during the pandemic when you may have experienced a loss of income, it's absolutely critical. Take some time to review your expenses and look for ways to reduce them. Our online financial management tool, Southern heritage barbecue dublin georgia Money, can help your set a budget and track your spending. 
    • Build emergency savings. Life has always been unpredictable – even before COVID-19. We can never predict when we might encounter an unexpected expense or life event, like illness or job loss. The best way to financially prepare for the unexpected is to have kansas unemployment bank of america debit card emergency fund. Saving even a few dollars a pay period can add up and give you the peace of mind you need.
    • Reduce credit card debt. Debt has unfortunately become a part of our lives. According to USA Today, the average American has over $6,200 in credit card debt. If you're among them, you'll want to focus on paying down that debt. To accomplish that, review the interest rates and balances you have and start paying down higher-interest debt first. Also, be sure to pay more than the minimum payment due to reduce interest fees. You may also want to look into consolidating credit card debt with a balance transfer offer.
    • Look at other options for reducing other debt. If anything positive has come out of the pandemic, it's lower interest rates. That means now could be a good time to refinance your mortgage or to refinance higher-interest student loan debt.
    • Maintain good credit. The need to maintain strong credit will never change. Be sure to pay all your bills on time and to avoid using credit cards to pay for things you can't afford. If you're having difficulty making payments, notify your creditors immediately to work out payment plans.

    In challenging times, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose our focus, however, staying focused on your finances can help make your life a little more manageable – and get you back on track to meet those goals you had planned.

     

    Adding Others to Your Accounts: Federal pension benefit guaranty corporation the Risks

    People often wonder about whether or how to add someone else, usually a relative, to a bank account. These decisions are not to be taken lightly. While we can't advise you on how to share your money or your accounts, we can give you guidance about the implications of adding names onto deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes and loans.

    Adding co-owners to a deposit account vs. alternative arrangements. Under FDIC rules, a joint account is a deposit account owned by two or more people who have equal rights to withdraw 100 percent of the deposits and to close the account.

    In addition, each co-owner is insured for up to $250,000 for his or her share in all joint accounts at an insured bank. If you want to add co-owners mainly for convenience purposes or to access funds in an emergency, you will need to carefully consider how limits on withdrawal rights could affect your insurance coverage.

    A power of attorney may also be used way to give someone limited access to a deposit account on an as‐needed basis without granting ownership rights. Please consult an attorney to discuss this option.

    Allowing others to access your Online Banking accounts. Granting someone access to your accounts online is essentially the same as adding them as an authorized signer of your account. Through Online Banking they would have the ability to make internal and external (Bank to Bank) transfers, schedule bill payments and more. You should be careful who you give this access to, and only do so when necessary.

    Giving others access to your safe deposit box. The rules and procedures for safe deposit boxes can vary by state and frost bank altamesa hours bank, so ask your bank about the options for granting someone access and what you would have to do if you later change your mind. Remember, this person could take anything out of the box without your approval.

    Adding co-owners vs. "authorized users" to a credit card account. A co-owner is financially responsible for all debt incurred, including any charges by an authorized user. Depending on the cardholder agreement, authorized users may or may not be financially responsible for any debt on the card. A card owner also may be able to place restrictions on authorized users, such as limits on amounts that can be charged.

    Think carefully before you co-sign a loan. It’s important to keep in mind that you will have to pay the debt if the co-signer does not. You may also have to pay late fees and collection costs, which increase the debt amount. Your credit rating could also be affected if this person fails to pay or pays late.

    For additional guidance about adding names to accounts, consider consulting an attorney, your banker or another advisor.

    Information for this article was provided by FDIC Consumer News.

     

    Labor Day

    All KS StateBank branches and offices will be closed on Monday, September 7 in observance of Labor Day. We will reopen at our regular times on Tuesday, September 8. Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

     


     

    August 2020

    Protect Yourself from Unemployment Fraud

    Identity thieves are always looking for ways to defraud unsuspecting and innocent victims. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has provided the perfect opportunity. Fraudsters have capitalized on the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic in a variety of unscrupulous what is the capital of arkansas. They've even gone so far as to steal unemployment benefits.

    According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there's a large-scale national scam whereby criminals, believed to be based overseas, are using the names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs to file fraudulent claims. It's estimated that tens of thousands of unsuspecting people have already been victimized.

    What to do if you've been a victim of unemployment fraud If you're a victim of unemployment fraud, you may not even be aware of it until you receive a notice from your state's employment office or from your employer. If that should happen, there are some important steps you need to take:

    • Inform your employer. Whether it's your current or former employer, they need to know that a fraudulent claim has been made on your behalf.
    • Contact your state's unemployment office. Many states provide the opportunity to notify them kansas unemployment bank of america debit card a fraudulent claim online. Be sure to keep a copy of any documentation you receive. If you speak with anyone, keep a record of who you spoke with and when.
    • File a report with your local police department. Get a copy of the report so that you have it on record that your identity may have been compromised.
    • Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to put a freeze on your credit. Such a freeze will ensure that no new credit accounts can be opened in your name. The contact information for the three credit bureaus is as follows:

        Experian: 1-888 397 3742 or Experian.com     Equifax: 1-800-349-9960 or Equifax.com     TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872 or TransUnion.com

        You can also have one of the credit bureaus place a free one-year fraud alert on your credit.

    • Review your credit report regularly. You are entitled to one free copy a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
    • Track account activity. With tools like Online and Mobile Banking, you can monitor all your account activity any time. If you notice any unauthorized transactions, notify us immediately.

    For more information on ways to protect yourself from identity theft, visit the government's ID theft website.

     

    Pros and Cons of Listing Your Home for Sale During the COVID Outbreak

    This is a popular time of year for homeowners to list their homes for sale. However, given the health crisis (and financial crisis for many), you may be wondering if it's still a good idea to sell your home. What are the pros and possible pitfalls of selling your home during the COVID outbreak? Here are two sides to that coin.

    Pros of Selling Your Home Mortgage rates are currently competitive, and many experts believe they'll hover synchrony bank payment contact the low end of the spectrum. With rates so low, and the uncertainty of when they will rise again, homebuyers will be looking to capitalize on this opportunity. This puts your listing in a great position, and finding a buyer despite the challenges should still be easy. Looking at it from a mortgage rate perspective, it's a green light for selling your home this spring.

    There's talk that we are heading towards a recession and for a good reason: COVID-19. However, we are not currently in that position, so that means that consumers are likely still feeling confident about making large purchases. Once the economy turns in three, six, or 12 months from now, homebuyer's attitudes are likely to change. Listing your what information do i need to open a bank account during a recession could mean you will get less than the asking price you want.

    Cons of Selling Your Home On the other hand, there's good reason to wait on listing your kansas unemployment bank of america debit card for now. With the nation practicing heighten caution for personal health and the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to socially distance to minimize exposure to germs, having people come to your home for a showing may not be the best idea.

    Fortunately, there are alternatives to having a traditional open house. Virtual showcases were already popular, and many real estate agents offer this feature. Another option is to vacate the home while your real estate agent shows it to a prospective buyer. But that is not always feasible and may not be something that all the participants are comfortable with.

    Without a doubt, selling a home given our current circumstances is challenging, and unlike any other real estate environment we've experienced before. However, much like other markets, home buying and selling are always occurring.

    If you decide to put your home on the market, contact a KS StateBank Mortgage Loan Originator* to help purchase your next home.

    *KS StateBank Welcome to Card Activation

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    The quickest way to activate your personal credit card is with your Online Banking ID and Passcode. We’ll confirm your identity, verify your card and get you on your way.

    Maryland UI Benefit Card – Home Page

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