5 Tips for Avoiding Advance Fee Schemes

 

Are you being asked to pay for a product or service in advance from someone you’re not familiar with? You could become the victim of an advance fee scheme, warns Victory State Bank.

As explained by the FBI, “an advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.”

The FBI further explains the variety of advance fee schemes is limited only by the imagination of the con artists who offer them. They may involve the sale of products or services, the offering of investments, lottery winnings, “found money,” or many other “opportunities.”

Clever con artists will offer to find financing arrangements for their clients who pay a “finder’s fee” in advance. They require their clients to sign contracts in which they agree to pay the fee when they are introduced to the financing source.

Victims often learn that they are ineligible for financing only after they have paid the “finder” according to the contract. Such agreements may be legal unless it can be shown that the “finder” never had the intention or the ability to provide financing for the victims.

 

To avoid becoming the victim of and advanced fee scheme, Victory State Bank advises you follow these tips from the FBI:

1)       If the offer of an “opportunity” appears too good to be true, it probably is. Follow common business practice. For example, legitimate business is rarely conducted in cash on a street corner.

2)       Know who you are dealing with. If you have not heard of a person or company that you intend to do business with, learn more about them. Depending on the amount of money that you plan on spending, you may want to visit the business location, check with the Better Business Bureau, or consult with your bank, an attorney, or the police.

3)       Make sure you fully understand any business agreement that you enter into. If the terms are complex, have them reviewed by a competent attorney.

4)       Be wary of businesses that operate out of post office boxes or mail drops and do not have a street address. Also be suspicious when dealing with persons who do not have a direct telephone line and who are never in when you call, but always return your call later.

5)       Be wary of business deals that require you to sign nondisclosure or non-circumvention agreements that are designed to prevent you from independently verifying the bona fides of the people with whom you intend to do business. Con artists often use non-circumvention agreements to threaten their victims with civil suit if they report their losses to law enforcement.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

5 Ways to Stop a Debt Collection Scam

 

Have you received one or more phone calls from someone claiming to be a debt collector? The caller could be legit – or maybe not! Victory State Bank is echoing a warning from the New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection regarding scam artists posing as debt collectors.

Consumers are receiving harassing phone calls and voicemails from fake debt collectors threatening legal action in an attempt to collect money that is not actually owed. For this scam, the fake collectors tend to use fictitious names leading consumers to believe they are affiliated with a law firm. Sometimes, the callers may even have access to personal and/or financial information, such as a bank account number.

If you receive a call from a debt collector seeking payment for a debt you are not aware of, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection advises that you do not agree to pay it. If the debt the collector is referring to is legitimate, but you suspect the collector is not, contact your creditor.

The government agency strongly recommends that consumers take note of the following tips to avoid being affected by fraudulent debt collection:

§  Find out if you have outstanding debts by checking your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

§  Unless you have verified the call, do not provide or confirm any personal or financial information over the phone. Act immediately if you provided personal identifiable information to unknown or unverified parties by notifying the companies with whom you have the accounts and by placing a security freeze or fraud alert on your files at credit reporting agencies. 

§  Beware of callers who want your money fast or use high-pressure tactics. Ask the caller to send you written materials, such as an official “validation notice” which includes the amount of debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights under the FDCPA.

§  If you suspect the caller is attempting to commit fraud, ask for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Hang up the phone and confirm that the collection agency is real.

§  If the caller uses threats, file a complaint at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. Keep in mind that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from being unfair, deceptive or abusive.

 

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.

 

 

6 Steps for Protecting Your Computer from Intrusion

 

Is your personal or small business computer safe from hackers? According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated.”

To assist you in protecting your computer from hackers, Victory State Bank, the only community-based business bank on Staten Island, is sharing the following tips from the FBI:

KEEP YOUR FIREWALL TURNED ON

A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.

INSTALL OR UPDATE YOUR ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE

Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users’ knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.

INSTALL OR UPDATE YOUR ANTISPYWARE TECHNOLOGY

Spyware is just what it sounds like — software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet or at your local computer store. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware — in some cases these products may be fake and may actually contain spyware or other malicious code. It’s like buying groceries — shop where you trust.

KEEP YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM UP TO DATE

Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU DOWNLOAD

Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.

TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER

With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection — be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.

To learn more about the various types of cyber crime and how to protect yourself, visit https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyber.

 

 

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.

 

8 Tips for a Successful Online Shopping Experience

 

 

 

Online shopping has become second nature to many consumers, so it’s important to embrace habits that make the buying experience both rewarding and safe.

To help reduce the chances of encountering shady deals – and protecting your private information when shopping on the Internet, Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank on Staten Island, is sharing these tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

KNOW WHO YOU'RE DEALING WITH

Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. And if you get an email or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you’re browsing, don't reply or follow the link. Legitimate companies don't ask for information that way.

KNOW WHAT YOU'RE BUYING

Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate that the product is in less-than-mint condition, while name-brand items with bargain basement prices could be counterfeits.

KNOW WHAT IT WILL COST

Check out websites that offer price comparisons and then compare "apples to apples." Factor shipping and handling into the total cost of your purchase. Do not send cash or money transfers under any circumstances.

CHECK OUT THE TERMS OF THE DEAL,

LIKE REFUND POLICIES AND DELIVERY DATES

Can you return the item for a full refund if you're not satisfied?  If you return it, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fees, and when you will get your order? A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule requires sellers to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised. Many sites offer tracking options, so you can see exactly where your purchase is, and an estimate when you’ll get it.

PAY BY CREDIT CARD

If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you can dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them. In the event that someone uses your credit card without your permission, your liability generally is limited to the first $50 in charges. Some companies guarantee that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made to your card online; some cards provide additional warranty, return, and purchase protection benefits.

KEEP RECORDS

Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them; be on the lookout for charges that you don’t recognize.

DON'T EMAIL ANY FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Email is not a secure method of transmitting financial information like your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number. If you begin a transaction and need to give your financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some fraudulent sites have forged security icons.

CHECK THE PRIVACY POLICY

Really. It should let you know what personal information the website operators are collecting, why, and how they're going to use the information. If you can't find a privacy policy — or if you can't understand it – consider taking your business to another site that's more user-friendly.

How to Report Online Shopping Fraud

If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller, buyer, or site operator. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with:

  • the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint
  • your state Attorney General, using contact information at naag.org
  • your county or state consumer protection agency. Check the blue pages of the phone book under county and state government, or visit consumeraction.gov and look under "Where to File a Complaint.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Know Currency Exchange Rates Before Traveling from the U.S.

 

Summer is vacation season, so play, relax and have some fun! And if you choose to travel outside the United States, you should be aware of currency values before leaving home, advises Victory State Bank.

As explained by the federal government website USA.gov, “Each country has its own currency or monetary system for buying and selling products and services. The exchange rate between two countries tells you the price you pay to buy another country's currency. When you travel internationally, you will want to have some of that country's currency to buy products or services.”

To assist you in preparing for foreign travel, Victory State Bank, the only community-based business bank on Staten Island, is sharing the following advice from USA.gov:

Exchanging Currency

Research the costs and process of purchasing currency for a foreign country:

 

§  Use online currency conversion tools to compare the value of your country's currency with the value of other countries' currencies. Each week, the Federal Reserve Board lists the currency value of over 20 countries against the value of the U.S. dollar. The rates are not in real time. 

  

§  Check with local banks to learn how to buy currency for another country.

  

§  Use currency exchange booths, exchange vending machines, and ATMs at international airports or train stations. These booths may charge a fee for the exchange service.

 

If you plan to use a credit card or ATM card abroad, the exchange rate may be different than the rates at currency exchange booths.

Cash Limits When Traveling Abroad or Entering the U.S.

 

§  Look up the country or countries you plan to visit for their currency guidelines and country information.

  

§  Find out if you must declare the amount of money you take out of the United States.

 

 

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.