Blog Archive

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Your Personal RV Buying Guide

 Q: It’s vacation time again. This year, we’re thinking about doing something different and buying an RV, but RV lots seem so intimidating! What do we need to know to take some of the stress off?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Feeling Stuck In Your Car Loan? Might Be Time To Shop Around!



Bills are a lot like bad weather. They’re going to come anyway, so you might as well not try to fix them, right? For some bills, that’s the case. For others, though, you can make a big difference in your monthly budget with a little legwork.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Watch For These Product Recall Scams!


When a company has to recall a product, it’s never pretty. Organizing refunds, exchanges, and other considerations for customers takes time. Meanwhile, the customers just want the product they bought to work as advertised!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Charging Your Phone In Public? Watch That Port!


Smartphones have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. Even if it’s just there in case of emergencies, having a charged cellphone can provide a serious sense of security. That’s why, when the battery meter starts to tick down, a cold sense of panic rises in your stomach.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Women’s History Month: Women In Finance


Because March is Women’s History Month, we’re taking a moment to reflect on many of the important contributions women have made to society. At CORE, we’re proud to be a part of the nationwide celebration of women.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

How To Get A Summer Job: A Guide For Students Of All Ages



Temperatures are rising, days are getting longer and kids are dying to get out of the classroom! This can only mean one thing: Summer is just around the bend. It’s time to start planning trips, summer camps, and summer jobs.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Staying Healthy During Flu Season


It seems like no one can stay healthy during this time of year. Everyone’s got a sniffle or a cough, or worse … the dreaded flu bug! These viruses have evolved over the years to be highly resistant to many of our efforts to contain them.
It may seem like we’re powerless to prevent the spread of disease. Though we can’t prevent it, we can help lower the risk of spreading it around. Here are five tips you can use to beat the flu this year!

1.) Wash your hands

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Beware Of The Fake Tax Form Scam


Tax season is a confusing time. In the midst of a paperwork blizzard, it seems that everyone needs triplicate copies of every document. It’s not unusual for someone to lose a copy of an important document and need it to be re-issued. Of course, everyone’s busy enough that no one wants to double check.

That’s exactly what scammers are counting on with a recent ploy targeting business owners and other people who prepare tax forms. In this scheme, the scammer sends an email claiming to be a hired company or someone from the IRS. They claim to be in need of duplicate copies of W-2 forms. An overworked clerk doesn’t want an earful from the boss or may fear they are out of compliance with the tax authority, so they send the forms along with little questioning.

Unfortunately, those forms contain a lot of personally identifiable information. The W-2 includes a name, an address and a Social Security number. With that information, fraudsters can open fake credit cards and apply for other loans. They can also file a fraudulent tax return in an attempt to grab a refund check. In short, your W-2 in the wrong hands can mean serious trouble.

What to do if you’re targeted
While the scam was originally directed at HR professionals and others at large corporations, scammers have broadened their net to include school districts, tribal councils, not-for-profits and small businesses.  If you prepare W-2s for employees as part of your job or as a small business owner, be on the lookout for these fake emails. Here’s the sample text from one such message:

“ATTN: Due to some complains (sic) we had concerning the W-2 mismatch, We advice (sic) you to send your 2015 filled W-2 form in (PDF) format for confirmation.”
 
Notice the strange abbreviations, the spelling and grammar errors, and the poor punctuation. All of these are signs that this is not the professional work of the IRS.

You may also get a message that looks like it’s from a boss or CEO asking for similar information. Watch for the same errors in spelling and grammar. It’s always worth confirming these requests in another message. Also look out for emails from former employees. Scammers may be relying on outdated information.

W-2 security is a pretty big deal. If someone really needs another copy, the safest option is to mail it to the address listed on the form. While email is generally a secure way to communicate, it’s not fully secure and you may not have assurance that the email is correct or uncompromised. There’s no sense taking chances with sensitive information. It’s also very unlikely that someone would need duplicate copies of ALL W-2s. Be suspicious of any such request.

If your information has been compromised
If you fear your information has been unwittingly released by your employer, don’t panic. There are three steps for minimizing the impact that this data breach can have on your life. Your first step should be a call to one of the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your account. This will force anyone who wants to issue credit in your name to verify that you’re actually the one asking for it first.

Next, order a copy of your credit report. This will show all the accounts that are open in your name. If you see anything you don’t recognize, call the company and immediately close the account. Also, review statements for the accounts you do have. Check for charges you don’t recognize. If you see any, call the issuing institution and shut down the account. Telling them there’s fraud as soon as possible will limit your liability.

Third, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.identitytheft.gov. This will create a fraud affidavit, a document certifying that fraud occurred. This will help you when it comes time to file a police report and take additional steps.

It’s also worth filing your taxes as soon as possible. If a thief tries to file a tax return using your information after you have already done so, the IRS will be alerted to the fraud and thus prevent further damage from occurring. Filing early will ensure that a complete and accurate return is available to investigators who would be looking into possible fraud.

Your Turn: What red flags do you look for to spot phishing emails or other scam messaging? How do you keep yourself safe? Share your tips in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is Unlimited Data Worth It?


Q: I’m shopping for a new phone plan for my family. Is an unlimited data plan a good option?