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Be Wary of Tax Return Scams

February 25th, 2015

As we all know, unfortunately there are some not-so-nice people out there. Tax season seems to be a time they come out. Looking to steal money or account information, please be wary of scams. Trust your gut if something doesn’t seem right.
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from tax fraud:

During a tax scam, usually an individual calls on the phone or sends an email presenting themselves as an employee of the IRS or your state’s tax authority, under the guise of wanting to “help” with your tax filing. Usually this type of tax scam involves an unsolicited, bogus email regarding your tax refund or bill, or threatens an audit if you do not pay. These tax fraud emails also typically include the tax service’s name and official seal, and often link to a phony website in order to appear to be more official.

Please be wary of ANY emails or phone calls you receive from someone claiming to be an employee of the IRS or State, especially those that demand you pay immediately.

The Internal Revenue Service and your state’s tax authority will NEVER:

  • Initiate contact with you by phone, email, text, or through social media outlets to ask for your personal or financial information.
  • Require that you pay your taxes with a certain payment type, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Call you and demand immediate payment. (The IRS or State will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.)

If you receive an email about your federal or state taxes:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov and then delete the email.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links, as they may contain a malicious code or virus that will infect your computer.
  • Check the website of your state’s tax return office to see how they recommend you report an attempted scam involving your state tax filing.

If you receive a call about your federal or state taxes:

  • Ask for a contact number and an employee badge number and then call back to verify its legitimacy
  • Call the IRS or the office of your state’s tax authority to inquire further.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page to report the incident.
  • Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission through the FTC Complaint Assistant on their website (add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report).

For more in depth information on how to detect or report tax scams, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing.

First Source Livin’ The Dream Contest

February 17th, 2015

DSCN1324 We are so excited to announce the winner of our Livin’ the Dream contest from Friday night’s UC Men’s Hockey Game, where First Source sponsored the evening. We had more than 400 entries and many amazing stories. We hope to share these dreams and stories and fulfill more throughout the year. After narrowing down finalists, our winner, chosen at random, was Cindy Cross. Cindy’s son has cerebral palsy and is in need of equipment to help make him more independent in his daily life. First Source is overjoyed to be able to fund this dream. Stay tuned as our Dream Team does more throughout the year… Below are some photos from Friday’s event.

Doing the Math

January 27th, 2015

CalculatorEver wondered how to start figuring out what you can afford for a house, car, or other larger purchase? Or how much to set aside to start saving for something? Or how long it will take to pay off a loan or credit card?

Often there are many different options and solutions to each of these questions. Depending on your payment schedule, how much you can put down to start, paying on interest versus principal, etc. can all have a different effect on your answer. There is also often insurance protection you can opt in for that isn’t figured in yet as well. You’ll want to meet with us to really look at all of these factors but before you come, if you’d like to get a general idea, we have some helpful calculators right on our website. Check these out to get started and get a rough idea of where to begin. When you’re ready we’ll help you find the right solution for you to save, or pay down that debt.

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What exactly is a credit score and how do you get one?

January 12th, 2015

Every time you “borrow money” for example finance a car, or get a credit card, you open what’s called a “Trade Line”. As long as you have one trade line with a payment history showing 6 months or more activity, within the last 6 months, you’ll get a score. It’s actually called a Fair Isaac & Company (FICO) score. Your score is made up of your payment history, capacity, length, accumulation, and mix of credit and debt. Here’s how each is weighted and exactly what each of these means:

35% Payment History (on-time pays or delinquencies, more weight on current payment history)
30% Capacity (amount owed on revolving debts/credit cards)
15% Length (length of new credit and total credit history)
10% Accumulation (trade line open dates and the # of inquiries on a credit report)
10% Mix of credit and debt within the last 18 months (percent of revolving credit like a credit card that you can pay down and keep using, and installment credit like a car loan which has a specific pay off date and then you’re done)
Note* Installment debt can help to raise a score. Revolving debt can help to lower a score.

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Every score fits into a category with “A” being Outstanding Credit, and “E” being Not-so-Outstanding Credit. Once you know what goes into your score, you can always work to improve it if needed. It is not a set number. If your financial habits change, so too will your score.

Here is the range of credit scores:
“A” Credit 680 +
“B” Credit 640-679
“C” Credit 600-639
“D” Credit 550-599
“E” Credit 549 and below

There are some actions that can hurt your score and others that can help.

These actions will not do you any favors and will help to bring your score down:

  • Missing payments (regardless of dollar amounts, it can take 24 months to restore credit with one late payment)
  • Credit cards at capacity (i.e. maxing out credit cards)
  • Shopping for credit excessively (# of inquiries on the credit report)
  • Opening up numerous trade lines in a short time frame (escalating debt)
  • Having more revolving debts/loans in relation to installment debts/loans
  • Closing credit cards out (this will lower available capacity)

These actions will are in your favor and will help to bring your score up:

  • Pay off or pay down credit cards
  • Do not close credit cards because capacity will decrease
  • Move revolving debt into installment debt
  • Continue to make payments on time (older late pays will become less significant with time)
  • Slow down on opening new accounts
  • Show good credit habits over an extended period of time

There are also a few things that don’t affect your score:

  • Debt ratio
  • Income

To truly see the impact your score has on your finances, check out this table. Look at the savings the folks with an “A” Credit rating receive over those with an “E”. It’s quite a difference.
Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 3.32.11 PM

                                                                                                Sample chart base on Q4 2014 rates

The ‘549 and below “E” borrower’ credit score will end up paying $64.99 more than the ‘680+ “A” borrower’ credit score pays per month. The cumulative interest is $3,899.31 more over the full 60 month term. That’s a lot of money to be saved!

If your score is not where you want it to be or maybe you’re not even sure what it is, we’d be happy to review it with you. First Source began as a Teacher’s Federal Credit Union, so our roots are based in education. We are happy to sit with you, go through your credit score line by line, and offer suggestions along the way. We also offer a Balance Financial Fitness program free of charge that includes budget worksheets to help keep you on track.

Member Testimonial: Mark Simon

December 22nd, 2014

Mark_final“In the short time I have been with First Source FCU I have been happier than the 10+ years I was with another well-known bank. The service I receive now is the way it should be. I opened my account earlier this year and asked at that time if I could deposit checks from my phone. I was told it was not up and running yet, but would be over the summer. This was really important to me because I usually don’t have time to go to the bank, so I like to do everything on the go whenever possible. To be honest, I deposit most checks from my car in between photo shoots. I’m a photographer.

I learned the good news that the ‘memberDEPOSIT’ mobile check deposit service was up and running in August through the First Source e-newsletter I get monthly. I was so excited! I already use the mobile app and enjoy the simplicity of it. I felt the deposit piece was the only thing lacking.

Having the ability to deposit checks from home, or work, or while standing on top of a mountain is the most convenient part of banking for me, especially with my busy schedule. I know everyone is different but for me, going inside the credit union feels archaic; everything down on paper with account numbers I need to remember and share numbers that I can get confused. The mobile app in general makes banking a daily thing for me as I can easily check my balances, transfer money, and deposit checks while on the go. Banking has actually become a joy rather than an errand. I recommend memberDEPOSIT to everyone I know and I will use it until the paper check is no longer used.”

– Mark Simon

First Source FCU Member

Protect your account while holiday shopping

December 15th, 2014

presents

Remember to be vigilant this holiday shopping season. Check your statements and transaction history often to ensure all the purchases are valid. Shopping from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday? Make sure you’re on a secure site. The url should start with “https”. The “s” is for “secure”. When it’s time to process the online payment, make sure there’s a security icon on the page; most often it appears as an image of a lock. But rest assured, as a First Source card holder, you are not liable for fraudulent purchases on your First Source credit or debit cards.


First Source FCU is not responsible for the content or availability of any external websites not operated by First Source FCU and linked to from this page. First Source FCU does not represent the operator of the linked website or the member should the two enter into a transaction. Privacy and Security policies of this site may differ from those of First Source FCU.








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