This is the final post in a five-part, monthly series about keeping personal information secure.
Smartphones and tablets are among the most sought-after targets of criminals. While the physical devices can be resold for profit, the personal information stored on those devices is much more valuable – and damaging to the device owner. According to McAfee, the amount of malware detected on these devices in 2012 was 44 times higher than 2011 as new mobile malware is unleashed by criminals every day.
Wireless internet connections that make these devices so convenient can open the door for cyber criminals to access your email and social media accounts, financial information and other sensitive data that can be used for spam, phishing, malware distribution and hacking.
Wired networks that use a cable to connect to the internet are more secure, but having a portable device constantly connected to a wire defeats the purpose of having a wireless device. A virtual private network, or VPN, which provides access to a private network across a public network, also offers more security and is very popular with organizations that employ a mobile workforce.
There are simple steps you can take to use your personal, portable devices more securely.
One of my favorite aspects of the Holiday Season is the opportunity that it presents for each of us to take a few moments and reflect on the past year and also give thanks for the relationships that we value.
The same holds true here at Financial Resources where the relationships that we value most are with you our members. As always, we continue to focus on meeting all of your needs for financial products and services by offering extremely competitive rates on loans, the best tools in banking, such as our fully featured mobile banking, not to mention timely tips and information here on our blog.
It is our commitment to being your lifelong financial partner, so no matter what stage of life you are in – whether saving your first dollar or making retirement plans – we’re with you every step of the way.
On behalf of everyone here at Financial Resources, I wish you, your colleagues and families all the best this Holiday Season. We are truly grateful for all of our members and we thank you for making us your Financial Institution of choice.
It’s easy to say you’ll be much better off financially if you set a budget, save more money, lower your debt and figure out how to make more money. That’s like saying you’ll be in better physical condition if you exercise and eat a healthy diet. In both cases, it’s easier said than done.
There is no silver bullet to improving your financial footing, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a certain mindset and discipline that says, “I want to build a better future for myself and my family, and I’m willing to make the necessary changes to build that future.” Here are eight simple ways to improve your finances in 2014.
1) Set Goals
How will you know if you’ve improved your finances if you don’t set clear goals? Putting concrete goals on paper is much more effective than simply saying, “I want to reduce my credit card debt.” If you want to reduce your debt or save more money for retirement, set firm monthly and yearly goals based on income and expenses. Just make sure your goals are substantial enough to make a difference but realistic enough to attain.
A survey conducted by Accenture in September found that Americans will spend an average of $646 on gifts this holiday season. 47 percent will make holiday purchases on their desktop computers or laptops. 19 percent will use their tablets to buy or research products, while 18 percent will do the same on their smartphones.
Cyber Monday, the king of all online shopping days, saw sales jump 30 percent in 2012, according to IBM. Not surprisingly, retailers can’t wait for December 2, 2013.
Regardless of what kind of computer or mobile device you choose, more of you are shopping online than ever. You may even finish your holiday shopping without setting foot in a store. But are you saving as much money as you could be? Here are seven ways to save money when shopping online for the holidays.
Income may have risen 72 percent during the past decade, but personal debt has far outpaced that growth, increasing by a staggering 123 percent during the same time period. This has led to a significant spike in credit card debt in our country.
In fact, according to CreditCards.com, the average American household with at least one credit card had almost $16,000 in credit card debt in 2012, with interest rates hovering in the mid-to-high teens. Another study found that the average American now has $8,523 in credit card debt.
With growing debt come anxiety, uncertainty and shaky decision-making, and debt devolves into a full-blown credit card crisis. This makes it extremely difficult to qualify for a mortgage, auto financing, college financial aid and other types of loans. It can also make it tough to get a job in many cases. Here are five clear signs that you could be in a credit card crisis.
This is the fourth post in a five-part, monthly series about keeping personal information secure.
According to Pew Internet Project research, 72 percent of online adults are using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ as of May 2013. That’s an increase of 800 percent since 2005. Facebook alone has more than 1 billion users worldwide.
It’s safe to say that social media is part of everyday life for most of us. We use social media to stay connected with family, friends and business associates – people we trust. Cyber criminals and scammers are looking to take advantage of that trust on a daily basis, using social media sites to:
Americans typically waste nearly 25 percent of all food prepared for Thanksgiving. Can you afford to waste 25 percent of anything these days?
We would never suggest ditching the turkey to save a few bucks on Thanksgiving. At the same time, you shouldn’t feel obligated to serve all of the same traditional side dishes and desserts that the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native Americans did nearly 400 years ago.
Here are some tips that can help you save money when you host this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
Get your turkey at the supermarket. You may have heard of heritage turkeys – those turkeys that have the characteristics and lifespan of traditional, wild turkeys as well as excellent texture and flavor. They also cost about $10 per pound compared to $2 per pound for supermarket birds.
It’s already been a year since Super Storm Sandy brought so much devastation to so many families and businesses. It was at this time last year that we were only focused on being responsive to our members and their families so they didn’t have to worry about their banking. Our Emergency Assistance Loans were designed specifically for members in any area impacted by the storm and we also offered members refunds on account overdrafts and foreign ATM transactions during that period.
Even though that crisis has passed for most of us, we at Financial Resources are here for our members and our community more than ever. We do that by keeping you informed on issues like Identity Theft, how to save on energy costs, and tips on how to make the car buying process less stressful and by giving back to the communities that support us.
The average American will hold 10-12 jobs in their lifetime and switch careers at least three times, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This should be expected. After all, the job you have at age 25 probably won’t suit you at age 45 or even 35.
You have a lot to think about when you’re switching jobs – a new salary, new health benefits, a new commute, new hours, a new boss, new co-workers, a new work environment and new company policies. Maybe you have to buy a whole new wardrobe. If you’re changing careers or starting your own business, that brings an entirely new list of factors to consider.
Financially, you’ll probably need to update your budget at home based on your new salary. Because nothing in life is guaranteed, you should try to reduce debt as much as possible and make sure you have an emergency fund in place.
This is the third in a four-part, monthly series about keeping personal information secure.
The internet has been labeled by many as a worldwide marketplace for fraud, scams and deception. When you look at the statistics – or your email inbox – that label seems to make sense. In 2012, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received nearly 290,000 complaints with an adjusted dollar loss of more than $525 million – an increase of 8.3 percent from 2011. The average reported dollar loss was more than $4,500. New Jersey had the fifth highest number of complaints in the nation. Fraud occurs when someone cheats you out of money or other valuables. The internet is the ideal place for fraud because criminals can virtually target a limitless number of people while hiding their own identity. Here are some of the most common forms of online fraud:
Online auctions. This can involve a buyer or a seller. A fraudulent buyer will buy an item, pay for it via PayPal, and then claim they never received it in order to receive a refund. A fraudulent seller will sell something or create a fake auction with an item that doesn’t exist, collect the money and never ship the item.
“Nigerian Prince” scams. The fraudster claims to be a foreign dignitary who requests assistance with depositing millions of dollars into a secure American bank account and promises to share the money with the victim. The victim is then forced to pay fees or even coerced into bribing officials – with his or her own money – and never gets anything in return.
Intimidation. Someone may claim to represent the federal government, use malware to freeze your computer and then demand your private information. They also might try to convince you that your computer has been infected with a virus, and the only way to fix it is to purchase their special software.
High-pressure sales pitches. Offers expire within hours because criminals want you to make rushed decisions without thinking things through.
Phony credit card offers
Fake prescription drug coverage
You can learn about the latest types of internet fraud at the IC3 website (www.ic3.gov) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange website (www.sec.gov). If you think you’ve been the target or victim of internet fraud, file a complaint with the IC3 immediately. Your best defenses against internet fraud are common sense and skepticism. Question everything, take your time before deciding whether or not to respond, and remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”