Consumer Tips

Establishing Good Savings Habits

  • Pay Yourself First. If you wait to see what’s left over, you are less likely to save. Determine in advance how much money you plan to save each month. If you receive a raise, increase the amount of money deposited into your savings account.
  • Take Advantage of Bank Technology. Consider automatic payroll deductions or automatic transfers from checking to savings. Arrange to have a specific amount transferred to your savings account every pay period.
  • Pay Your Bills on Time and Pay More than the Minimum Amount. Although 97% of Americans pay their bills on time, some consumers find themselves paying late fees. Alleviate the hassle by scheduling time once a month to pay bills, and put them in the mail with enough time to get to the creditor.
  • Determine Needs Versus Wants. Do you need to eat out every day for lunch? Do you need that gourmet cup of coffee in the morning? By bringing your lunch to work a couple days a week, you can save hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Shop Around. There are thousands of options for financial services products. Be selective, and get the best prices, services, convenient locations and lowest fees for credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages and certificates of deposit.
  • Consult Your Local Bank. Ask any of our knowledgeable, professional customer service staff at any of our bank offices in Medford, Phillips, Marshfield, Owen or Wausau about our bank products and services that would best suit your needs.

Fraud Caution Just a reminder to be on your guard for telephone or internet offers that are “too good to be true”. Every consumer should be suspicious of phone calls or emails that ask you for your bank account, credit card, passwords or social security numbers. A bank will never ask for a customer’s account information over the telephone or internet.

Don’t Fall for Fake Check Scams

If someone you don’t know wants to pay you by check but wants you to wire some of the money back, beware! It’s a scam that could cost you thousands of dollars.

How do fake check scams work? A scam can start with someone offering to:

  • Buy something you advertised for sale
  • Pay you to work at home
  • Give you an “advance” on a sweepstakes you’ve won
  • Give you the first installment on the millions you’ll receive for agreeing to transfer money in a foreign country to your bank account for safekeeping.

Can my bank tell if the check or money order is good or not when I deposit it?

These fakes look so real that even bank tellers may be fooled. Under federal law, banks must make the funds you deposit available quickly. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good. Forgeries can take weeks to be discovered.

If the check or money order turns out to be fake, isn’t that the bank’s problem?

You are responsible for the checks and money orders you deposit. You are in the best position to determine how risky the transaction is because you are the one dealing directly with the person who is arranging for the payment to be sent to you. When a check or money order bounces, you owe the bank the money you deposited, and banks will always require you to pay it promptly.

How do these scammers find their victims?

These scammers scan newspapers and online advertisements for people listing items for sale, check postings on online job sites from people seeking employment, place their own ads for people to contact them or they call, send email or faxes to people randomly, knowing that some will take the bait.

How can I protect myself from fake check scams?

There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back – that is a clear sign that it’s a scam. If you think someone is trying to pull a fake check scam, don’t deposit it – report it! Contact your bank or local police department.

 

For more resources, services, and up-to-date information on identity theft, visit www.idtheftinfo.org

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