Protect Yourself from Elder Financial Abuse

ElderlyAbuse_Blog

What is Elder Financial Abuse? The Older Americans Act defines Elder Financial Exploitation as fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper actions by a caregiver, fiduciary, or other individual in which the resources of an older person are used by another for personal profit or gain; or actions that result in depriving an older person of the benefits, resources, belongings, or assets to which they are entitled.

A 2015 True Link Report, showed that each year seniors lose $36.48 billion to elder financial abuse¹. This is a widespread and rapidly growing problem so it’s important to protect yourself and know how to spot the scams and outsmart the scammers.

Tips to Help You Protect Yourself or Your Loved Ones Against Elder Financial Abuse

  • Do not share your Social Security number, account numbers, credit card numbers, or any passwords.
  • Use strong passwords with eight or more characters that include upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Create different passwords for different accounts. Do not use the same password for all of your accounts and do not allow your device (phone, computer, table, etc.) to remember or store your password.
  • Limit the account of personal information you share on social media sites and don’t “friend” or accept requests from people you don’t know. Be sure to review all of the privacy settings available to you.
  • Do not respond to email messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information and do not open email attachments or click on links within the email.
  • Do not access your bank accounts from a public computer or while connected to a public Wi-Fi Network.
  • Be sure you’re on a legitimate site. Type URL’s in your web browser when paying bills or making donations online. Do not click links or cut and paste from an email.
  • When shopping online be sure the website is secure. Secure sites will start with “https”. Sites that use encryption will display a padlock icon at the top or bottom of your browser.
  • Use credit cards for online purchases when possible. They usually limit the amount you’ll be responsible for in cases of identity theft. Debit card charges are immediately deducted from your bank account leaving little to no chance at recovering your money.
  • Never sign documents you don’t completely understand. Legitimate and reputable companies will give you time to review documents or contracts with your attorney or a family member you trust.
  • Do not provide personal information (social security numbers, accounts numbers, date of birth, credit card numbers, passwords, PIM numbers, etc.) over the phone unless you placed the call and you know who you’re speaking with.
  • Tear up or shred credit card receipts, bank statement, and financial records before throwing them away.

If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, notify the financial institution involved, you can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at: http://www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Visit our Consumer Security Tips page to learn more about scams and ways you can be proactive in protecting yourself.

¹True Link ( 2015) The True Link report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015 (PDF FILE) can be retrieved at: http://documents.truelinkfinancial.com/True-Link-Report-On-Elder-Financial-Abuse-012815.pdf

Business is a Breeze with a Local Bank that Wants to Help You Grow

Business is a Breeze with a Local Bank that Wants to Help You Grow

Hey there neighbor! Your business sure has flourished over all these years. Ready to take the next big step? As your local business bank we want to help you continue to grow in the right direction. At West Suburban Bank, we provide cash management assistance and loans for equipment, expansion, construction, and more. We offer it all with fast approvals by local staff who have your back.

Business banking really can be a breeze, so don’t sweat it.

Connect with Us!
Website: www.westsuburbanbank.com/CommunityBanking.php
Blog: www.westsuburbanbank.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WestSuburbank
Twitter: www.twitter.com/West_Suburban
Instagram: www.instagram.com/westsuburbanbank
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/west-suburban-bank

Mailing address:
711 S. Westmore-Meyers Road
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 630-652-2000

The Simple Switch to Digital Banking

The Simple Switch to Digital Banking

Prefer doing things on your own time? At West Suburban Bank, we offer digital banking whenever you need. Swap traditional banking for digital banking anytime your want. We’ll be ready when you are.

Connect with Us!
Website: www.westsuburbanbank.com/CommunityBanking.php
Blog: www.westsuburbanbank.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WestSuburbank
Twitter: www.twitter.com/West_Suburban
Instagram: www.instagram.com/westsuburbanbank
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/west-suburban-bank

Mailing address:
711 S. Westmore-Meyers Road
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 630-652-2000

 

Spring Cleaning Tips: Get Ready for Warmer Weather

HELOC_Spring_Blog

Spring is just around the corner. This is the time of year we can’t wait to break out of the house and enjoy the fresh, new season. It’s also the perfect time to get your home ready so once the warmer weather comes, you’re ready to sit back and enjoy the great outdoors.

Here’s some simple tips to get your home ready:

Interior Spring Cleaning

It’s easy to become lazy in the winter, but now is the time to get the inside of your house ready for Spring. Start cleaning all the neglected areas of your house i.e., clean ceiling fans, sweep the cobwebs, wash the windows and clean out the fireplace. Once you’re done cleaning every inch of the house, you’ll feel accomplished and will look to Spring with even more excitement.

Check your emergency systems

Just like preparing for the winter, you’ll also want to prepare for the nicer weather by checking your emergency home systems. Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly by changing the batteries, check the batteries on your home alarm and check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers.

Exterior Spring Cleaning

During the upcoming warmer days, take the opportunity to start getting the exterior of your house ready for Spring. Clean out the gutters and downspouts, rake up any leaves, walk the yard and pick up tree branches and debris, and check the weather-stripping around the windows and doors.

Consider larger Home Improvement projects

Once you have everything clean and ready for Spring, it just might be the perfect time to make some home improvements that you’ve been putting off for years. Maybe it’s time for some new landscaping, a new deck or patio or time to replace the roof. These projects can really add up, but also can make a big difference to your home. West Suburban Bank offers an affordable solution with a Home Equity Line of Credit. Check out West Suburban Bank’s current promotion and get started! The warmer weather is on its way!

Protect Yourself While Shopping Online

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Many consumers will do some, if not most, of their holiday shopping on the Internet. According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper will do 44% of their holiday shopping online, most in survey’s history. But as more consumers turn to the Internet to do their shopping so do the fraudsters with their scams. West Suburban Bank® suggests that consumers follow some simple steps to protect themselves while shopping online

Some people like to shop online because of the convenience and others like the exclusive sales available only on the Web. Whatever the reason, we all have to take steps to protect ourselves and our financial information. Don’t let the spirit of the season get ruined by online fraud.

West Suburban Bank offers the following tips:

If you’re not sure, don’t share. Anyone can set up a website these days so be sure you’re familiar with the retailer’s site before you give them any of your financial information. The Better Business Bureau has a list of about 70,000 safe websites. Check it out at: http://www.bbb.org/online/consumer/default.aspx

Is the site secure? Look for the ‘s’ in https:// and a small padlock at the bottom of the screen before entering any payment information.

Know the terms of your purchase. Is the product returnable and if so, who pays the shipping fees? How long will the product take to ship? What does shipping cost? Read the fine print. If it’s not clear or you don’t agree, make the purchase elsewhere.

Print & Save. Be sure to print and save the transaction receipt, the order number, a customer service phone number, and any other information you can just in case there’s a problem with your order.

Check the privacy policy. Find out what they’re doing with your information by reading the privacy policy. If it’s too complicated to read or they don’t have one, choose to do business with a more consumer friendly website.

TMI. Don’t divulge too much information to anyone on the Internet. If a website is asking for your bank account number, social security number or driver’s license number, don’t share it.

Know your rights. If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, notify the financial institution involved, you can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at: http://www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Visit our Consumer Security Tips page to learn more about the ways you can be proactive in protecting your accounts.

Is it time to Refinance Your Home?

Refinance_Blog

There are many reasons why homeowners choose to refinance their home. You can save time and money by lowering your rate or shortening the term on your loan. If you have equity in your home, you may even qualify to take out additional funds to use for other expenses, such as tuition, a new car or a home improvement project.

Typically, you would refinance to lower your rate, or perhaps you have a variable rate and want to get a fixed rate so you do not have to worry about the uncertainty of your rate going up during the term of the loan. You will also want to factor in mortgage closing costs, application fees, appraisal fees and other charges that may significantly eat up your savings.

Another possibility, if you’re looking to refinance your mortgage is to consider a home equity loan. If you qualify to refinance your first mortgage with a home equity loan, you could potentially save thousands in closing costs and other fees.

Run the numbers and see how much you will saving in the end. You can find mortgage calculator online to help you. When you are reviewing your mortgage, you should consider rates, types of mortgages, monthly payments, fees associate with the loan, closing costs, and how long you plan to be in your home. There are plenty of reasons to refinance your home; however, some of them may not be beneficial. Before you make the decision to refinance, you should evaluate your long-term financial goals.