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Would-be giant in online house hunting has brokers scared

Friday, July 25, 2014 6:31 pm

The two biggest names in online house hunting -- Zillow and Trulia -- may be teaming up, a pairing that is making some real estate brokers nervous.

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  • Practice Safe Holiday Shopping

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    The holiday shopping season is in full swing!  Are you ready?  Do you still have lots of shopping to do?  Have you already shopped on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or all three?  Chances are that many of us still have plenty of shopping left to do before Christmas and that will be inter-mingled with work and family gatherings as well as travel both short and long trips.

    In the middle of all of this activity, it’s very important to keep track of your holiday spending habits especially when shopping online and travelling over the holidays.  Doing so will help protect your money and reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions occurring.

    Following these guidelines can make your holiday shopping and travel more financially secure:

    • Use a low limit credit card for online shopping.  Your liability is $50 on fraudulent charges using your credit card.
    • Know who you’re shopping with.  Be leery of unknown or obscure shopping websites.  Stick with well-known shopping sites from reputable retailers.
    • If it’s too good to be true…it probably is.  Don’t fall for incredibly cheap or free deals commonly seen on Facebook.
    • Look for the padlock and https on your Internet browser window.  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 and https in the address bar.
    • Make sure that computers and smart phones used for online shopping are patched with the most up to date software.
    • Try not to conduct online shopping on public WiFi networks.
    • Use anti-virus / anti-malware software on your PC and smart phones and make sure they are updated.  This can help 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 don’t wait for a mailed statement to arrive to verify online shopping activity. By the way, have you signed up for MutualBank’s online banking?  Learn how to get started.
    • Use your statements, MutualMobile or MutualBank’s Personal Online Banking to review transactions…are you signed up for eStatements yet?  Get your statements quicker via email!
    • View your cleared checks to make sure they were not altered in any way to change the payees or dollar amounts.
    • If you swipe your card, check the card reader especially on gas pumps, ATMs, and other self-service payment terminals for card skimming devices…see ABC News “Credit Card Skimming Tips To Protect Yourself” for more information.  It is simple…just lightly tug on the card reader to ensure that it’s secure before swiping your card.  A card skimming device will easily pull off as it’s usually taped or lightly glued on top of the existing card reader.  If the reader pulls off do not use the machine and report it immediately to authorities. 
    • Travelling over the holidays and planning on using your MutualBank debit card?  Make sure you Call Before You Travel to ensure uninterrupted debit card use!

    Remember that you are the best defense against online shopping fraud!  If you suspect that you have been scammed please call MutualBank Customer Support at 800-382-8031. Also please report any online fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    Have a safe and happy holiday season from MutualBank, helping you live a better life!

     

    This post is written by John Mickle, Risk Management and Compliance at MutualBank

  • A Season of Thanksgiving

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Someone I know well told me that I was a rather odd duck, both very philosophical yet entertained by some of the most mundane and simple of things (read sophomoric humor!).  It is with that premise that I ruminate on the whole season of Thanksgiving.  While some of the auspices of how it started may be left to the historian to argue, it does seem to me that we now have a holiday whose sole purpose is to cause us to reflect for a moment on those things for which we are truly thankful. 

    I have also noticed many Facebook friends are taking this period of time to express their thankfulness for various things each day apparently culminating in the holiday itself.  While I am certainly glad for this, what strikes me is the fact that we have to create a holiday to remind us to be thankful.  And so it is that I commit to a new resolution long before the New Year (a whole month!) to pause whenever I can and be in a state of thankfulness as often as possible. 

    So with that beginning, let me launch into the many things for which I am thankful.

    1. Family – I have a wonderful wife who I adore and continue to find to be the joy of my life, two daughters who are succeeding in their own careers, two dogs who show boundless joy when I get home, and of course, a brother, nieces, parents, in-laws, and others who make my life so much better.
    2. MutualBank – Wow, where to start.  A great group of people, a bank that still values its ability to focus on the community, and an ethos that is second to none.
    3. MutualBank Clients – It is because of our phenomenal clients that MutualBank gets to succeed every day.  Our clients are some of the most loyal customers that I have ever encountered and they do us proud every time they tell a friend what a great bank we are.  I am truly thankful for all of our clientele.
    4. Friends – one of my insights into how good life is runs proportional to the deep friendships that my wife and I have developed – there is a direct correlation to the two.
    5. United Way – MutualBank is a heartfelt supporter of United Way as are many of my colleagues.  Why?  Because the United Way does great work in helping others that need it most and bringing together community partners to make our hometowns better for all.  By the way, there are many other great community partners that MutualBank and its many team members support – part of our ethos of being true to our community bank philosophy.
    6. Health – yes, I’m getting older and the joints are not quite as supple, the muscles take a little longer to quit aching, and my brain doesn’t seem to remember as much (maybe because I have many decades of stuff in it now – I hope that’s it!).  In spite of that, I’m still thankful that I can move easily and can still have deep and meaningful dialogues with friends and family.  So I try not to complain about the aging process and just be thankful that I am where I am.

    That’s my list; I hope that as we conclude the year that you take a moment to write down yours.  When we approach things with an optimistic and thankful attitude, we find that the world is indeed slightly more positive and certainly more appreciative. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and way in advance, a very Happy New Year!

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