Veterans: Beware Shady Pension Schemes

 

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Veterans and their families are a target for some dishonest advisers who are claiming to offer free help with paperwork for pension claims.

The scheme involves attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents trying to persuade veterans over 65 to make decisions about their pensions without giving them the whole truth about the long-term consequences.

 Victory State Bank would like to provide the following guide on understanding your benefits:

Navigating the process:

    • It is free to apply for veterans’ benefits. If you’re completing the application yourself, don’t pay for forms. If someone is helping you, know that the people who are accredited through the VA are notallowed to charge you to help you complete and submit VA paperwork.
    • Check for accreditation and licensing. Confirm that the person helping you is accredited through the VA. That means they’re trained to help with completing and submitting claims to the VA; it doesn’t mean the VA endorses the person’s products, advice, or ethics. Look into the licensing and professional status of the person helping you:
      • For insurance agents:If you are considering buying an annuity, check with yourstate insurance regulatorto confirm that the seller is licensed.
      • For lawyers: Check withyour state Bar Associationto see if the lawyer is licensed in your state and whether there are ethical complaints on file.
      •  For financial planners: Anyone can call themselves a financial planner, but someone using the designation Certified Financial Planner must meet certain professional and ethical standards of theCertified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Determine whether an adviser is certified and whether any disciplinary actions have been taken or are on file. TheNational Association of Personal Financial Advisorscan give you a list of planners that you pay directly (fee-for-service) rather than by commission on your purchases.
    • Know what’s in a name.The words “veterans” or “military families” in an organization’s name don’t necessarily mean that the group represents the best interests of veterans or their families. Some so-called advisers are dishonest and mislead veterans and their families to believe that they are veterans’ advocates representing a nonprofit or that they’re endorsed by VA.
    • Feel fine about responding with a fast no -- or taking plenty of time to get to yes.Check out an organization before you give it any money or do business with it in any way. Some deceptive advisers use names, seals, and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations. You may see a small difference in the name of the organization from the one you mean to deal with: that’s your signal to call the organization you know to be legitimate and ask it a lot of questions.
    • Consider any pressure to act fast as your cue to say no.If you decide to attend a presentation about veterans’ benefits, don’t spend any money until you’ve had time to think about the options, and play out as many potential scenarios as you can imagine. If the salesperson is giving you vague or evasive answers, walk away. This is not a person you want to trust with your money, your benefits, or your future.
    • You get to decide how to spend your money.Read all the papers and the contract carefully. Understand all the terms, conditions, and implications of what you are being asked to do. Get everything you discussed in writing. If something isn’t clear to you, ask for an explanation in writing. Take your time to review and consider all your options, including doing nothing. Discuss the possibilities with a trusted friend or family member. For instance, before an annuity contract is final, you get a “free look” period. How long the period lasts depends on state law. This is your chance to decide you don’t want the annuity, return the contract, and get your money back.
    • Guarantees, schmarantees: There aren’t any.If an adviser guarantees or promises that they can help you get A&A benefits, forget about it. No one can promise that the VA will award you a benefit – even someone who claims to be VA-approved or accredited. Only the VA can do that

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718 682 1509

http://www.RelevantPR.com

Mobile: 917 715 8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  

Victory State Bank Highlights Ways to Deal With Job Loss

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Losing a job is stressful, plain and simple. Looking for a new one is no easy task either, especially if you worry about how to pay the bills. But take a deep breath. Here are some tips to help you get back on your feet professionally and financially.

    • Look to your employer for help. Your company may offer a range of services, from workshops to retooling your resume to classes on how to look for jobs.
    • Contact yourState Unemployment Insurance Office for information about applying for unemployment insurance benefits in your state.
    • Make a budget. Add up your monthly expenses and create a survival budget to get a sense of how long your savings can keep you afloat. Look for expenses you may be able to eliminate.
    • Consider your health care options. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA, allows people who lose their jobs to buy health insurance at a group rate for a limited time. COBRA can be expensive. If you're relatively healthy and don't have chronic conditions, a bare-bones major medical plan may save you money while still protecting you from catastrophic emergencies. VisitHealthCare.govto learn more.
    • Contact your creditors. They may be willing to discuss some type of minimum payment. They’re much more likely to be reasonable with you if you tell them your situation upfront, rather than waiting for them to contact you after you’ve missed a payment. 
    • Order a free copy of your credit report. It has information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies and other businesses that providebackground informationsell your file to potential employers that, in turn, use it to evaluate your applications for jobs. It’s a good idea to dispute inaccurate information in your report so it can be corrected before your next job interview comes along.
    • Form a network.Networkingis about building relationships and is a key part of job hunting. All it means is talking to others — either formally or informally — about your job search and career goals.
    • Join a professional, business, civic, or some other kind of association or club.  It can be a good way to learn about trends and unadvertised jobs.  Members often know employers with open positions. Association and club listings can be found online or at your local library.
    • Be wary ofjob scams. It’s tough enough to find a job without scammers trying to take advantage. During your job search, you may see ads for job placement firms that promise results. Unfortunately, some firms misrepresent their services, promote nonexistent vacancies, or charge high fees in advance for services that don’t guarantee placement.

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718 682 1509

http://www.RelevantPR.com

Mobile: 917 715 8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  

Learn The Difference Between Legitimate and Bogus Multilevel Marketing Opportunities

 

 

Staten Island only community-based commercial bank points to dangers of pyramid schemes

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In multilevel or network marketing, individuals sell products to the public — often by word of mouth and direct sales. Typically, distributors earn commissions, not only for their own sales, but also for sales made by the people they recruit.

Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It's a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.

If you’re considering buying into a multilevel marketing plan, get the details.

The federal government recommends that you find — and study — the company’s track record.

Do an Internet search with the name of the company and words like review, scam or complaint. Look through several pages of search results. You also may want to look for articles about the company in newspapers, magazines, or online.

 Find out:

    • How long the company has been in business
    • Whether it has a positive reputation for customer satisfaction
    • What the buzz is about the company and its product on blogs and websites
    • Whether the company has been sued for deceptive business practices

Check with your state Attorney General for complaints about any company you’re considering, although a lack of complaints doesn’t guarantee that a company is legitimate.

 

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718 682 1509

http://www.RelevantPR.com

Mobile: 917 715 8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  

How To Protect Your Personal Information Secure

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft.

There are four main ways to do it: Know who you share information with; store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security number; ask questions before deciding to share your personal information; and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.

Be Alert to Impersonators

Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with.

If a company that claims to have an account with you sends email asking for personal information, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site, and contact them through customer service.

Or, call the customer service number listed on your account statement. Ask whether the company really sent a request.

Safely Dispose of Personal Information

Before you dispose of a computer, get rid of all the personal information it stores. Use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive.

Before you dispose of a mobile device, check your owner’s manual, the service provider’s website, or the device manufacturer’s website for information on how to delete information permanently, and how to save or transfer information to a new device.

Remove the memory or subscriber identity module (SIM) card from a mobile device. Remove the phone book, lists of calls made and received, voicemails, messages sent and received, organizer folders, web search history, and photos.

Encrypt Your Data

Keep your browser secure. To guard your online transactions, use encryption software that scrambles information you send over the internet.

A “lock” icon on the status bar of your internet browser means your information will be safe when it’s transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.

Keep Passwords Private

Use strong passwords with your laptop, credit, bank, and other accounts. Be creative: think of a special phrase and use the first letter of each word as your password. Substitute numbers for some words or letters.

 For example, “I want to see the Pacific Ocean” could become 1W2CtPo.

Don’t Overshare on Social Networking Sites

If you post too much information about yourself, an identity thief can find information about your life, use it to answer ‘challenge’ questions on your accounts, and get access to your money and personal information. Consider limiting access to your networking page to a small group of people.

Never post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or account numbers in publicly accessible sites.

 

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718 682 1509

http://www.RelevantPR.com

Mobile: 917 715 8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Beware Phone Calls From Bogus Computer Tech

 Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank warns

 

 of  high-pressure scam artists

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In a recent twist, scam artists are using the phone to try to break into your computer. They call, claiming to be computer techs associated with well-known companies like Microsoft.

They say that they’ve detected viruses or other malware on your computer to trick you into giving them remote access or paying for software you don’t need.

If you get a call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself on a phone number you know to be genuine. A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.

Keep these other tips in mind:

    • $1Don’t give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue.
    • $1Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
    • $1Online search results might not be the best way to find technical support or get a company’s contact information. Scammers sometimes place online ads to convince you to call them. They pay to boost their ranking in search results so their websites and phone numbers appear above those of legitimate companies. If you want tech support, look for a company’s contact information on their software package or on your receipt.
    • $1Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.
    • $1If a caller pressures you to buy a computer security product or says there is a subscription fee associated with the call, hang up. If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
    • $1Never give your password on the phone. No legitimate organization calls you and asks for your password.

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718 682 1509

http://www.RelevantPR.com

Mobile: 917 715 8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.