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  • Credit and Debit Card Fraud Prevention: It's More Than Knowing Where Your Card Is.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Years ago people had A credit card... one, uno.  Rarely did people carry around two, four, six, ten, twenty plus cards in their wallet or purse.  Today, people do carry that many cards and donít even realize it.  Take a look at all those card slots in your wallet. Theyíre full arenít they?  Debit cards, credit cards, discount cards, membership cards, rewards cards, gift cards, and access cards.  Iím sure there are others, but thatís just a quick look through my Card Cubby.  Yes, I said ĎCard Cubbyí. 

    I have an official organizer for all of my cards and oh yes, they are alphabetized.  Itís a great invention and I receive complements all the time on what a great idea it is.  Itís an easy way to track all of my cards and a quick way to find out if I have a gift card to a store or find my discount card in line at the supermarket.  (Everyone behind me in line probably doesn't want to wait for me to dig through my Mary Poppins purse to find that little 1x2 inch card so I can save a few dollars.) 

    Reviewing the transaction activity on your cards is just as important as knowing where your cards are.  Did you know that fraudsters can steal your card number and use it without actually having the card?  Logging into your online banking and credit card websites regularly, or at a minimum, reviewing your monthly statements can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in fraudulent charges. 

    If you carry a zero balance on your credit cards, itís still important to see if there has been any activity.  If you donít have a balance that means there is more spending money available for the fraudsters.  (If you donít recognize a merchant name, do a search online because it might be a parent company.)  It is important to contact the merchants where the fraudulent transactions are coming from and explain that they are fraudulent transactions.  Also, It is extremely important to contact your bank or credit card company to close your card.  Without closing your card and getting a replacement with a new number, fraudulent charges can continue to hit your account.

    I login to my online banking and credit card websites weekly.  Last month I had $4,000 in fraudulent charges in Texas on a credit card I rarely use and was in my possession.  WOW!  I contacted the merchants and called my credit card company right away.  Because I didnít wait to notify them, Iím not liable for the charges.  If I would have waited days, weeks, or months, I could have been liable for some or all of the $4,000.  When you notice fraud, donít wait to take action.  The longer you wait, the more time fraudsters have to take your money. (And the greater chance youíll have to pay for it.)

    Having and using these cards make our lives on-the-go easier and more convenient.  We donít have to worry about carrying cash; just swipe, earn rewards points, and go.  I couldnít live without my debit card and donít intend to stop using it any time in the future, especially with all the rewards points I earn.  And yes, I cash those points in for more gift cards to keep in my Card Cubby. 

     

    We're serious about doing all we can to protect you from debit card fraud. MutualBank customers can call 800-382-8031 to report any instances of fraud or suspicious calls.

  • Is It Time to Call in the Professionals?

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    I donít know about you, but for me, cars have become way too complicated. When I headed off to Indiana State University for my freshman year it was in a five-year old, used Ford Maverick. I really liked that car. It was bright green with a vinyl, black and white checkered bench seat in the front (which made it easier for snuggling with my girlfriend and eventual wife).

    It had a 3-speed on-the-steering-column manual-shift transmission. Every once in a while the shifter would get stuck making it impossible to move out of second gear. The solution was simple: hold down the clutch, coast to the side of the road, turn off the engine, get out, open the hood, reach in and jerk on one of the bars connecting the shifter to the transmission. This got the stick unstuck and allowed me drive on shifting through all three gears.

    That was something I figured out on my own with just an 8th grade shop class knowledge of cars. There was plenty of room under that hood. I could set a tool box in there and actually change spark plugs myself.

    Now I donít know if the Ford Iím driving today even has spark plugs. If it does, Iíd never be able to locate them in the tightly packed jumble of components under the hood let alone get my hands in far enough to put a tool on them. The transmission in my current car is both manual and automatic! How in the world does that work? If something got stuck, Iíd have to call the auto club. 

    I suppose I could learn how to work on my car but I think my life is better spending that time with my family, working in the community, and doing my job.

    There are times in our lives when itís better for us to turn to professionals. Just like me hiring a mechanic when I have car trouble, if you need legal work done, you see a lawyer; if youíre really sick, you call a doctor; and if your tax return is complicated, you hire an accountant. If youíre at a point in your life where it takes too much time, energy and special knowledge to manage your investments yourself, you should call MutualWealth Management Group.

    For most of us that time comes when we have to take full control of a retirement plan from an employer and that time may come well before you retire. When you change jobs you may have a retirement account at your old employer that probably should be rolled over to an Individual Retirement Account. Some people have retirement accounts scattered among several former employers.

    There are plenty of other situations when you should call us for professional investment help such as when you sell a business or property, inherit money, change marital status, receive a large legal or insurance settlement, or (donít laugh because it happens) win big in the lottery or at the casino.

    MutualWealth manages investments for people in personal accounts, retirement accounts, and trust accounts. Our fee is based on the value of your account; we are never paid commissions for ďsellingĒ investments. The only thing we sell is ongoing service based on your individual needs. So if youíre at the side of the road in your financial life and you donít know which bar under the hood to jerk, call MutualWealth Management Group.


    David Riggs is Vice President and Trust Investment Officer with MutualWealth Management Group.

  • Online Shopping - Safeguarding Your Account.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    When you shop online do you know where youíre shopping?  According to the National Consumers League, online shopping is #3 for overall scams and #1 for Internet scams.  That would imply that online shopping is a very risky activity.  However, there are ways you can still shop online in a safe manner.

    Following these guidelines can make your online shopping more secure:

    • Use a low limit credit card for online shopping.  Your liability is $50 on fraudulent charges using your credit card.
    • Know with whom youíre shopping.  Be leery of unknown or obscure shopping websites.
    • Stick with well-known shopping sites from reputable retailers.
    • If itís too good to be trueÖit probably is.
    • Look for the padlock.  Secure online shopping sites should use the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology for securing online transactions.  You should see a padlock icon at the bottom or top of the browser status bars that you are using.
    • Use anti-virus / anti-malware software on your PC.  This can prevent a virus infection if you happen to end up on a bogus shopping site.
    • Make sure you use online banking to check your shopping activity and donít wait for your statement to verify online shopping activity.
      (Side note: Have you signed up for MutualBankís online bankingSign Up today!)

    Remember that you are the best defense against online shopping fraud!  If you suspect that you have been scammed please call the MutualBank customer support at 800-382-8031.

    Also please report any online fraud to Internet Crime Complaint Center


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