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8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2016, there were 15.4 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Research. First Security recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

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Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer named chair of the Iowa Bankers Association

Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer, president and CEO of First Security Bank & Trust in Charles City, has been elected chair of the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA) for 2017-2018. Herbrechtsmeyer began his term as chair during the IBA Annual Convention, September 17-19 in Des Moines.

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Payments to Clear Faster

Changes in the rules for Automated Clearing House (ACH) credits and debits will go into effect September 15, 2017. Once these changes begin, virtually all types of electronic payments for both credits and debits may be processed on the same day that they are originated. This will speed up the payment system, which is a great benefit when you are receiving a payment. However, this also means that when you are making a payment, it will now clear faster.

Read more for examples of same day payments.

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Automate Your Financial Life

8 easy ways to get more out of your money in less time 

Doing more in less time; you know that's how technology can help you work smarter. But do you realize you can use it to bank smarter, too — and get more out of your money in a lot less time?

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Learning to Live with an Empty Nest

The television commercials make it look so easy; parents tearfully wave goodbye as their child sets off on their journey to college. Then, when the child is out of sight, those same parents excitedly race off to transform the child's room into a playroom or reading retreat.

That's the scripted version. The reality is quite different. 

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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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