Victory State Bank Installs Potentially Life-Saving Defibrillators

 

At All Its Locations

 

Staten Island Heart Society instructs bank’s employees in use of AEDs, CPR and NARCAN®

 

 

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Victory State Bank, a leading advocate for the enrichment of Staten Island’s quality of life, has installed an automated external defibrillator (AED) in each of its locations throughout the borough.

 An AED is a battery-operated device that can save a person’s life after cardiac arrest when used to administer an electrical shock through the chest wall to the heart.

 “The need for first aid treatment can occur anywhere and at any time. That is why we strongly believe in equipping our employees with the tools and the training needed to administer life-saving assistance,” said Raffaele (Ralph) M. Branca, president and CEO of Victory State Bank.

 The financial institution, the only community-based commercial bank in Staten Island, N.Y., purchased the potentially life-saving devices through the guidance of registered nurse Rachel Volpe, director of operations, Staten Island Heart Society. The not-for-profit organization subsequently provided free AED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to 51 Victory State Bank employees over a three-day period at the bank’s new business center in Dongan Hills.

Attendees were additionally provided with NARCAN® (naloxone) kits and training for the emergency treatment of opioid overdoses.

 

 

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK 

 VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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 six locations on the Island, including its full-service banking headquarters in Great Kills; full-service branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank, and a business center in Dongan Hills. The bank’s much-anticipated seventh site and full-service Meiers Corners branch is under construction and due to open in the second quarter of 2019.   

 

Victory State Bank commenced operations on Nov. 17, 1997. The Bank's initial capitalization of $7 million was primarily raised in the Staten Island community. The Bancorp's total equity has increased to $35 million primarily through the retention of earnings.

 

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

 

Media Contact: Barton Horowitz

 

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

 

Headquarters: 718‑682‑1509

 

Mobile: 917‑715‑8761

 

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

 

IRS Warns Taxpayers of Pervasive Phishing Schemes

 

 

Victory State Bank is urging consumers and business owners to be on the lookout for tax-related scams. In doing so, Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank is echoing the concerns of the Internal Revenue Service, which is alerting taxpayers to,j the ongoing threat of Internet phishing scams that lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.

The IRS warns taxpayers, businesses and tax professionals to be alert for a continuing surge of fake emails, text messages, websites and social media attempts to steal personal information. These attacks tend to increase during tax season and remain a major danger of identity theft.

To help protect taxpayers against these and other threats, the IRS highlights one scam on 12 consecutive week days to help raise awareness. Phishing schemes are the first of the 2019 “Dirty Dozen” tax scams.

“Taxpayers should be on constant guard for these phishing schemes, which can be tricky and cleverly disguised to look like it’s the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Watch out for emails and other scams posing as the IRS, promising a big refund or personally threatening people. Don’t open attachments and click on links in emails. Don’t fall victim to phishing or other common scams.”

The IRS also urges taxpayers to learn how to protect themselves by reviewing safety tips prepared by the Security Summit, a collaborative effort between the IRS, state revenue departments and the private-sector tax community.

“Taking some basic security steps and being cautious can help protect people and their sensitive tax and financial data,” Rettig said.

New variations on phishing schemes

The IRS continues to see a steady stream of new and evolving phishing schemes as criminals work to victimize taxpayers throughout the year. Whether through legitimate-looking emails with fake, but convincing website landing pages, or social media approaches, perhaps using a shortened URL, the end goal is the same for these con artists: stealing personal information.

In one variation, taxpayers are victimized by a creative scheme that involves their own bank account. After stealing personal data and filing fraudulent tax returns, criminals use taxpayers' bank accounts to direct deposit tax refunds. Thieves then use various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer, including falsely claiming to be from a collection agency or the IRS. The IRS encourages taxpayers to review some basic tips if they see an unexpected deposit in their bank account.

Schemes aimed at tax pros, payroll offices, human resources personnel

The IRS has also seen more advanced phishing schemes targeting the personal or financial information available in the files of tax professionals, payroll professionals, human resources personnel, schools and organizations such as Form W-2 information. These targeted scams are known as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES) scams.

Depending on the variation of the scam (and there are several), criminals will pose as:

  • a business asking the recipient to pay a fake invoice
  • as an employee seeking to re-route a direct deposit
  • or as someone the taxpayer trusts or recognizes, such as an executive, to initiate a wire transfer.

The IRS warned of the direct deposit variation of the BEC/BES scam in December 2018, and continues to receive reports of direct deposit scams reported to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Direct Deposit and other BEC/BES variations should be forwarded to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IRS requests that Form W-2 scams be reported to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Subject: W-2 Scam). 

Criminals may use the email credentials from a successful phishing attack, known as an email account compromise, to send phishing emails to the victim’s email contacts. Tax preparers should be wary of unsolicited email from personal or business contacts especially the more commonly observed scams, like new client solicitations.

Malicious emails and websites can infect a taxpayer’s computer with malware without the user knowing it. The malware downloads in the background, giving the criminal access to the device, enabling them to access any sensitive files or even track keyboard strokes, exposing login victim’s information.

For those participating in these schemes, such activity can lead to significant penalties and possible criminal prosecution. Both the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which handles scams involving IRS impersonation, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division work closely with the Department of Justice to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Tax professional alert

Numerous data breaches across the country mean the tax preparation community must be on high alert to unusual activity, particularly during the tax filing season. Criminals increasingly target tax professionals, deploying various types of phishing emails in an attempt to access client data. Thieves may use this data to impersonate taxpayers and file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.

As part of the Security Summit initiative, the IRS has joined with representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators to combat identity theft refund fraud to protect the nation's taxpayers.

The Security Summit partners encourage tax practitioners to be wary of communicating solely by email with potential or existing clients, especially if unusual requests are made. Data breach thefts have given thieves millions of identity data points including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and email addresses. If in doubt, tax practitioners should call to confirm a client’s identity.

Reporting phishing attempts

If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email or social media attempt that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), they should report it by sending it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.

Tax professionals who receive unsolicited and suspicious emails that appear to be from the IRS and/or are tax-related (like those related to the e-Services program) also should report it to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

Source: Internal Revenue Service

 

7 Ways to Use Your Tax Refund Wisely

Whether they reside on Staten Island or elsewhere in the nation, it is natural for many employees and business owners to look forward to a tax refund.​ But will they make best use of their refunds?

As many Americans receive their refunds this year, the American Bankers Association (ABA) has highlighted seven tips to help them use the money wisely – and Victory State Bank, the only community-based business bank in Staten Island, N.Y.,  is echoing the advice.

“Prioritizing your tax refund to create an emergency fund and pay off debts first will help position you for financial comfort the rest of the year,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “As those who have been affected by the federal government shutdown this year can attest, financial challenges can arise quickly and it's critical to have money set aside for those unexpected hardships.”

 Carlisle highlighted recent changes to the tax code as a reason for consumers to file their returns as early as possible this year.

 “There are a lot of new wrinkles to the tax code that may surprise people, so you’ll want to get a jump start on filing this year and then talk to your employer about adjusting your withholdings to calibrate them accordingly,” said Carlisle.

To help consumers make the most out of their money, Victory State Bank is sharing the following seven tips from ABA:

SAVE FOR EMERGENCIES

About 40 percent of Americans are positioned to cover a $400 emergency expense. You can prepare by opening or adding to a savings account that serves as an “emergency fund.” Ideally, it should hold about three to six months of living expenses in case of sudden financial hardships like losing your job or having to replace your car.

PAY OFF DEBT

Pay down existing balances either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.

SAVE FOR RETIREMENT, YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION,

OR FUTURE HEALTH EXPENSES

Open or increase contributions to a tax-deferred savings plan like a 401(k) or an IRA. Your bank can help set up an IRA, while a 401(k) is employer-sponsored. Look into opening a tax-advantaged 529 education savings plan to ensure school expenses will be covered when your child reaches college age. Or save for future health expenses with tax-free dollars by investing in a Health Savings Account.

PAY DOWN YOUR MORTGAGE OR STUDENT LOANS

Make an extra payment on your mortgage or student loans each year to save money on interest while reducing the term of your loans. Be sure to inform your lender that your extra payments should be applied to principal, not interest.

INVEST SAFELY WITH U.S. SAVINGS BONDS OR MUNICIPAL BONDS

The U.S. Treasury allows for savings bond to be purchased using your tax refund for as little as $50. Savings bonds earn interest for a maximum of 30 years.

INVEST IN YOUR CURRENT HOME

Use your refund to invest in home improvements that will pay you back in the long run by increasing the value of your home.  This can include small, cost-effective upgrades like energy-efficient appliances that will pay off in both the short and long term, and with tax credits (as long as Congress continues to renew the program). If you have more substantial renovations in mind, your bank can help with a home equity line of credit.

DONATE TO CHARITY

The benefit is two-fold: Giving to charity will make a difference in your community, and you can also claim the tax deduction, if you itemize.

ABA also stressed the importance of lower-income workers filing a tax return – even if their income is too low to trigger any federal tax liability – in order to potentially claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Depending on a recipient’s income, marital status and number of children, the EITC can result in a refund of up to $6,431 to help them ensure financial security.

 

 

Take Steps to Protect Your Social Media Accounts

 

Since identity thieves commonly use the Internet as a source of information about their intended victims, it’s becoming increasingly important to do everything in one’s power to protect personal data from online criminals.

 

One source of information for thieves is social media, so it’s vital you ensure your privacy by taking steps to protect yourself when using social media.

 

As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission explains, “The Internet has made our lives easier in so many ways. However, you need to know how you can protect your privacy and avoid fraud.  Remember, not only can people be defrauded when using the Internet for investing; the fraudsters use information online to send bogus materials, solicit or phish.”

 

To point you in the right direction toward social media security, Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank in Staten Island, N.Y., suggests that you:

 

§  ADJUST YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS, IF NEEDED 

Always check the default privacy settings when opening an account on a social media website. The default privacy settings on many social media websites are typically broad and may permit sharing of information to a vast online community. Modify the setting, if appropriate, before posting any information on a social media website.

 

§  MINIMIZE BIOGRAPHICAL CONTENT

Many social media websites require biographical information to open an account. You can limit the information made available to other social media users. Consider customizing your privacy settings to minimize the amount of biographical information others can view on the website.

 

§  DON’T SHARE ACCOUNT INFORMATION 

Never give account information, Social Security numbers, bank information or other sensitive financial information on a social media website. If you need to speak to a financial professional, use a firm-sponsored method of communication, such as telephone, letter, firm e-mail or firm-sponsored website.

 

§  CHOOSE FRIENDS AND CONTACTS CAUTIOUSLY 

When choosing friends or contacts on a social media site, think about why you use the website. Decide whether it is appropriate to accept a “friend” or other membership request from a financial service provider, such as a financial adviser or broker-dealer. There is no obligation to accept a “friend” request of a service provider or anyone you do not know or do not know well.

 

§  UNDERSTAND THE SITE’S FUNCTIONALITY 

Familiarize yourself with the functionality of the social media website before broadcasting messages on the site. Who will be able to see your messages – only specified recipients, or all users?

 

Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Ways to Protect Yourself From Fake Ticket Sales

 

If you plan on buying tickets for a concert featuring one of your favorite entertainers, or want to surprise your special someone with seats at a Broadway hit, Victory State Bank advises you to make doubly certain you are dealing with a legitimate ticket vendor.

Staten Island’s only community-based business bank points to information posted by the government website USA.gov, which warns of ticket selling scams.

Such frauds occur when a scammer uses tickets as bait to steal your money. The scammer usually sells fake tickets – or, you pay for a ticket, but never receive it. These scams are common when tickets for popular concerts, plays, and sporting events sell out.

Scammers, including individuals and fake resale companies, take advantage of the situation in ways such as: Charging prices much higher than the face value of a ticket; creating counterfeit tickets with forged barcodes and logos of real ticket companies; selling duplicates of a legitimate ticket and emailing it to several buyers, and pretending to sell tickets online to steal your credit card information.

 To help keep you safe from ticket fraudsters, consider the following 16 tips:

1)      Buy tickets at the venue box office.

2)      Buy tickets from authorized brokers and third party sellers, with verified contact information.

3)      Verify that the seller has a real physical addresses and phone numbers. Scammers often post fake addresses, PO Box, or no address on their websites.

4)      Check the actual web address of the resale ticket seller. Some scammers create phony websites that closely resemble authentic ticket company websites.

5)      Search for negative reviews about the seller. Use the seller’s name, email address, and phone number, along with the words “fraud,” “scams,” and “fake tickets” for your online search.

6)      Look at the tickets before you buy and verify the date and the time printed on them.

7)      Make sure the section and seat numbers on the tickets actually exist at the venue.

8)      Have the seller meet you in person in a public place for the ticket exchange.

9)      Ask the seller for proof that they bought the tickets, if you are buying from an individual.

10)   Use a credit card to pay third party sellers. Your credit card offers protections, if you need to dispute a charge.

11)   Check for complaints against a ticket seller with your state’s consumer protection agency.

12)   Don’t wire transfer money to pay for tickets.  

13)   Don’t trust sellers who want you to pay with a prepaid money card.

14)   Don’t pay before seeing the tickets

15)   Don’t meet an individual ticket seller alone or in a low-traffic area.

16)   Don’t automatically trust online search results for ticket sellers. Search results can include paid ads, sellers that charge high fees, and scams.

HOW TO REPORT TICKET SCAMS

There are several options to report a ticket scam:

Source: USA.gov

 

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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, including the main office in the community of Great Kills and branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. 

A planned sixth branch, to be situated in Meiers Corners, has received both regulatory and building department approvals.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

Media Contact: 

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718‑682‑1509

Mobile: 917‑715‑8761

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