8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2016, there were 15.4 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Research. We recommend following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.tips-to-protect-you-from-identity-fraud

  1. Don’t share your secrets.

Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

  1. Shred sensitive papers.

Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

  1. Keep an eye out for missing mail.

Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

  1. Use online banking to protect yourself.

Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.

  1. Monitor your credit report.

Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!.

  1. Protect your computer.

Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

  1. Protect your mobile device.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

  1. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Streaming TV Can Be a Money Saver Compared to Cable

First there was broadcast TV, which consists of basic channels like CBS, ABC, NBC, and PBS. It’s considered “free TV” because all you need is an antenna to watch programming, since advertisers fund your viewing pleasure.
Male hand holding TV remote control.

Then along came cable TV, which delivers television programming through a coaxial cable system to paying subscribers. Cable providers include Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and COX.

While cable TV provides a broader spectrum of programming than broadcast television, that extra programming comes at a cost. And that cost seems to be climbing higher and higher. According to a report by Leichtman Research Group, the average American household with cable pays $103 a month for the service. Imagine if you could turn that $103 monthly bill into a $12 or $20 monthly charge? Your savings account would thank you!

The good news is that cutting out the cost of cable is easier than ever before, thanks to a wide variety of video streaming services that allow you to watch your favorite programming at a fraction of the cost. From Netflix to Hulu, the variety of video streaming services is mind-boggling. And the competition seems to grow every day.

So what is a video streaming service? It’s basically an on-demand online entertainment source for TV shows, movies and other media. If you have a computer, smart phone, or electronic tablet, you can take advantage of video streaming. The services you decide to use will depend on what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend. But the bottom line is that video streaming services are starting to replace cable TV for a lot of Americans.

NetflixAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon! is a popular choice, with countless movies, television series, children’s programming, and documentaries to choose from. Netflix offers three different pricing tiers to suit your needs. Their “Basic” plan is $7.99 per month and allows you to stream video content on one device at a time in Standard Definition. If HD is more of your thing, you can try their $9.99 per month “Standard” plan, which allows High-Definition viewing, and streaming on up to 2 devices at the same time. And they also offer a “Premium” plan for $11.99 per month that allows you to stream on up to 4 devices at a time in HD.

If you’re looking to get a lot of bang for your buck, you may want to look into Amazon Prime VideoAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!, which comes included with an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Prime Video gives you access to a wide array of television series and movies, and your $99 per year Amazon Prime membership also grants you access to free two-day shipping on eligible purchases on Amazon.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!, the ability to borrow free e-books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, commercial-free access to Prime Music, and unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos.

HuluAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon! is another option, which allows you to watch episodes from both current and past seasons of your favorite TV shows. They also offer access to movies, and Hulu-original programming. Access to the service costs only $7.99 month, and if you’d like to eliminate commercials you can do so by paying $2 more a month. And if you’ve been hanging onto cable because you just can’t part with HBO or Showtime, you can add those to your Hulu subscription as well! Hulu even has a new live-TV package for $39.99 per month. “Hulu with Live TV” includes Hulu’s regular on-demand video streaming, but also allows you to stream live television channels to supported devices such as Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, Fire TV, and Roku.

Slightly newer services that also offer live TV streaming include Sling TVAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!, owned by Dish Network, and YouTube TVAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!, a paid-subscription version of the popular website.

The traditional networks like CBS and ABC have jumped onto the streaming bandwagon, too. By visiting their websites, or downloading their apps, you can tap into shows that recently aired. And premium cable channels like HBO, Starz and Showtime are in on the game too. All of them offer stand-alone paid viewing packages that give you access to a broad selection of original programs, special shows, and movies.

So if you’ve been debating whether to stash away some significant money each month by ditching your high-cost cable provider, there’s not much to debate anymore. Streaming is the new way to save!

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Learning how to identify online fraud and understanding how fraudulent activity happens helps with prevention. Here are some past blog posts with information on identity theft and prevention.october-is-national-cybersecurity-awareness-month

 
How to Avoid a ‘Card Cracking’ Scam
What You Need to Know about Ransomware
3 Ways to Verify a Legitimate E-mail

 
Check back every Tuesday for the month of October for blog posts with tips and information on protecting yourself from cybersecurity.

 

FDIC Limits and How to Insure Excess Deposits

Peace of mind. That’s what you want when you place your money in a bank or savings institution. You want to know that your money is safe and sound, and chances are you’ve heard about FDIC insurance and know that it’s there to protect your dollars. What you may not know is exactly what the coverage limits are with FDIC insurance, and that there are full-coverage options available for your deposits – outside of the FDIC.fdic-limits-insure-excess-deposits

Most U.S. banks are members of the FDIC, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The purpose of the FDIC is to protect your deposits in the event of a bank failure. If an FDIC-insured institution fails, each customer there will have their deposits protected, up to $250,000. FDIC insurance covers all types of deposit accounts, including certificates of deposit (also known as CDs), checking and savings accounts, as well as money markets and some types of retirement accounts. It does not however cover investment accounts such as stocks, bonds or mutual funds, or life insurance policies, even if you purchased those products from an FDIC-insured bank.

FDIC insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and since the FDIC’s creation, no depositor has ever lost a penny of their FDIC-insured deposits. But what about depositors that have more than $250,000 in a bank account? One way to insure excess deposits is through the Depositors Insurance Fund – commonly referred to as DIF.

The Depositors Insurance Fund is a private insurance fund that provides supplemental protection for funds deposited with Massachusetts-chartered savings banks. The good news is that if you don’t live in Massachusetts, you can still reap the benefits of DIF coverage. The Depositors Insurance Fund does not impose any residency restrictions, so as long as a DIF member bankAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon! accepts out-of-state deposits, you can open an account there and have your deposits covered in full.

Another way to obtain DIF coverage is to open an account with an online bank that is tied to a Massachusetts-chartered savings bank. For example, Bank5 Connect is an online bank that is a division of BankFive, a DIF member bank located in Fall River, Massachusetts. So, all deposits placed in a Bank5 Connect account are covered by DIF, regardless of which state the depositor resides in.

When you open a deposit account at a DIF member bank, DIF insurance automatically kicks in. There are no forms or applications to fill out, and there are no fees or surcharges required to obtain coverage.

In the event of a bank failure, the Depositors Insurance Fund works very closely with the FDIC. After a bank goes under, the priority for both organizations is to ensure depositors get their funds as quickly as possible. In addition, the DIF and the FDIC work together to determine what portion of the deposits are the FDIC’s responsibility and what portion will be paid out by the DIF.

To learn more about DIF coverage at Bank5 Connect, visit http://www.bank5connect.com/home/misc/fully-insured-deposits.

For more general information about FDIC and DIF coverage, go to:

http://www.FDIC.govAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!

http://www.DIFxs.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Having Several Bank Accounts

Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of having multiple bank accounts?

The answer? That depends on you and your individual needs. But to get a better understanding of the pros and cons, let’s take a look at both sides of the equation.Large group of pink piggy banks

Multiple banks accounts can help you with:

  • Keeping long-term and short-term financial goals separate. It may make sense to have separate accounts for each of your major financial goals, rather than muddy the waters by lumping all of your funds into one account. Long-term savings goals might include saving for retirement or buying a home, while short-term objectives could include putting aside money for a dream vacation or home renovations.
  • Separating business finances from personal finances. A business owner is better equipped to track their company’s finances by having an account separate from their personal ones. Plus it makes sense from an accounting perspective.
  • Taking advantage of tax incentives. If you itemize your deductions, if could be helpful to have separate accounts to keep track of certain expenses like healthcare, work-related costs, or education.
  • Saving for your dependents. It’s never too early to set up accounts for your children. For instance, a savings account in their name will encourage them to do just that – save. But keep in mind that most bank accounts established for a minor will have to be held jointly with a parent or guardian.
  • Creating an emergency fund. Financial experts recommend setting aside three to six months of regular income for emergency situations. Placing that money in a separate savings account would be a wise move, especially if the account yields high interest.

So what are some of the drawbacks of having too many accounts?

  • More accounts to monitor. Any bank account you have needs to be checked on a regular basis to ensure you don’t overdraft your account, and so you can spot any errors or suspicious activity in a timely fashion. If you find it difficult to manage the accounts you already have, it’s probably not a good idea to add more accounts to the mix.
  • Could potentially result in more fees to pay. Depending on the types of accounts you’re looking to open, you could end up paying more fees each month. Before you open new accounts, be sure you fully understand what fees, if any, are associated with them, such as monthly maintenance fees, or minimum balance fees.
  • Potential impact to your credit score. For the most part, having multiple bank accounts won’t cause damage to your credit history, however there are some specific instances where it could be affected by new accounts:
    • Some financial institutions require a pull of your credit report before they will open a new account for you. This type of “hard inquiry” doesn’t generally have much noticeable impact on your credit score, but having your credit report pulled by multiple financial institutions over a short period of time could temporarily drop your score.
    • If an account reaches a negative balance and stays there for a long period of time, the bank could consider it a delinquency and refer it to a collections agency to retrieve the amount owed. The agency, in turn, may report this delinquency to the three credit bureaus, resulting in a negative mark on your credit score.

Whether you decide to utilize multiple bank accounts to manage your finances, or keep it simple with just one or two accounts, knowing the pros and cons of both options will help you to make the decision that’s right for you.

CD Laddering Helps Provide An Investment Balance

Striking a balance between having investments that provide solid returns while still having financial flexibility can be a challenge. But an approach called CD laddering can help you maintain that balancing act.cd-laddering-helps-provide-investment-balance

First, a little refresher about CDs, or certificates of deposit. A CD is also known as a “time deposit” or a “term deposit” because it’s set for a certain period of time. The depositor can choose which term they want to go into. CDs are a great way to earn a competitive interest rate and not have to think about setting money aside on a weekly or monthly basis like you would with a savings account.

Essentially, you put your money in the bank and you know that after the period of time your CD is locked into expires, you’ll be able to get your money back with interest that is guaranteed and fixed. There are short-term and long-term CDs available at most banks. Short-term CDs can range from 6 months to a year, while longer terms typically range between 18 months and 5 years.

You can access money in your CDs before they are fully matured, but be prepared to pay a penalty for early withdrawal. But this is where CD laddering can help provide financial flexibility.

CD laddering is a great way to be able to have money tucked away and earning a competitive interest rate, but also have access to the funds at regular intervals. There are a lot of different ways to approach CD laddering, depending on the individual’s investment strategy.

CD laddering involves buying a series of CDs at regular intervals so that they’ll mature at regular intervals as well. So over the course of the CDs’ maturity you have access to funds on an ongoing basis.

For instance, three CDs are opened at different maturity levels – one for 6 months, another for 12 months, and a third for 24 months. When the 6-month CD comes due, you can either cash it out or roll the funds over into another CD.

Using this approach, you regularly have a CD maturing, and its funds becoming available. If you decide you want to only use a portion of the funds once the CD matures, you could take out the interest that you’ve earned and roll over the principal into a new CD.

If you have some CDs that are shorter term with a lower interest rate and some that are longer term with a higher interest rate, you benefit because if you average out all the rates, it’s as if you had a longer term CD all along. That’s why financial experts advise having a mix of both.

Some people have found CD laddering useful as a source for emergency funds. For instance, money set aside for emergencies could be invested in a series of 6-month CDs that are opened once every month over the course of 6 months. When a CD matures, it can either be rolled over into another 6-month CD or cashed out, if necessary, for emergency purposes. Basically this creates a perpetual emergency fund, and the money that’s invested earns a higher interest rate than what would typically be earned in a regular savings account.

Generally speaking, however, CD laddering typically involves rolling over short-term CDs to longer terms at higher interest rates. In the end, you have several CDs with long terms, but they mature at regular intervals, giving you access to funds if you need them.

To learn more about the CDs that are available at Bank5 Connect, go to http://www.bank5connect.com/home/cds. And while CD laddering may fit in nicely with your overall investment strategy, remember that it’s always wise to consult with a tax advisor before making any major financial decisions.

Equifax Data Breach – What to Do after a Compromise

You’ve likely heard about the recent Equifax data breach, which is thought to affect nearly half of the country’s population. The breach at Equifax isn’t the first time sensitive personal information has been compromised, and unfortunately it won’t be the last. Data breaches are compromises are on the rise – so what do you do?
computer security breach

First, you should check with the company that suffered the breach – they may have instructions and offer free credit monitoring services. You can find more information about the Equifax breach here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/As a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon!.

If you believe your social security number was breached, it’s also a good idea to notify the three major national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and ask to have a fraud alertAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon! placed on your credit report. A fraud alert requires creditors to verify your identity before approving any new credit. You can contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus at:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742

Monitor your credit report regularly following the loss. Every year you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, and you can stagger those free reports so you have access to one every four months. You can access your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon!.

Check your credit report for any irregularities, including accounts you didn’t open, addresses or aliases you don’t recognize, or hard inquiries you didn’t initiate or permit.

If you’re particularly worried about becoming a victim of identity theft following the loss of your wallet, you may get some peace of mind by placing a security freezeAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.BankFive.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of BankFive.com. Come back soon! on your credit file, or enrolling in a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service like LifeLock. Each of the three major credit bureaus also offer similar monitoring services.

It’s also a good idea to monitor your bank and credit card accounts closely following a breach. If you notice anything suspicious related to your Bank5 Connect accounts, please contact us immediately at 1-855-552-2655.