Beware of One-Ring Phone Call Scam

 

 

If your phone rings once and the caller disconnects, think twice before calling the number back, warns Victory State Bank. The only community-based business bank on Staten Island is citing a long-standing alert from the New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection about a consumer scam in which the victim receives a phone call from an unfamiliar number.

In the scenario, the caller hangs up after one ring and it’s up to the victim to decide whether to call the number back.

There may be unexpected phone bill charges if the consumer returns the call. As soon as the call is connected, the victim is charged several fees – a fee to establish the call, a fee charged for each minute the victim remains on the line, and any international long-distance fees that may apply.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection warns consumers to be wary of phone calls from unfamiliar telephone numbers. To prevent falling victim to this type of scam, please take note of the following tips:  

§  If you do not recognize a number, simply don’t call back. By returning the call, you are verifying that your number is “live” and can expect similar calls in the future.

 

§  If you are unsure, perform an online search to find out where the call is coming from, and whether or not others have received suspicious calls from the same number.

 

      §  If you notice suspicious charges on your phone bill, contact your carrier. You may be able to reverse the charges.

For more information regarding scam prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at 518-474-8583.

 

 

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.

 

 

15 Safety Measures Every Consumer Should Keep in Mind

 

 

Embracing the philosophy of a safe consumer being a happy consumer, Victory State Bank is underscoring the importance of staying alert for shady deals and scams. To help you avoid unwise purchasing decisions or fraud, the only community-based commercial bank on Staten Island is sharing these 15 tips from the U.S. General Services Administration’s “Consumer Action Handbook”:

     1)      Be wary of promises of “no risks” or guaranteed earnings.

 

2)      Beware of emails or calls asking you to confirm your bank account, credit card number, PIN, or social security number.

 

3)      Create unique usernames, passwords for your email and online accounts. Use a PIN, two-factor authentication and other security features.

 

4)      Don’t sign a contract with blank spaces or incomplete terms. Read and understand any contract, legal document, or terms of service before you sign or click “I Agree.”

 

5)      Don’t feel pressured by calls or emails, supposedly from the government or creditors, that threaten you if you don’t send payment immediately.

 

6)      Get estimates from several contractors for home or car repairs. Make sure the estimates are for the exact same repairs for a fair comparison.

 

7)      Read retailers refund, return, and early termination or cancellation policies, before you buy.

 

8)      Be cautious of shopping on public wi-fi networks, that don’t encrypt your information.

 

9)      Beware if someone calls you, claiming that you owe money, demanding a payment by wire transfer or branded gift card.

 

10)   Look for the padlock icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen or a URL that begins with “https” to ensure that your payment information is transmitted securely.

 

11)   Don’t buy under stress. Avoid making big-ticket purchases during times of duress.

 

12)   Notify your lender immediately if you are having difficulty making payments on loans, so that you can work out a payment plan.

 

13)   Protect access and use of your digital wallet (connected to your mobile phone or payment app) with a PIN or your fingerprints.

 

14)   Read the privacy policy and security statement on apps you download to make sure that your personal information is secure.

 

     15)   Sign up to receive text messages to alert you when your credit card is used. These texts help you catch fraudulent purchases immediately.

 

 

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 Your Rights When Recovering from ID Theft

 

Identity theft can cause financial upheaval in a person’s life, so it’s important to take immediate steps to reverse whatever damage has been done.

Victory State Bank advises you to know your rights during the recovery process following identity theft.

If someone is using your information to open new accounts or make purchases, Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank recommends contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which provides an online means to report it and get help.

To assist you on the road to recovery after someone steals your identity, Victory State Bank is sharing information from the FTC; in the aftermath of ID theft,

you have the right to:

  • Create an FTC Identity Theft Report
  • Place a 90-day initial fraud alert on your credit report
  • Place a seven-year extended fraud alert on your credit report
  • Get free copies of your credit report
  • Get fraudulent information removed (or "blocked") from your credit report
  • Dispute fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report
  • Stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts
  • Get copies of documents related to the identity theft
  • Stop a debt collector from contacting you

For additional rights associated with recovery from identity theft, visit www.identitytheft.gov/know-your-rights.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

12 Ways to Avoid a Fraudulent Tax Preparer

 

As a taxpayer, you are legally responsible for what appears on your tax return —  even if someone else prepares it. This is why it is important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare a tax return.

To help protect well-intentioned taxpayers from being misguided by preparers who don’t understand taxes or scam artists who mislead people into taking credits or deductions they aren’t entitled to claim, Victory State Bank is sharing these tips from the Internal Revenue Service:

  • Avoid fly-by-night preparers. Make sure the preparer will be available if needed, even after the return is filed. In the event questions come up about a tax return, taxpayers may need to contact the preparer.
  • Ask if the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Paid tax return preparers are required to register with the IRS, have a PTIN and include it on tax returns.
  • Inquire whether the tax return preparer has a professional credential (enrolled agent, certified public accountant or attorney), belongs to a professional organization or attends continuing education classes. Tax law can be complex. A competent tax professional needs to be up-to-date in these matters. The IRS website has more information regarding the national tax professional organizations.
  • Check the preparer’s qualifications. Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool can help locate a tax return preparer with the preferred qualifications. The Directory is a searchable and sortable listing of tax preparers registered with the IRS. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of Attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, enrolled actuaries and Annual Filing Season Program participants.
  • Check the preparer’s history. Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory
  • Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of their client’s refund or boast bigger refunds than their competition. Don’t give tax documents, Social Security numbers or other information to a preparer when only inquiring about their services and fees. Unfortunately, some preparers have improperly filed returns without the taxpayer’s permission once the records were obtained.
  • Make sure the preparer offers IRS e-file and ask to e-file the tax return. Paid preparers who do taxes for more than 10 clients generally must file electronically. The IRS has processed more than 1.5 billion e-filed tax returns. It’s the safest and most accurate way to file a return.
  • Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see tax records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to determine the client’s total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file a return using a pay stub instead of a Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
  • Understand representation rules. Attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents can represent any client before the IRS in any situation. Annual Filing Season Program participants may represent taxpayers in limited situations if they prepared and signed the return. However, non-credentialed preparers who do not participate in the Annual Filing Season Program may only represent clients before the IRS on returns they prepared and signed on or before Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Never sign a blank return. Don’t use a tax preparer that asks clients to sign an incomplete or blank tax form.
  • Review the tax return before signing. Before a taxpayer signs a return, they should review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should ensure they are comfortable with the accuracy of the return and that the refund goes directly to them – not into the preparer’s bank account. Reviewing the routing and bank account number on the completed return is always a good idea.
  • Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Taxpayers can report abusive tax return preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a return preparer is suspected of filing or changing the return without the client’s consent, also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. Forms are available on IRS.gov.

To find other tips about choosing a preparer, understanding the differences in credentials and qualifications, researching the IRS preparer directory and learning how to submit a complaint regarding a tax return preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

How Your Credit Score is Impacted by Credit Inquiries

 

If you are about to finance a major purchase, you should first understand how credit inquires can affect your credit score, advises Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank on Staten Island.

Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) store information about your credit history. As explained by U.S. General Services Administration’s “Consumer Action Handbook,” a credit report from a CRA contains past information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, liens, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy.

CRSs gather this information and sell it to creditors, employers, insurers, and others.

The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau. There are three major credit bureaus:

 

§  Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com. To place a fraud alert on your credit report, call 1-888-766-0008.

 

§  Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com.

 

§  TransUnion: 1-800-888-4213 or www.transunion.com,  or 1-888-909-8872 to place a fraud alert.

 

 

CREDIT INQUIRIES

Soft and hard credit inquiries are two ways of pulling your credit report. Both give a company access to your credit history, but they are used for different reasons and have different impacts on your credit score.

SOFT INQUIRY

A soft inquiry occurs when a company pulls your credit report, without you initiating it.

Lenders and credit companies do a soft inquiry to decide whether or not to pre-approve you for credit.

Employers, current lenders, and landlords may also do a soft pull. Downloading your own credit report is another example of a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score.

HARD INQUIRY

A hard inquiry occurs when a lender pulls your credit report to make a lending decision, after you apply for credit.

You have to authorize hard inquiries. Each hard inquiry can reduce your credit score.

If there are hard inquiries on your credit report, that you didn’t authorize, it could be fraud. Dispute hard inquiries you didn’t authorize with the creditor listed and the credit bureaus. If neither will help, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFP).

 

 

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.