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U.S. runs out of investor visas as Chinese overwhelm program

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 10:27 pm

The United States has exhausted its annual supply of EB-5 immigrant investor visas for the first time in the program's history following a surge of applications from Chinese nationals.

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  • What Should You Do If Your Email Account is Hacked?

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    We have seen an increased number of customers who have had their email accounts hacked…in other words someone has gained unauthorized access to an email account and may attempt to commit fraud using your email account.

    Signs that your email account might be hacked:

    • You cannot get logged into your email account and/or not able to reset your password.
    • Your friends report to you that they are getting strange or large numbers of email from you.
    • Your inbox is full of message failure notices that you didn’t send.
    • There are messages in your Sent, Draft or Outbox folders that you don’t recognize.
    • Your email signature lines have changed…look for additional links and odd phone numbers listed.
    • Your contact list has been deleted and/or there are contacts you don’t recognize.
    • You’re not getting any email messages at all.

    What to do if you suspect your email account is hacked:

    • Change your password…if you are unable to do so call your email provider immediately…be prepared to supply additional verification to them on who you are.
    • Notify folks in your address book to be on the lookout for spam and phishing type emails from you.
    • Notify your bank immediately that your email account has been compromised so they can be on the lookout for fraudulent account transaction requests…do this even if you don’t bank via the Internet.
    • Consider closing the email account out and establishing a new email address.
    • Consider having a backup email account that you don’t publish to anyone in order to have a means to communicate via email and some providers offer password recovery services to backup primary email accounts.

    Steps to protecting your email account:

    • Frequently (at least every 90 days) change your email account password.
    • Do not store any passwords in email especially passwords to Internet banking.
    • Do not store account numbers or account statements in email folders.  Store them offline on your computer and back them up preferably to a separate disk drive.
    • Review your bank accounts activity online at least weekly looking for suspicious transactions.
    • Empty the trash folder when you close email.
    • Do not click on links inside of an email from an unknown source.
    • Make sure your computers have virus/malware detection/removal software that is updated frequently.
      (Many times your Internet Service Provider provides these tools free of charge.)
    • Remember that if something in an email sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
    • Only share your email with friends on social media sites making sure that it’s not visible to everyone on your public profile.

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

  • I'm a Baby Boomer & Change is Hard.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    I asked several friends, both FaceBook and non-FaceBookers, if they use electronic banking, bill pay, &/or electronic bank statements.  Many of the FaceBookers do – not surprising.  Some of my other friends don’t, and a few suggested they worry about having identity stolen or a lack of ‘trust’ for the internet. 

    Is the security of hard copy checks, in-store credit or debit purchases, and mail better?  I wonder if my friends use their debit/credit cards in stores, where others have access to them.   The only times I have had anything manipulated or stolen, was in a restaurant where a shady waitress evidently swiped my credit card twice, and had a nice meal.  The credit card company took that charge off when I called them – they were accommodating.   The second time, someone may have looked over my shoulder while I was shopping in Chicago.  The bank evidently electronically noticed that my card number was trying to be used in a fraudulent manner, called me (I had just walked in the door from the Chicago trip), and together we blocked the charge, and the bank closed down that credit card, and reissued me a new number.  That was a really proactive, positive example of my community bank in action. 

    So my ‘bad’ experiences toward fraud or identity theft have been out there in retail establishments, rather than via the internet.  Do I use my credit card electronically for internet purchases?  Just ask my poor husband.  You bet I do - for everything from airline tickets to concert tickets, shoes, purses and crafting supplies.  We use one credit card for online purchases, and I reconcile that bill every month, just before I pay it through my bank’s electronic bill pay feature. 

    One of my best friends from college, Nancy, says she likes her bank statements mailed ‘just in case.’  Just in case of what?  What if your mail is stolen from your mailbox?  What if your mailman is Newman (from the Seinfeld show) and chucks his bag full of mail out a window, along with your bank statement?  Some identity theft comes from ‘dumpster diving’ criminals who access  paper records from the trash as well as stealing mail from mailboxes, looking over shoulders at the ATM or in a retail establishment.

    Nancy told me that she has those “annoying to-be-filed piles” of paper in her home.  She also wrote that one of her children’s schools is ‘paperless’ and she loves it – “I can always find what I need on my Blackberry.”  Her other children’s school is not paperless, and she “constantly has papers coming home and I’m going through their binder to find what I need.”  Nancy’s last sentence sums it up, “Hmmmm.”

    The dilemma Baby Boomers are experiencing is being born on the tail end of a paper-filled society and the infancy of the internet.  Change.  It’s hard.

  • What Does Memorial Day Mean to You?

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Memorial Day is one of those holidays that mean different things to different people.  To some it is the time to remember those that have given their lives to serve our country. To others, it’s a time to remember those we love who have passed on.  To most of us, though, Memorial Day weekend is a long weekend and one that indicates the beginning of summer.  Whatever reason you celebrate this holiday, it’s a good time of year to think of your financial health and future plans.

    As you water-ski, you might not be thinking about your 401K or the bank CD in which you have invested.  But half way through the calendar year is a good time to make an appointment with someone that can give you a “check-up” on your money and how it is working for you. 

    Here is a short checklist of things to take with you as you discuss your financial future:

    • Bank Statements- Your financial advisor will need to see your total financial picture to give you advice that is best for you.
    • Other investment statements- Again, a total picture will help your trusted advisor give you the best advice.
    • Detailed plans on your future. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years? Is your money helping you reach those checkpoints?

    What does that last one mean? Have you ever tried to reach a destination without directions? It’s not easy. Similarly, your financial goals need a compass and the compass is you.   It’s important to think about and discuss your future.  Most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their retirement.  So, if you want to retire in 10 years or in 30, your advisor will need to know that so they can design a plan that works for you. 

    Memorial Day weekend is certainly a fun weekend, but can also be a profitable one if you use it as a milestone towards your financial future!  

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