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3 Steps to Easily Build Positive Credit While in School

As new college students across the nation head back to school, they face a new reality of financial responsibility. Living away from home comes with many temptations, but indulging too much can do serious harm to a student’s credit history.

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Could your identity weather a natural disaster?

Tornados. Floods. Wildfires.

Mother Nature’s extraordinary powers of destruction leave survivors struggling to put their lives back together.

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7 Banking Tips for Young Millennials

Once you start receiving your first paychecks after graduation, knowing how to spend or save your money wisely can be tough. While you may be able to do your banking with just a few taps on your phone, managing money well is much more complicated. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

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What You Need to Know About the Grandparent Scam

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According to the Federal Trade Commission, the agency received more than 400,000 complaints in 2016 from consumers reporting they were victims of impersonation scams. One of the most common is called the “Grandparent Scam,” which uses impersonation tactics to deliberately target and exploit older Americans.

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How to Give Your Finances a Spring Cleaning

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Ah, spring! It's the season of renewal, when we can count on longer and brighter days, the return of baseball and the urge to get the house in order. That goes for many people's financial houses as well. Spring is a good time to comb through your personal finances and ensure that you're managing your budget, credit cards, investments and insurance in the best possible way. Here's how to get started.

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Make Over Your Mortgage

Hardwood floors. Sleek new appliances. Back yard landscaping. If you own a home, chances are you have a pretty good idea about the steps you can take to improve it. But did you realize you can freshen and improve another aspect of your home? You can make over your mortgage by refinancing.Add Image

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7 Bad Financial Habits You Need to Break Right Now

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Human beings are habit-creating machines, craving any mental or physical shortcut that lets us focus on higher-level thoughts, such as what’s for lunch or developing theories about Netflix dramas.

Bad money habits are more difficult to steer out of than other automated behaviors like driving a car. Why? Financial peace of mind is a much more subtle reward than the satisfaction of navigating a half-ton piece of metal through city streets without death or injury.

Still, every person who is good at money learned good habits, which means you can, too. “What we know from lab studies is that it’s never too late to break a habit. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” told NPR.

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How to Spot Tax Identity Theft Scams

Tax season is underway, and that means your tax refund—and your identity—are in play for identity thieves out to make easy money.

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7 Tips to Avoid Fraud During Tax Season

The weeks leading up to April 15 – tax deadline day – are often vulnerable ones for consumers, as W-2s and tax returns containing their personal information circulate over the internet and through the mail.Add Image

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5 Smart Things to Do with Your Tax Return

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What's not to love about receiving money? It's why millions and millions of people play the lottery each year. And while most won't be lucky enough to win the jackpot, they may very well receive money in a far more common way — getting a tax refund.

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Spending Plan Beats Budgeting

Have you ever developed a gut-wrenching fear in the pit of your belly or a feeling of despair when you thought about creating a household budget? Consider thinking about it as a "spending plan". A budget is simply the framework for planning how to spend and save your money. Follow these simple steps to create your own spending plan.Add Image

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5 Tips for Handling Holiday Financial Stress

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If you’re like many people, the holidays cause more financial stress than any other time of year. Figuring out how to afford gifts, décor and food for the big feast is often overwhelming. You might never be able to remove all of your holiday money worries, but you can alleviate some of them. Even though your shopping list might continue to grow while your wallet shrinks, you can enjoy this season without breaking the bank. Here are five ways to survive holiday financial stress.

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Best Ways to Save at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones for a satisfying meal and kick off the holiday season. If you pay current prices for your menu items, though, you could blow a chunk of your holiday budget before you even get to the pumpkin pie.

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7 Tips to Help Older Adults Choose the Right Caregiver

According to the National Council on Aging, almost 90 percent of the financial abuse committed against older Americans are at the hands of someone they know and trust. Here are seven tips to help older Americans choose the right financialAdd Image caregiver and prevent elder financial abuse:

 

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5 ways to protect yourself from cybercrime

Cyberattacks seem to be making national news more frequently these days. And although most of the coverage focuses on large companies or government organizations being hacked, individuals often fall prey to cybercriminals as well. To help stay on top of your personal and financial security while continuing to enjoy the benefits of banking, buying and investing online, make sure to take these five precautions.

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3 Types of Identity Theft College Students Be Aware

By: Eva Velasquez

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Identity theft is one of the hardest-hitting crimes that consumers face, largely because it’s easy to pull off. Whether through old-fashioned means like dumpster-diving or stealing your driver’s license, or through more sophisticated cyber crimes like hacking into a university network, thieves can make off with your entire identity before you even know your information was compromised.

There are a lot of steps that college students can take to prevent this crime. Passcode and password locking their hardware, shredding those pesky pre-approved credit card offers, locking their dorm rooms … the list goes on. But what too many college students aren’t aware of is the wide variety of crimes that fall under identity theft.

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How to Talk to Your Kids About Money

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How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money?

If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

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Is Fall the Best Time to Buy a House?

Sometimes it's smarter to buy certain items according to the season, like sweaters near the end of winter and swimsuits in late summer. But what's the best season for buying a house? The answer: the fall. As temperatures cool and trees shed their leaves, enough factors break in the buyer's favor to make it the No. 1 season for homebuying. Here's why. Add Image

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Essential Items for a Successful Start to School

Life may be unpredictable, but there are certain things you can bank on; the sun always rises in the East and sets in the West, and the start of the school year will always come, no matter how much children may try to will it away.Add Image

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Money 'Tips' to Ignore

It's easy to ignore the misguided dating advice of elders at family gatherings, so why do we let the financial tidbits sink in?

Money advice often gets woven into humdrum conversationsAdd Image between family and friends, and it can be hard to know what to take seriously. Here are some financial “tips” to let in one ear and out the other.

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Mobile Wallet Services Protection

(Federal Communications Commission)

Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices as "mobile wallets" to pay for goods and services, downloading software that allows them to complete both mobile and in-person transactions. As the use of mobile wallet services increases, consumers need to protect their smartphones, mobile wallet applications, associated data, and mobile wallet services from theft and cyber-attacks.Add Image

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5 Vacation Scams to Avoid

Vacation is supposed to be a time to unwind. Unfortunately, there are thieves who are waiting to strike when we let our guard down. That’s why it pays to keep customers updated on the latest travel scams. Here are five all-too-common scams for customers to watch for:

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Banks Celebrate Housing Choices, American Housing Month in June

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In recognition of American Housing Month, the American Bankers Association Foundation and banks across the country are offering consumers valuable housing information throughout the month of June. The ABA Foundation will provide renters and homeowners with tips for choosing Add Imagethe right home, saving for a down payment and preparing a senior to ‘age in place.’

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Who is Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft?

Think identity theft mostly happens to older people? Or to high-income earners? The truth is that identity thieves focus their efforts wherever the opportunities are, and there are plenty of opportunities across most age groups.

Identity theft complaints are on the rise, with 16 percent of consumers filing reports, up from the previous year, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2016 Consumer Sentinel Network Databook.Add Image

Tax- or wage-related fraud was the most common reported identity-related fraud, accounting for 45 percent of consumer complaints, followed by credit card fraud and phone or utilities fraud representing 16 and 10 percent of complaints, respectively.

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7 Pointers to Help Seniors Live at Home Longer

First Security Celebrates American Housing Month with Practical Advice for ‘Aging in Place’

Add ImageThe vast majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes as they grow older, also known as aging in place.

First Securityoffers tips for those considering this option:

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Trust, Love, Password Sharing?

Trust, Love, Password Sharing?

(Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information)Add Image

A strong password is a great way to prevent hackers and identity thieves from accessing your accounts. But what if you share it with someone you know? Many teens and young adults are giving passwords to friends or loved ones as a sign of trust or love. After all, sharing is caring, right? But what might seem like a milestone in a relationship can turn out to be a very harmful decision.

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April is National Financial Literacy Month

In March 2011 President Obama issued a proclamation establishing April of each year as National Financial Literacy Month in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to estAdd Imageablish and maintain healthy financial habits.

Basically, financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage one's financial resources effectively for lifetime financial security. Taken further, it is a dynamic understanding of finances and the economy, enabling each individual to respond effectively to ever-changing personal and economic circumstances. Lois Vitt of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies (www.isfs.org) defines financial literacy somewhat more comprehensively:

"Personal financial literacy is the ability to read, analyze, manage and write about the personal financial conditions that affect material well-being. It includes the ability to discern financial choices, discuss money and financial issues without (or despite) discomfort, plan for the future, and respond competently to life events that affect every day financial decisions, including events in the general economy."

 

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Emotions Aside, How to Choose the Right Home

Emotions Aside, How to Choose the Right Home

When buying a home, it is easy to get caught up in emotions. You fall in love with the new kitchen or giant yard, but the largest purchase for most people requires some objective consideration. The best way to determine if a house has the potential to be your dream home is to visually apply your daily life to it.Add Image

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7 Ways to Automate Your Savings

7 Ways to Automate Your SavingsAdd Image

byCamilla Cheung, Wise Bread  

Sometimes, building a healthy cushion of savings can seem like a daunting task. We all know how easy it is to make a late credit card payment, or to end up spending all of your paycheck without remembering to save part of it. One easy way to get started on saving this America Saves Week is to automate your savings. Having technology work to save money for you takes much of the effort out of the equation, saves time, and makes it easier for you to achieve your goals.

 

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Valentines Day

Don't give love—and password-sharing—a bad name

Give chocolates, flowers or a new scent for Valentine’s Day. Don’t share your passwords to online accounts. It may be one way to prove your love, but it could lead to trouble, including identity theft.

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Four Simple Steps to Stop a Cyber Thief

In recognition of National Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28,

First Security is urging customers to take an active role in Add Imageprotecting their data. 

"First Security’s first priority is to protect our customers’ money and information,” said Penny Gray, Marketing Manager. “We use a combination of safeguards to protect our customers’ information, and we encourage our customers to partner with us in that effort.”

To help ensure the safety of personal information, First Security suggests following these four tips:

 

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Beat scammers to your IRS refund check

Here is the IRS’s phone number: 800-829-1040. With an anticipated $21 billion in tax refund fraud this year, you might need it. And that figure doesn’t include losses from dodges like the IRS phone scam, which has been enjoying a renaissance of late.Add Image

IRS phone frauds aren’t terribly difficult to detect. You get a call from the IRS saying you owe money and that you must pay immediately. The threat of police intervention may or may not accompany this hot and heavy approach.

Here’s the one-step method: hang up. The IRS doesn’t call asking for money yet.

Let’s say you forget the one-step method. Here are four dead giveaways that it’s a scam:

 

 

 

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How Shoppers Can Avoid Identity Theft on Cyber Monday And Beyond

The holiday season can be a frantic time for shoppers. For those that decided to forego the craziness of Black Friday, they can instead opt to shop online for Cyber Monday. This anticipated shopping event still offers discounted prices on items, but runs the same identity theft risks as Black Friday.

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12 Holiday Travel Identity Protection Tips

Identity theft doesn’t take a vacation—even when you do.Add Image

As winter sets in, the bogus offers go out: phishing emails that can unleash malware on your computer, so-called free vacations and prizes that require a credit card or Social Security number to claim, and low-cost vacation rentals that can lead to a quick gotcha.

 

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Tricks and Treats for Personal Data Security

October is a really fun month. The weather is turning, fall is in the air, and of course, there’s Halloween! But how can consumers make sure that October is full of treats, while not falling for any scammers’ tricks? By arming themselves with the facts and the resources to protect their personally identifiable information.

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With Data Under Siege, It's Time For New Attitude, New Approach To Cybersecurity

True or False? There was no way the Office of Personnel Management could have prevented hackers from stealing the sensitive personal information of 4.1 million federal employees, past and present.

If you guessed “False,” you’d be wrong. If you guessed, “True,” you’d also be wrong.

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Cyberbullying Tips for Parents and Kids

Cyberbullying can start as early as second grade, often peaks in fourth grade, and returns in the seventh and eighth grades, according to Parry Aftab, an Internet safety and privacy lawyer.

More than 85 percent of 45,000 students at North American schools admitted to being targeted in the past year, according to a survey conducted by Aftab.

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Financial Literacy Knowledge Gain

During the 2014-2015 school year, First Security Bank & Trust reached 178 area high school students with important and innovative financial education.

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Investment Tip: Talk to an Investment Professional

Sometimes it is harder to admit that we need help in life and the same is true with investments.

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Investment Tip: Always Have a Margin of Safety

Unless time traveling is invented, we’ll never know what will happen in the future. This is why it is always important to have a margin of safety in every investment you venture into.

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Investment Tip: Buy Low, Sell High

It may seem like common knowledge, but it is actually one of the hardest things to do. When there is a correction in the market, A common reaction IS to sell to stop the losses.

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Investment Tip: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Dollar Cost Averaging is a technique of buying a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment on a regular schedule, regardless of the share price.

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Investment Tip: Past Trends Often Continue

I’m sure you all have heard, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” While this is definitely true, past performances are still very good indicators of how companies may perform again in the future, or under certain market conditions.

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Investment Tip: Start Saving for College Early

One of the biggest investments parents do is for their child. With the job market becoming very competitive, a college education can give a child an advantage.

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