Business Bank on Staten Island Spotlights 7 Red Flags of a Ponzi Scheme

 

 

Victory State Bank is reminding consumers to beware of the ever-present threat of Ponzi schemes.

As explained by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that pays existing investors with funds collected from new investors.

Ponzi scheme organizers often promise to invest your money and generate high returns with little or no risk. But in many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters do not invest the money. Instead, they use it to pay those who invested earlier and may keep some for themselves.

With little or no legitimate earnings, Ponzi schemes require a constant flow of new money to survive. When it becomes hard to recruit new investors, or when large numbers of existing investors cash out, these schemes tend to collapse.

Ponzi schemes are named after Charles Ponzi, who duped investors in the 1920s with a postage stamp speculation scheme.

To help you avoid becoming a victim of such scams, Victory State Bank is sharing the following Ponzi Scheme warning signs as described the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:

  • HIGH RETURNS WITH LITTLE OR NO RISK

Every investment carries some degree of risk, and investments yielding higher returns typically involve more risk. Be highly suspicious of any “guaranteed” investment opportunity.

  • OVERLY CONSISTENT RETURNS

Investments tend to go up and down over time. Be skeptical about an investment that regularly generates positive returns regardless of overall market conditions.

  • UNREGISTERED INVESTMENTS

Ponzi schemes typically involve investments that are not registered with the SEC or with state regulators. Registration is important because it provides investors with access to information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances.

  • UNLICENSED SELLERS

Federal and state securities laws require investment professionals and firms to be licensed or registered. Most Ponzi schemes involve unlicensed individuals or unregistered firms.

  • SECRETIVE, COMPLEX STRATEGIES

Avoid investments if you don’t understand them or can’t get complete information about them.

  • ISSUES WITH PAPERWORK

Account statement errors may be a sign that funds are not being invested as promised.

  • DIFFICULTY RECEIVING PAYMENTS

Be suspicious if you don’t receive a payment or have difficulty cashing out. Ponzi scheme promoters sometimes try to prevent participants from cashing out by offering even higher returns for staying put.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

10 Tips for Selecting a Tax Preparer

 

 

Now that the tax season has arrived, have you chosen a tax preparer?

 To help you make the right choice, Victory State Bank is sharing these 10 tips from the IRS:

1)      Check the Preparer’s Qualifications. Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications. The directory is a searchable and sortable listing of preparers. 

 

2)      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 the verify enrolled agent status page on IRS.gov or check the directory.

 

3)      Ask about Service Fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of the refund or who boast bigger refunds than their competition. When asking about a preparer’s services and fees, don’t give them tax documents, Social Security numbers or other information. 

 

4)      Ask to E-File. Taxpayers should make sure their preparer offers IRS e-file. The quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to electronically file their federal tax return and use direct deposit. 

 

5)      Make Sure the Preparer is Available. Taxpayers may want to contact their preparer after this year’s April 17 due date. Avoid fly-by-night preparers.

 

6)      Provide Records and Receipts. Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer’s records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to figure things like the total income, tax deductions and credits. 

 

7)      Never Sign a Blank Return. Don’t use a tax preparer who asks a taxpayer to sign a blank tax form.

 

8)      Review Before Signing. Before signing a tax return, review it. Ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should feel comfortable with the accuracy of their return before they sign it. They should also make sure that their refund goes directly to them – not to the preparer’s bank account. Review the routing and bank account number on the completed return. The preparer should give you a copy of the completed tax return. 

 

9)      Ensure the Preparer Signs and Includes Their PTIN. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN.

 

10)   Report Abusive Tax Preparers to the IRS. Most tax return preparers are honest and provide great service to their clients. However, some preparers are dishonest. Report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their return without the taxpayer’s consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

2 Methods of Managing Someone Else’s Bank Account

 

Managing the finances of a loved one is an important responsibility which may at times be seasoned with emotion.

If you manage finances for a loved one, you’ll need access to their bank accounts. To help make such situations less daunting, Victory State Bank is highlighting two common methods to have access, as described in the U.S. General Services Administration’s “Consumer Action Handbook”:

 

1)      POWER OF ATTORNEY

A power of attorney allows you to make financial transactions on behalf of another person while they are alive.

If the account holder dies, your power of attorney rights end. You can’t use the account to pay bills or have the authority to close the account.

2)      JOINT ACCOUNT

A joint account allows you to share ownership of the account.

You have the authority to use or close the account if the other account holder dies. However, if the other account holder wanted their money to go to someone else after their death, that could cause challenges with the beneficiaries.

No matter what structure works best, remember to act in the other person’s best interest, manage the money carefully, keep their money separate from your own, and keep good financial records.

For more details. visit www.consumerfinance.gov/managing-someone-elses-money.

 

 

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 to Avoid Online Dating Scams

 

 

Victory State Bank, Staten Island’s only community-based business bank is sharing an important warning that sheds light upon online dating scams:

 

The American Bankers Association Foundation in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an infographic on the growing threat of such scams. According to the FBI, over $220 million was lost in 2016 to online romance scam artists.

Social media networks and dating websites have become increasingly popular tools for meeting and communicating. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized on this trend and often create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money. Older Americans, in particular, have been targeted by this type of scam.

The infographic, available in both English and Spanish, identifies common signs of an online dating scam and offers consumers advice on how to avoid falling victim.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one are being scammed, the ABA Foundation and FTC recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Slow down – and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you. 

§  Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.

§  Contact your bank right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer. 

 

REPORT YOUR EXPERIENCE TO:

§  The online dating site

§  FTC at ftc.gov/complaint FBI at ic3.gov

To view the infographic, visit aba.com/OnlineDatingScams.

 

About the ABA

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $17 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, midsize, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $13 trillion in deposits and extend more than $9 trillion in loans.

 

About the ABA Foundation

Through its leadership, partnerships, and national programs, ABA’s Community Engagement Foundation (dba ABA Foundation), a 501(c)3, helps bankers provide financial education to individuals at every age, elevate issues around affordable housing and community development, and achieve corporate social responsibility objectives to improve the well-being of their customers and their communities.

 

About the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Begins Accepting and Processing

 2017 Federal Individual Income Tax Returns

 

Victory State Banking is sharing news from the Internal Revenue Service, which announced Jan. 29 that the agency has successfully started accepting and processing 2017 federal individual income tax returns.

More than 155 million returns are expected to be filed this year. People have until Tuesday, April 17, 2018, to file their 2017 returns and pay any taxes due.

The filing tax deadline is later this year due to several factors. The usual April 15 deadline falls on Sunday this year, which would normally give taxpayers until at least the following Monday. However, Emancipation Day, a Washington, D.C., holiday, is observed on Monday, April 16, giving taxpayers nationwide an additional day to file. By law, Washington holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way federal holidays do. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, to file.

The IRS expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers to get tax refunds this year. Last year, nearly 112 million refunds were issued, with an average refund of $2,895.

“The IRS has a number of ways to help taxpayers this filing season, and we encourage people to look into the many options available,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “The nation’s tax professionals and software community work with the IRS and help make the tax filing process easier for Americans. Today’s filing season kick-off reflects many months of hard work by the nation’s tax community and IRS employees. And we also appreciate the time and attention taxpayers take as they prepare and file their taxes."

Use e-File and Free File

The IRS expects about 90 percent of returns to be filed electronically. Choosing e-file and direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.

The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, gives eligible taxpayers a dozen options for brand-name products. Free File is a partnership with commercial partners offering free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less. About 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. People who earned more than $66,000 may use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

To learn more about the current tax-filing season and other tax-related matter, visit the IRS online at https://www.irs.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.