How To Shield Yourself From Health Care Fraud

 

Staten Island’s only community-based business bank shares advice for averting health-related scams

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Healthcare concerns and insurance costs affect all business owners, workers and consumers.

As a result, everyone needs to be on guard against scam artists who take advantage of people through a variety of healthcare or health-insurance frauds.

Victory State Bank urges everyone to learn the red flags of such frauds by familiarizing themselves with the following information from the FBI:

Health care fraud or health-insurance fraud may take a variety of guises, such as:

Medical Equipment Fraud

Equipment manufacturers offer “free” products to individuals. Insurers are then charged for products that were not needed and/or may not have been delivered.

‘Rolling Lab’ Schemes

Unnecessary and sometimes fake tests are given to individuals at health clubs, retirement homes, or shopping malls and billed to insurance companies or Medicare.

Services Not Performed

Customers or providers bill insurers for services never rendered by changing bills or submitting fake ones.

Medicare Fraud

Medicare fraud can take the form of any of the health insurance frauds described above.

Senior citizens are frequent targets of Medicare schemes, especially by medical equipment manufacturers who offer seniors free medical products in exchange for their Medicare numbers.

Because a physician has to sign a form certifying that equipment or testing is needed before Medicare pays for it, con artists fake signatures or bribe corrupt doctors to sign the forms. Once a signature is in place, the manufacturers bill Medicare for merchandise or service that was not needed or was not ordered.

Tips for protecting yourself from fraud or health insurance fraud

 

  • Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
  • Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.
  • Ask your medical providers what they will charge and what you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket.
  • Carefully review your insurer’s explanation of the benefits statement. Call your insurer and provider if you have questions.
  • Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that services of medical equipment are free.
  • Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.
  • Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.
  • Know if your physician ordered equipment for you.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Create Goals For Saving, Advises Victory State Bank

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Victory State Bank, Staten Island’s only community-based savings bank, says saving money is easier when you have specific goals in mind.

The bank echoes the advice of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), which suggests you consider how much you want to save – and why.

With these two factors in mind, it’s easier to create a plan and remain focused on your financial goals.

The FDIC provides this example: If you have a young child, ask yourself if you plan to help pay for college. Research indicates that children who have a college savings fund are more likely to go to college than those who don’t. Start by looking at "529 plans" sponsored by your state (typically with cost and tax benefits for residents) and compare them to other 529 plan options.

Learn more about college planning at www.studentaid.ed.gov/prepare-for-college.

 

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

  

   Victory State Bank President/CEO Ralph M. Branca Urges Caution When Handling Financial Transactions Online

 

Business people and consumers should remain on guard to dangers of Internet thieves, msays top executive at  Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank

  

NEW YORK -- “As the popularity of conducting banking and other financial transactions on the Internet grows, so does the threat of online fraud,” said Ralph M. Branca, president and CEO of Victory State Bank.

Victory State Bank, Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, utilizes stringent banking policies and theft-deterrenttechnologies to protect customers’ personal and financial information.

 But the Internet is vast, and so are the methods used by fraudsters seeking to trick computer users out of personal information, Branca said.

“Although online criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their tactics, business owners and consumers can better protect themselves with a few simple precautions,” he said.

Branca offered the following tips from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC):

n  If you bank online, frequently check your deposit accounts and lines of credit to spot and report errors or fraudulent transactions, just as you should with traditional banking.

n   Never give your Social Security number, credit or debit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs) or any other confidential information in response to an unsolicited e-mail, text message or phone call, no matter who the source claims to be.

n  Don't open attachments or click on links in unsolicited e-mails from anyone you don't know.

n  Watch out for sudden pop-up windows asking for personal information or warning of a virus.

n   Use a mix of security tools and procedures (anti-virus software, firewalls, ect.)

n   Beware of check scams, which often leave consumers suffering the loss.

n  Remember that using a credit card generally offers more purchase protection than a debit card or other electronic forms of online payment.

 

 

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

 

 

Use Caution When Attracted To An Online Business Opportunity, Warns Victory State Bank

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Starting an Internet business can sound like a dream: Work from home, set your own hours, be your own boss. But most Internet startups require significant investments of time and money, and many of them fail.

If you’re considering buying an Internet business opportunity, Victory State Bank wants you to know that the promise of big earnings and ideal work conditions is a pipe dream for most.

Regardless of the handful of stories you’ve read about college-age entrepreneurs turning into Internet gazillionaires, Victory State Bank is urging that you pay attention to a warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): “There’s no such thing as a sure thing.”

You may encounter pitches, says the FTC, like “Start your own Internet business;” “No experience required;” “Experts available to coach you” in a variety of places: On the Web and in e-mail offers, infomercials, classified ads, flyers, texts, telephone pitches, seminars, and direct-mail offers.

The FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, says that many of these solicitations are scams that promise more than they can possibly deliver. Often, bogus Internet opportunity sales pitches are short on details and long on high-pressure tactics to persuade you to buy before you’ve investigated the offer.

BE ON GUARD

Before you buy any business opportunity, the FTC urges you to do the following:

 

    • Consider the promotion carefully

 

    • Study any disclosure documents

 

    • Interview previous buyers in person

 

    • Do a few internet searches by entering the company name, or the name of the company’s CEO or president, and words like “complaints” or “scam.”

 

    • Consult an attorney, accountant, or other business advisor before you put any money down or sign any papers.

 

 

If it claims buyers can earn a certain income, the promoter also must give the number and percentage of previous purchasers who earned that much. If the promotion makes an earnings claim - but the additional information isn't there - the business opportunity seller may well be violating the law.

 Under the Business Opportunity Rule, which is enforced by the FTC, many business opportunity promoters are required to provide a document to potential purchasers that includes information about cancellation and refund policies, whether the seller has faced any lawsuits from purchasers or other legal actions alleging fraud, and contact information for references who have bought the opportunity.

This helps reduce the chance of being misled by phony references.

Contact the state attorney general's office, local consumer protection agency, and Better Business Bureau, both where the business opportunity promoter is based and where you live, to see if complaints are on file. While a complaint record may indicate questionable business practices, a lack of complaints doesn't necessarily mean the company – or the opportunity – is legitimate. Unscrupulous dealers often change names and locations to hide a history of complaints.

Entering into a business opportunity can be costly, so it's best to have an expert check out the contract first.

Report Possible Fraud

If you suspect a business opportunity promotion is fraudulent, report it to the attorney general's office in the state where you live and in the state where the business opportunity promoter is based. You should also report it to the FTC. File a complaint online or call toll free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

 

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

 

 

Victory State Bank Highlights Strategy For Saving

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Looking for more ways to save your money?

Finding money to put into savings can seem difficult, but there are some strategies that can make it easier. Victory State Bank, Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank, suggests you begin by considering these questions from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC):

Do I have savings goals?

Knowing how much you want to save and why can help you stick to a plan.

For example, if you have a young child, ask yourself if you plan to help pay for college. Research indicates that children who have a college savings fund are more likely to go to college than those who don’t. Start by looking at "529 plans" sponsored by your state (typically with cost and tax benefits for residents) and compare them to other 529 plan options. Learn more about college planning at www.studentaid.ed.gov/prepare-for-college.

How can I spend less?

Review how much you spent in the last month and consider ways to cut back. "Start by reviewing recurring expenses — even small ones — and determine what you might be able to cut out, downgrade, or find a better deal on elsewhere," said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC's Outreach and Program Development Section.

Also try to pay less in interest. For example, if you have multiple loans, pay off the ones with the highest interest rates first. And, regularly reviewing your credit report and correcting errors (see Refinancing Loans: Not Just for Mortgages) can result in considerable savings on loans and insurance policies. For more about saving money on loans, see Saving Money on a Mortgage, From Start to Finish and Refinancing Loans: Not Just for Mortgages.

Do I have an emergency savings fund?

Financial experts generally recommend that you have at least six months of living expenses in a federally insured product, such as a savings account or a certificate of deposit (CD). The idea is to help you withstand a major reduction in income, such as from a job loss, or to pay for a major, unexpected home or car repair. To build your "rainy day fund," consider a combination of regular, automated deposits and any "windfalls" you receive, perhaps from a tax refund or a bonus at work.

Am I saving money on a regular basis?

"Automatic transfers into savings on a set schedule can help you save money before you spend it," said Bobbie Gray, an FDIC Supervisory Community Affairs Specialist.

How much investment risk am I willing to take?

Investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds can produce higher returns than bank deposits over many years, but you could also lose some or all of that money. (Remember, nondeposit investments are not insured by the FDIC against loss.)

In general, the longer you plan to keep money invested and the greater your tolerance for volatility, the more likely these investments can help you reach your targets.

Am I saving enough for retirement?

For many, the answer is "no" even when they think it is "yes." Options to save include workplace retirement plans, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) offered by many banks and investment companies, and the U.S. Treasury Department's new "myRA" (MyRetirement Account) program.

The myRA account is a simple, safe and affordable retirement savings program that is backed by the U.S. government. Savers can open an account with as little as $25, there are no fees, the account will earn interest at a variable rate, and the investment is protected so the account balance will never go down. To learn more about myRA, go to www.treasurydirect.gov/readysavegrow/start_saving/myra.htm.

"Many working people can save considerably on their taxes through qualified retirement savings. And, if your employer offers a retirement savings program of any kind, find out whether it will match your investment contributions, and then don't lose out on any matches," Reynolds added.

To learn more about ways to save, see resources from more than 20 federal agencies, including the FDIC, at www.mymoney.gov.

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.

 

  

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