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Avon fined for bribing Chinese officials with Gucci bags

Thursday, December 18, 2014 11:57 pm

Beauty goods company Avon has been fined $135 million by the SEC for bribing Chinese officials with luxury goods -- everything from Gucci bags to Tiffany pens.

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  • Using Social Media? Protect Yourself Against Fraud.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Social media is great! We love to post our pictures, chat with friends and connect with companies and people with which we may have lost touch. However, we need to make sure that what we put on social media doesn't affect our security.

    I'm sure you're asking me, "how could this happen?" Let me give you a hypothetical example.

    Mary Jones has accounts at her local bank. She loves her online banking and bill pay for its convenience. Mary is a busy mother who doesn't have time to write checks and send in payments. Her local bank, who is very security minded, makes Mary set up security questions on her account so they can verify if Mary is the one accessing her account. Mary is very busy so she just does the normal security questions, mother's maiden name, etc. She doesn't want to, nor has time to think about it too much. Mary also loves social media and puts pictures of her family and pets on social media. 

    One day Mary goes online to check her balance and realizes money is missing. What happened? Did she leave her debit card somewhere? No, it's still in her purse! What happened?

    What happened is that Mary chose easy passwords and security questions/answers. A cyber thief figured out Mary's password was her dog's name. And when Mary changed her passwords as her bank advised, the thief was able to get the new one because he knew the security questions. How did he get them, you ask? Her social media account! Remember, she posted pictures of her dog and of her mother, tagging her in the photos, which shows her mother's maiden name!

    So what do you do? Get rid of your computer? Live like a hermit? No, I'm not suggesting anything that drastic. Here are a few tips:

    • When choosing or creating security questions, make them something people don't know and won't know about you. (Consider providing a different answer to the security question than what the correct answer would be.)
    • Make your passwords difficult to crack. Use letters and characters. Check and change them often. 
    • Be careful what you post on social media. Talking about your family is certainly OK, but if something you are posting is an answer to your security question, think again before you post.

    Everyone loves social media. It truly is a great tool for connecting with others. But, with just a little work, you can make it safer and help protect against fraud. 

  • Small Business - Protect Against Account Takeover

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Do you own a small business? Did you know that small business is one of the top targets for online fraud? According to Symantec's June 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report, 36 percent of all targeted attacks during the first half of 2012 were directed at businesses with 250 or fewer employees and they continue to increase at a minimum rate of 24 percent with an average of 151 targeted attacks being blocked each day during May and June.

    As a business owner you must take steps to protect yourself against online fraud such as corporate account takeover. The American Bankers Association defines corporate account takeover:

    What is Corporate Account Takeover?
    Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business' finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable.

    The American Bankers Association has created a resource for small business owners to access information about account takeover and steps to take to protect yourself and your business. Please go to the American Bankers Association website for more information regarding Corporate Account Takeover.

    Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concerns for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031 or email us at customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.  

  • Who's on First? Account Titles and Why It's Important.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    What names are on your checking account? This sounds like a pretty simple question, but you would be surprised how many people are unclear about it. If you are married, perhaps you do not have both you and your spouse on the same account. There are many reasons why this may be the case. Maybe you and your spouse have separate accounts. Perhaps when you opened the account, the other person wasn't present or maybe you have had major life changes. There can be many reasons why.

    Think back to when you opened your account one, five, 15 or more years ago. Is everything the same as it was back then? Have you revisited your account set up to ensure your account reflects the stage of life you're in now? Let's discuss why it might be important to do a quick review of your accounts. It's something that may take you a few minutes, but can be very worthwhile.

    1. Access to your money- This is the most obvious reason, but very important. Anyone named as an "owner" on an account has access to the money within it. They can write checks (on checking accounts), withdraw money, or even close the account. It is important to ensure whoever is named an "owner" on your account is someone you trust and is supposed to have access to your money.
    2. Estate Planning- If you were to pass, do you have beneficiaries named on your account? Having a beneficiary named can help with the distribution of your funds should something happen to you. Also, you may consider having an additional owner that may be able to help with bills if you are unable to do so.
    3. FDIC Insurance- FDIC Insurance coverage can vary depending on how your account is titled. Please consult your MutualBanker to see what would benefit you the most.
    4. Peace of mind- Sometimes it helps us relax if we know that in the event of something happening, expected or unexpected, our accounts are in order. It can provide peace of mind knowing there will not be a burden left on those responsible for handling your estate.

    Account titling can be something that we would be glad to help you with at your local MutualBank Financial Center. You should have an account review on at least a yearly basis to make sure your present life situation is reflected in your bank accounts. This is very important as banking becomes more dependent on electronic banking, such as mobile banking, online banking, etc. Also, as an estate planning tool, you need to be sure that your assets pass to who you want them to go to in the event of an unexpected tragedy. This is important whether you are 18 or 80!

    Let us at MutualBank help you live a better life!

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