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BBB Alert: Avoid Black Friday Scammers

BBB Alert: Avoid Black Friday Scammers

November 23, 2022

Rockford, IL – November 23, 2022 – Black Friday, traditionally the single busiest combined online and in-person shopping day of the year, arrives a little earlier this year, with many stores already advertising Black Friday prices. Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau says, “This always is a time where emotions run high and, to snap up a great deal people often rush their decisions. This can lead to buyer’s remorse if a fast decision leads to getting scammed online, or buying an item that shoppers end up deciding they didn’t want or dealing with a company that turns out to be substandard. The lowest price is not always the best deal; working with companies you know, and trust is invaluable.”
 

4 Year-End Tips for IRA Owners

4 Year-End Tips for IRA Owners

November 21, 2022

As 2022 comes to an end, here's advice that can save you money, help you avoid penalties, and ensure that your IRA (individual retirement account) proceeds are distributed as you wish.
 

Virtual Bank Robbers Sending Victims Fake Banking Notices

Virtual Bank Robbers Sending Victims Fake Banking Notices

November 7, 2022

Rockford, IL – November 2, 2022 – Have you ever wondered why you are getting texts, emails, or even voicemails from a credit union or bank you don’t even do business with. Scammers use a shotgun approach to push impostor emails and texts from banks trying to rob personal identity and drain victim accounts.

The Better Business Bureau says that one of scammers' favorite tactics is impersonating a person or organization you know and trust. “That's the premise of this new text message scam, which has been popping up in recent BBB Scam Tracker reports,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of BBB. “This time, con artists are impersonating your bank.”

Don't Get Caught in a Cryptocurrency Scam

Don't Get Caught in a Cryptocurrency Scam

October 20, 2022

Scammers follow the money, and this holds true for digital money as well. There are dozens of scams that use cryptocurrency to con people out of their money and their information. As a non-regulated currency, stolen crypto is virtually impossible to reclaim. Here are five crypto scams to know:
 

All You Need to Know about Money Market Accounts

All You Need to Know about Money Market Accounts

October 4, 2022

Money market accounts offer many convenient features of checking accounts, with an attractive rate of return to help your money grow. Here’s all you need to know about money market accounts. 
 

BBB Alerts Consumers to “Check Washing” Fraud

BBB Alerts Consumers to “Check Washing” Fraud

September 21, 2022

For Scammers, it's a Blank Check to Steal Money!
Rockford, IL – Sept. 21, 2022 – BBB is alerting consumers to sign checks only with indelible black ink after a growing trend in what authorities call “check washing.” Scammers can take you to the cleaners by washing checks in a simple bath of household chemicals to erase the original name and dollar amount written on the check.

Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau says, “Scammers wash and then write in any name and any sum of money they want, cash it, and in an instant, your money can be gone. The process leaves a blank space where the “Pay to” name and dollar amount used to be. A simple $25 birthday check can be converted into a $2,500 check. Experts estimate it’s a $815 million business and growing. “

Scammers Go into Overtime to Cash in on Sports Betting Excitement

Scammers Go into Overtime to Cash in on Sports Betting Excitement

September 19, 2022

Fan fever runs hot for betting and micro betting
Rockford, IL – Sept. 13, 2022 – With all the excitement of the new NFL and college football season, Better Business Bureau is alerting sports fans about sports betting scams. “The popularity of sports betting has exploded, and scammers developed more tricks to score a touchdown with your hard-earned cash,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.

“A new, hot-targeted type of betting, called micro betting, is taking hold,” notes Horton. “Micro betting is wagering on the outcome of very specific, individual short-term plays during the game, such as who will get the ball or how many yards will be gained. You are not just betting on which team will win.”
 

Student Loan Forgiveness is Here – So are the Scammers

Student Loan Forgiveness is Here – So are the Scammers

August 30, 2022

Rockford, IL – August 26, 2022 - The Biden Administration recently announced that the federal government will cancel up to $20,000 of Federal student loans per person. Millions of Americans will be recipients of the student loan debt relief. The Better Business Bureau says unfortunately, this creates an excellent opportunity for scammers and incidents are already being reported. See our recent warning about student loan forgiveness scams. Read further of BBB Tips to avoid student loan forgiveness scams.

Get-rich-quick scheme uses “Deepfake” technology to impersonate celebrities, politicians, business leaders

Get-rich-quick scheme uses “Deepfake” technology to impersonate celebrities, politicians, business leaders

July 25, 2022

Rockford, IL – July 20, 2022 – New technology makes it nearly impossible to tell fake video or audio clips from real ones. The Deepfake technology creates fake videos and photos and can even edit verbal messages. As the software used to create these “deepfakes” becomes more widespread, scammers will use it to their advantage to steal money and sensitive information. Fake ads and endorsements are common on the internet, but now scammers with the proper technology can create an altered message making a video endorsement look real. 
“Seeing is no longer believing when it comes to what you may be viewing or hearing on the internet,“ says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. Click here to continue reading.

How to Protect Yourself against Zelle Scams

How to Protect Yourself against Zelle Scams

July 14, 2022

Zelle is the latest tech to be targeted by scammers. As with anything that is widely used, scammers have latched onto the tech and are targeting consumers. Here’s what you should know.

The Basics

Zelle is a popular person-to-person payment service because it has the backing of major banks and hundreds of credit unions. It works similar to many payment apps — you log into your bank or credit union account and send money by entering the recipient’s phone number or email address. Click the Title to learn how to protect yourself.

Fraudsters Fire Up Fear Factor on Money and ID Thefts

Fraudsters Fire Up Fear Factor on Money and ID Thefts

July 1, 2022

Law Enforcement Impostors text/email altered police badges to trick victims
Rockford, IL – June 30, 2022 – Scammers are impersonating both local and national law enforcement officers to increase threat levels to steal your money and identity. Better Business Bureau says to watch out for a new twist in these scams. Con artists are using doctored images online of “police badges” and other fake but “official-looking” credentials to gain your trust.
“This new trick makes the con artist more believable,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “It can take people off guard as an extra scare tactic. Fear can cloud judgment, and it’s easy to think it’s important to follow instructions because it’s the police.”
How the scam works. Click on title to read complete article.

Big Money Questions Before Marriage

Big Money Questions Before Marriage

June 29, 2022

No matter how well you and your significant other jibed while dating, marriage brings new things to think about—and money is one of them. Ironing out any potential sources of friction makes for a happier couple. Get the conversation rolling and ask these questions before marriage: Click on title for full article.
 

NEW BBB STUDY REVEALS SCAMMERS IMPERSONATING GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SPIKING

NEW BBB STUDY REVEALS SCAMMERS IMPERSONATING GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SPIKING

June 2, 2022

Scammers Use Threats and Fake Grants

Rockford, IL – June 2, 2022 – A new Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) study update released today shows scammers are pretending to be the Social Security Administration, IRS, Medicare or some other government agency to trick you out of money. They threaten arrest if you don’t give up your bank account info to pay a fee right away. Con artists also might say you are eligible for a government grant, but a fee is required to obtain it.

"These are all scams, do not respond to these impostors,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “The con artists want your money and personal information to steal your identity. BBB is warning the public to use caution if they are contacted by a government agency demanding money or offering a government grant for a fee.” Click Title Above for full article.

Middle Schoolers: Be a Wise Newbie Borrower

Middle Schoolers: Be a Wise Newbie Borrower

May 25, 2022

When you’re in middle school, your earning potential is pretty low. You’re too young for a part-time job but too old for a lemonade stand. So, saving money for big-ticket purchases is going to take some time. This is why you should consider borrowing. Ask your parents to loan you the money for the item you want to buy. If they agree, draw up a detailed payment plan which states how much you will pay them week or month until the loan is paid off. Read more by clicking on link above.
 

Secure your Mobile Wallet

Secure your Mobile Wallet

May 19, 2022

There are many mobile applications that allow you to carry out most of your personal finance transactions online and on the go. To keep your financial data safe, keep these security tips in mind:
  • Enable a passcode/password on your phone. This will ensure that no one else can simply pick up your phone and access your personal information.
  • Enable the auto-lock feature on your phone. This will lock your phone after a certain period of inactivity. Use auto-lock with a password to make sure no one else can access your phone.
  • Make sure your security software is up-to-date. When your network carrier sends you alerts that a security or operating system update is available, download it as soon as possible.
  • Watch for fake texts or other messages telling you to go to a site or call in. Spam messages can open the door to malware, which software hackers use to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.
  • Only install applications from trusted sources. Use Google Play Store or Apple App Store and avoid installing apps from unknown sources.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. The information you send over public Wi-Fi can potentially be seen by others using the network—including hackers. Instead, use your mobile carrier’s network when accessing confidential information.
  • Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-fi when not in use. Leaving them on when you are out in public leaves your phone vulnerable to hackers. Only connect to trusted networks.
Download the free Cornerstone CU App from GooglePlay or the App Store.
 
 

Benefits of Health Savings Accounts

Benefits of Health Savings Accounts

May 3, 2022

Health savings accounts (HSAs) are tax-advantaged savings accounts that were created to help people save for future medical expenses. You can use an HSA to cover deductible expenses, co-pays, and—for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. Read more by clicking link above.
 

Money Smart Week Recordings

Money Smart Week Recordings

April 28, 2022

Recordings of all Money Smart Week 2022 events are now available at www.moneysmartweek.org and include options for closed and Spanish captions. 

Access each event recording and related resources directly using the links below:

Keep an eye out for this new iPhone phishing scam

Keep an eye out for this new iPhone phishing scam

April 25, 2022

Rockford, IL – April 22, 2022 – The Better Business Bureau is getting reports of phony emails that appear to be a receipt for a new iPhone…. that you didn't buy. “If you get this email, do not respond,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “This phishing scam looks like an honest mistake, but it’s not. Scammers are hoping you’ll panic and contact them to correct the ‘error.’” Click above title to learn how the scam works.

Enjoy the Convenience of Mobile Banking & eStatements

Enjoy the Convenience of Mobile Banking & eStatements

April 21, 2022

You probably know that you are able to safely access your credit union accounts or transfer money anytime from your computer or smartphone, but maybe you're not aware of all of the conveniences and security of mobile banking. Click the title above for full article.

Retirement Products & Terms to Know

Retirement Products & Terms to Know

April 20, 2022

Retirement Products and Terms to Know
Planning for retirement doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing. Here's a list of retirement terms that can help clarify questions you may have:
401(k): Retirement savings plan funded by employee contributions and, often, by partially matching contributions from the employer. Most 401(k) contributions are made on a tax-deferred basis. Interest, dividends, and capital gains generally accumulate tax-free until you withdraw them. Click link above for the rest of the article. 
 

Should I Offer Financial Support for my Adult Child?

Should I Offer Financial Support for my Adult Child?

April 11, 2022

Q: My adult child is going through some financial difficulties. I’d love to help them out of this tight spot, but I’m wondering if this is a wise choice. Should I offer financial support to my adult child?

A: In recent years, newly minted adults have become more dependent on their parents. According to a report by Merrill, more than three-quarters of parents in the U.S. provide financial support to their adult children. This includes allowing their kids to live at home, covering student loan bills, paying for their phone/data plans and more. This development is likely due to high amounts of student loan debt, low starting salaries and the increasing cost of housing. All of these factors, and more, make finances especially challenging for many young adults. Of course, parents will naturally want what’s best for their children, so they are often quick to offer financial assistance.  Read more.

BBB Tips to Avoid Rips-Offs for Opening of Baseball and Concert Season

BBB Tips to Avoid Rips-Offs for Opening of Baseball and Concert Season

April 7, 2022

Baseball season starts this week, and with home openers for the Cubs on April 7th and the White Sox on April 12th, baseball fans will crave to be part of the action after a long winter. Nothing can match the excitement of an opening day other than playoff baseball, and scammers will come out of hibernation with fake tickets and memorabilia for baseball and concert season. With Lollapalooza and other summer concert ticket sales open, many fans are looking for tickets to games and concerts now and in the months to come. The Better Business Bureau is warning fans to be on the lookout for fake websites, tickets, and merchandise. Many online platforms are already flooded with tickets for sale. Read more.
 

BBB Alert: An Innocent Wrong Text--May Not be Innocent

BBB Alert: An Innocent Wrong Text--May Not be Innocent

March 22, 2022

Rockford, IL – March 21st – A new text message scam is sweeping the nation and seems so innocent that it’s tempting to reply. But con artists are using phony “wrong number” texts to lure victims into conversation and falling for a scam. There have been widespread concerns on Facebook and other social media platform posts that this may actually involve sex trafficking. At this point, law enforcement and government don’t think that’s true, but it hasn’t stopped that type of social media post from being shared over 250,000 times as of Friday.

A Personal Debt Assessment: Your Financial Life Preserver

A Personal Debt Assessment: Your Financial Life Preserver

February 22, 2022

Do you feel like you're drowning in debt? Trust your instincts. The national average credit card debt per household is $5,700. About 41.2% of households carry a balance on credit cards from month to month. Our reliance on plastic and other forms of credit makes life difficult for families struggling to make ends meet.

Even if you're still in shallow water, a personal debt assessment may be just the financial life preserver you need to keep your debt from spiraling out of control. How do you know if you need a debt assessment? Ask yourself whether you're experiencing these warning signs:
 

Take a Facebook Quiz and Scammers may take your ID info

Take a Facebook Quiz and Scammers may take your ID info

February 3, 2022

ID thieves may use your right answers for all the wrong reasons
Rockford, IL – Feb. 1, 2022 – Social media is used as a fun distraction for some people and taking a Facebook quiz may seem like a harmless way to pass the time. But are you giving away more information than you think? Better Business Bureau says “yes.”

Not all social media quizzes are data collection scams; however, BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online and check the account's privacy settings.

“Specific, personal information about you is a gold mine for con artists,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family.”

28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

February 1, 2022

Since the 1970s, the month of February has been designated as the time to celebrate and commemorate Black history. Schools, television networks and private organizations use this month to increase awareness and to educate people about the rich history of Black Americans.
There are so many ways to celebrate! We challenge you to do one thing for Black History Month on each of the 28 days of February. Here are 28 ideas to help get you started:
 

BBB Alert - Avoid an App Attack!

BBB Alert - Avoid an App Attack!

January 27, 2022

Rockford, IL – Jan 25, 2022 – APP scams are becoming more common as reports come into the BBB Scamtracker. From passwords to banking details, you store important personal information on your mobile devices. Unfortunately, scammers are lurking on the app stores of Apple and Google and using various techniques like pop-up ads and emails on the hunt for victims.

Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau, says, “Trusted app stores don’t eliminate the threat of app scams, but they do offer a higher level of protection. You are much more likely to download an app that will send spam messages or expose your phone number if you download it from an unofficial or little-known app store.”

All you need to know about the Metaverse and NFTs

All you need to know about the Metaverse and NFTs

January 25, 2022

If a time-traveler from the 19th century landed in your living room, you’d likely have a hard time explaining the way our world works – especially the way we deal with finances. Your visitor can watch as you hold an oblong object in your hands and proceed to order a full summer wardrobe, new bedroom furniture or maybe even airline tickets. Who would have imagined we’d be able to do all that and more or without ever touching a dollar bill, coin or even a credit card?

But the changes to the way we handle our money continue, and the world of finance evolves along with technology in the most incredible ways. Let’s take a look at two major innovations in the world of technology and finance, as well as how they may affect us in the very near future: the metaverse and NFTs.
 

BBB Warning: Covid-19 Website Rollout Scams

BBB Warning: Covid-19 Website Rollout Scams

January 20, 2022

Scammers expected to capitalize on federal government’s free Covid-19 test kit offer
Rockford, IL – January 19, 2022 – The government has rolled out their website to order free test kits that will start to be delivered in late January. Better Business Bureau is alerting the public that scammers are expected to create all kinds of cons to trick the public. “Since the very beginning of the pandemic, BBB has seen scams revolving around every type of COVID PPE, testing and vaccinations,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “With the website rollout, scammers have a new opportunity to con individuals into giving them private health, financial and insurance information. Do not fall for it.”

BBB has tips to help avoid these scams:
 

When the Chips are Down, Some Car Warranty Frauds May Rip You Off

When the Chips are Down, Some Car Warranty Frauds May Rip You Off

January 18, 2022

Rockford, IL – January 18, 2022 – Production of new cars is down, and prices are up. That situation has prompted many consumers who are in the market for a new vehicle to keep what they have. There are many highly rated and legitimate car warranty companies that provide valuable services. Consumers count on these safeguards to help cover repairs of major components, engines, transmissions, etc. Not all warranties are bogus, however these conditions have created the perfect opening for auto warranty scammers.

“Car warranty scammers try to take advantage of vehicle owners’ fears that, someday, they’ll have to pay a lot of money to replace a broken or worn-out part,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.

Compound Interest - What is it?

Compound Interest - What is it?

January 6, 2022

Why not make your money work for you? One of the easiest ways is to take advantage of compound interest. Here's how it works to help you increase your savings and keep your debt low. When you open an interest-bearing account (like savings, CDs, IRAs), your credit union pays you interest on the money you deposit, as well as on the interest it earns. Basically, you earn interest on the interest. Albert Einstein is claimed to have said that compound interest “is the 8th wonder of the world.” Ben Franklin described it this way: “Money makes money. And the money that money makes, makes money.” Read more.
 

Money Market Know-how

Money Market Know-how

December 13, 2021

At Cornerstone CU, we offer our members a wide variety of financial products and services to help you manage, save and grow your money. Savings accounts and share certificates are the ideal choice for money you won’t need to access for a while, and checking accounts are the perfect home for funds to cover day-to-day expenses. However, you may be seeking an account that blends the best of savings and checking accounts. Money market accounts offer many of the convenient features of checking accounts along with an attractive rate of return to help your money grow.
 
Click on title above for all you need to know about money market accounts:
 

Online Shopping Scams Surging

Online Shopping Scams Surging

December 8, 2021

Rockford, IL – Dec 2, 2021 - A shift toward online shopping during COVID-19, global supply chain crisis, and a resurging economy have all created a recipe for a breakneck holiday shopping season. Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office says, “This is a year where online shopping fraud poses a tremendous risk to consumers. Our eye-opening new Better Business Bureau® (BBB ®) study finds online purchase scams have skyrocketed during the pandemic, and social media ads play a key role in the mushrooming problem.”
 

BBB Alert – Surging Prices Expected to Spike 2021 Holiday Travel Scams

BBB Alert – Surging Prices Expected to Spike 2021 Holiday Travel Scams

November 23, 2021

The holiday travel period is expected to follow the same pattern as the chaotic summer, and you should expect a few surprises. You can’t predict them, but you can prepare for them and that includes avoiding scams.

With flights, rental cars, and lodging all increasing, people will be on the outlook for “deals.” You may get a call, a text message, or a flyer in the mail. Or maybe you may see an online ad promising free or low-cost vacations. Scammers and dishonest people are often behind these offers. You may end up paying hidden fees — or worse: after you pay, you might find out it’s all a scam.

What to Expect this Holiday Shopping Season

What to Expect this Holiday Shopping Season

October 27, 2021

The holidays are coming and it’s time to hit the shops! Retailers and consumers around the nation are anticipating a holiday season that’s a lot closer to pre-pandemic days than last year’s festivities. Unfortunately, though, suppliers are cautioning consumers to expect supply shortages, shipping delays and higher price tags than ever. With that in mind, here’s a look at what you might expect to see this holiday shopping season.
 

5 Steps to Take After a Data breach

5 Steps to Take After a Data breach

October 19, 2021

Data breaches show up in the news almost as often as celebrity couple breakups. According to Risk Based Security’s Mid-Year Data BreachReport, there were 1,767 publicly reported breaches in the first half of 2021, exposing 18.8 billion records. One of the most far-reaching of these breaches was the T-Mobile data breach in August, which has impacted more than 50 million people. 
 
A data breach exposes confidential information of its victims, which can include Social Security numbers, account information, credit card numbers, passwords and more. If your personal information has been compromised by the T-Mobile data breach or another exposure, take these five steps to mitigate the damage. 
 

BBB Alert: Scammers impersonate your Facebook friends

BBB Alert: Scammers impersonate your Facebook friends

October 14, 2021

Rockford, IL – October 12, 2021 – Did you get a message or request from a Facebook friend? It could be fake. The Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers that scammers are setting up fake Facebook “friend” webpages to steal your money and personal information. Statista.com estimated 16% of all Facebook accounts in 2020 were fake or duplicates. “Your Facebook ‘friend’ could be a scammer impersonating your real friend,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “This latest scam has strong potential for money loss, identity theft and future problems.”
 

Debit Card: Should I use my PIN or Use it as Credit?

Debit Card: Should I use my PIN or Use it as Credit?

October 6, 2021

When you make a purchase using your debit card, you’re often given the choice between “debit” or “credit.” What’s the difference between the two? Click the title of this article to learn more. 
 

6 Ways to Boost your Credit Score

6 Ways to Boost your Credit Score

September 29, 2021

An excellent credit score is the ultimate goal of the financially responsible consumer. Those three magic digits tell a story of accountability, good financial sense, and the ability to spend mindfully. A great credit score also unlocks doors for large, affordable loans; employment opportunities, and more.
 
Its significance notwithstanding, achieving and maintaining an excellent credit score is easier said than done. There is no quick and easy way to dramatically boost your score over a short amount of time, but you can take steps to increase your credit score gradually. Below, we’ve listed six ways you can start amping up your credit score today.
 

Scammers Poised to Flood the Marketplace with Flood-Damaged Cars

Scammers Poised to Flood the Marketplace with Flood-Damaged Cars

September 15, 2021

Rockford, IL – September 15, 2021 – The recent flooding from New Orleans to New York and the rains brought by tropical storm Nicholas may lead to scam artists attempting to pawn off flood-damaged vehicles as standard secondhand cars. These vehicles typically appear at auto auctions, used car dealerships, and in classified and social media ads. The Better Business Bureau warns unsuspecting consumers, particularly those living in regions of the country unaffected by hurricanes or flooding, are often fooled by fresh upholstery, new carpeting and bargain prices.

5 Ways to Raise your Kids to be Financially Independent Adults

5 Ways to Raise your Kids to be Financially Independent Adults

September 14, 2021

It’s commendable to try raising your kids today with an eye toward their future. Teaching your children how to be financially independent will help smooth the transition into adulthood. It will also give them the tools they need to achieve and maintain financial wellness throughout their life. Here are some 5 tips for raising kids to grow into financially independent adults. 
 

Job Scams Surge During the Pandemic, BBB Study Finds The Decrease of Pandemic Relief Programs Could Create a Perfect Storm for Scammers

Job Scams Surge During the Pandemic, BBB Study Finds The Decrease of Pandemic Relief Programs Could Create a Perfect Storm for Scammers

September 14, 2021

Rockford, IL – September 9, 2021 – Employment scams are on the rise in the turbulent job market created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and people ages 25-34 are the most common targets, followed by people ages 35-44, according to a Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) study released today. 

6 Steps to Crushing Debt

6 Steps to Crushing Debt

September 1, 2021

You and debt are so over. You’ve just about had it with those endless piles of credit card bills and those hideous numbers that never seem to get any lower. It’s time to kiss that debt goodbye! Getting rid of high debt will take hard work, willpower and the determination to see it through until the end, but it is doable. Here, we’ve outlined six steps to help you start crushing debt today. 
 

BBB Alert: Watch out for Eviction Scams

BBB Alert: Watch out for Eviction Scams

August 18, 2021

Rockford, IL – August 17, 2021 - The Biden Administration may have extended the eviction moratorium through October 3, 2021, but that doesn’t mean scammers have postponed their tricks. “As the eviction moratorium winds down, watch out for scammers offering loans, peddling credit repair services, or promoting government programs,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “These cons are a way to trick desperate people out of money they don’t have.” 

Pritzker Announces B2B Grant Program

Pritzker Announces B2B Grant Program

August 18, 2021

As part of Governor JB Pritzker's COVID-19 economic recovery plan, DCEO launched the Illinois #Back2Business (B2B) Grant Program on August 11. This $ 250 million investment is for small businesses in Illinois's most impacted industries and communities with grants of $5,000 to $150.000. With the help of Allies for Community Business, over 100 community browser organizations are ready to help you prepare and submit your application with multilingual assistance available in all regions. Businesses can begin reviewing and collecting the required information today by visiting https://bit.ly/3CxeLBQ. Find more information, visit our COVID webpage.

BBB Warns: Look Before you Scan

BBB Warns: Look Before you Scan

August 16, 2021

As QR codes get more popular, BBB.org/scamtracker is seeing more reports of con artists using them to mislead consumers. Companies use QR codes to point consumers to their apps, track packages, or view menus. “But because the human eye can’t read these codes, they have become a way for scammers to disguise malicious links,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.

6 Reasons to Switch to eStatements

6 Reasons to Switch to eStatements

August 11, 2021

Are you constantly dealing with a barrage of junk mail that clogs up your mailbox? Drowning in papers needing sifted through? Are you always afraid to throw out any paper from your financial institution, fearful that you’ll be throwing sensitive material into the trash and making it an easy steal for would-be scammers? If this sounds familiar, you may benefit from switching to electronic account statements.
 

Give Your College-Bound Student a Crash Course in Personal Finance

Give Your College-Bound Student a Crash Course in Personal Finance

August 3, 2021

Does your young-adult student need a crash course in personal finance? A financial literacy survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) reveals that most adults learned about personal finance from their parents.

Parents: Compliments of the NFCC, here's a checklist of basic knowledge that will benefit everyone managing his or her own money:
 

Scammers Hitting Millions of People Waiting for Passports

Scammers Hitting Millions of People Waiting for Passports

July 22, 2021

Rockford, IL – July 20, 2021 – Passports Scams are rising with the State Department having significant processing backlogs. Reporting wait time for both new and renewal routine passport applications can be up to 18 weeks. Even the wait time for “expedited passports” takes up to 3 months and includes a $60 fee. Currently, there is an estimated backlog of between a million and a half to 2 million applications." Dennis Horton director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau says, “Scammers, posing as Passport expeditors are stepping in and convincing their victims for a higher fee they can get quickly get through the processing time, including the initial internal intake of the applications, and mailing. Along with money losses in these scams, passports contain critical personal information that unlocks identity theft for years to come.”
 

Needs vs. Wants

Needs vs. Wants

July 8, 2021

One of the most important parts of setting up a monthly budget is separating needs from wants. Before assigning dollar amounts to any categories, it’s important to know which parts of your monthly expenditures are an absolute need, and which items would be nice to include, but are not a necessity. Below, we’ve outlined how to tell the difference between wants and needs, as well as how to separate these two categories on a monthly budget plan.
 

Losses in Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams Surge 35%

Losses in Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams Surge 35%

June 10, 2021

Rockford, IL – June 10, 2021 – Sweepstakes and lottery scams resulted in higher financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the previous three years, according to new research from Better Business Bureau® (BBB). BBB warns consumers never to pay money to claim a prize. If anyone asks for money before delivering a prize, it is likely a scam.
 
The research is an update of BBB’s 2018 in-depth investigative studySweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How “Winners” Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud. Since the study’s publication, there has been a 16% decrease in complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). However, financial losses reported to all three agencies rose dramatically in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, with FTC logging an increase of more than 35% in reported dollar losses. The updated research highlights how these scams work and the importance of educating consumers, particularly those who may be susceptible to a specific scam.
 

Don’t Share your Grad Photo Online

Don’t Share your Grad Photo Online

June 4, 2021

Congrats — you did it! Whether you’re graduating high school, college or graduate school, there’s lots to celebrate. You’ve worked hard to earn your diploma or degree, spending years studying for exams, keeping up with your coursework to reach the goal you’ve now accomplished. Now that the finish line is finally within reach, all you want to do is talk about your graduation and celebrate this milestone. So, when a bunch of your friends are sharing their senior photos and joining graduation contests on Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms, you may think it’s harmless to do the same. Unfortunately, though, posting a senior portrait with your graduation year and the name of your school on a public platform can lead you right into a scam. Here’s what you need to know about grad photo scams and how to play it safe.
 

Post Pandemic Financial Advice

Post Pandemic Financial Advice

May 27, 2021

The COVID pandemic is and continues to be a defining period of our lives. Among its many effects, it caused all of us to take a hard look at how we live our lives, including the way we spend our money. Quarantine kept many of us at home, preventing us from spending as much as we usually did for things like entertainment and travel. Many people lost their jobs or were furloughed, forcing them to reduce their expenses. One clear effect was that those with emergency funds fared better than those who did not have them.
 

Dream First - How to Quit Overthinking and Make It Happen

Dream First - How to Quit Overthinking and Make It Happen

May 21, 2021

Book Review

Who is this book for? 
  • Wanna-be entrepreneurs wondering how to get started.
  • Anyone looking for inspiration and guidance on making their dreams come true.
What’s inside this book?
Bennett’s incredible story of how she built a multimillion-dollar company by leaping into the unknown and accepting a challenge from her boss. Motivation, tips and practical advice for making your personal dreams come true.

Scammers and Shoddy Companies “Move-In” as May is the Top Moving Month

Scammers and Shoddy Companies “Move-In” as May is the Top Moving Month

May 4, 2021

Rockford, IL – May 4, 2021 – For many consumers, May is the prime moving month. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a short-haul local move or coast to coast; the moving of your personal possessions can be a nerve-wracking experience.  Added to that stress the is the unfortunate possibility of being involved with a less than a reputable mover. Bad movers are well known to move in on your money and possessions during peak moving season. 
 

Define Your Retirement Before you Set the Date

Define Your Retirement Before you Set the Date

April 30, 2021

As you approach retirement, do you plan to work longer than your full retirement age? Before you decide on the date of your retirement, take some time to define the look of your retirement. Think about the intangible benefits you get from work, such as routine, camaraderie, a sense of fulfillment, and being needed. What will it take to stay engaged and energized once that’s gone?

Having this picture in mind makes it easier to decide on your retirement date. As you do, avoid five mistakes rookie retirees often make: READ MORE
 

The Comprehensive Guide to Insurance Coverage

The Comprehensive Guide to Insurance Coverage

April 26, 2021

Insurance premiums can take a big bite out of a monthly budget, but not having enough coverage can be even more costly.  Let’s take a look at the five primary insurance types and the most important information to know about each one.

CCU Awarded BBB Torch Award

CCU Awarded BBB Torch Award

March 5, 2021

Cornerstone Credit Union was very proud to receive one of five 2020 Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics, awarded by the Rockford Regional office of the Better Business Bureau. The Torch Award is the premier award the BBB presents to a company, recognizing  how they demonstrate the highest ethical standards of behavior toward customers, suppliers, shareholders, employees, and the communities in which they do business. The winners were determined by an independent panel of judges. Cornerstone received an Honorable Mention in the 20-49 employee category. In lieu of an awards ceremony this year due to the pandemic, WTVO’s Eric Wilson hosted a virtual interview with each of the winners. Lorna Cote, CCU Marketing Director, shared some thoughts about why the credit union was recognized. Watch video here: https://youtu.be/RVEhN_yhwCU
 

Retirement Saving - Start Early & Save More

Retirement Saving - Start Early & Save More

January 13, 2021

Retirement—it’s not a word you think much about when you’re young. After all, that’s something that happens when you get old. You might think Social Security will be all you’ll need, but it was designed to supplement your retirement savings. You can’t rely on it entirely. You’ll need some other source of income to pay for your living expenses. The younger you are when you start your retirement planning, the better off you’ll be financially when you retire. So how should you start?
 

Rogue Access Points

Rogue Access Points

December 15, 2020

We’ve all been there. It’s been a long day of shopping at the mall, or waiting in an airport, or driving across the country, and we finally get a chance to pull out our phones or laptops and look for Wi-Fi. Good news: You’ve found one that doesn’t require a password! Free Wi-Fi saves the day. You click accept and head to your favorite place to watch videos of kittens, or whatever people normally do on the internet … we mostly watch kittens.

There’s just one problem: What if that free Wi-Fi was a trap? 

Rewire for Wealth: 3 Steps Women can take to Financial Success

Rewire for Wealth: 3 Steps Women can take to Financial Success

December 11, 2020

Who is this book for? 
  • Women who’ve gotten a harsh financial wake-up call.
  • Women who want to learn about money management to be financially independent.
  • Women who have always been intimidated by money.
  • Women who think they’re just not “wired” to handle money well.

Important 401(k) Terms to Know

Important 401(k) Terms to Know

November 27, 2020

Take a moment to review this document to help you understand important 401(k) terms.

Advantages of a HELOC

Advantages of a HELOC

November 16, 2020

Q: I’m looking to tap into my home’s equity, possibly using a Home Equity Line of Credit. What are some of the advantages of choosing the HELOC option?
 
A: A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is an open credit line that is secured by the paid value of the borrower’s home. Homeowners can generally open a HELOC with up to 85% of their home’s equity, or the difference between what’s left on their home loan and the current value of it. A HELOC provides homeowners with a convenient way to use the equity in their home.
 

10 Myths about Credit Unions

10 Myths about Credit Unions

October 15, 2020

How many of these myths about credit unions do you think are fact? Learn why your local credit union is a lot more than you think, and why it can be a much more sensible choice than a conventional bank for your saving and borrowing needs.
 

How to Use a Home Equity Loan

How to Use a Home Equity Loan

October 6, 2020

Q: With interest rates falling and home prices rising, it seems like a great time to tap into my home’s equity using a home equity loan. What’s the best way to use these funds?
 
A: A home equity loan, or a HEL, can be a fantastic way to source extra funds during a falling-rates environment. Tapping into your home’s equity, or the positive difference between what is owed on a home and its current value, will give you the funds you need for a large expense with no additional strings attached.

With interest rates on a Cornerstone CU Home Equity Loan as low as 2.25%APR*, the repayment plan is always affordable. If approved, you’ll receive the funds in one lump sum within a few days. There are no restrictions on how to use these funds, but since you’re essentially risking the loss of your home with this loan, it’s important to choose wisely when deciding how to use the funds.

Here are four forward-thinking uses for a home equity loan: 

Couples, Sync Your Retirement Plans

Couples, Sync Your Retirement Plans

September 2, 2020

One way to ensure a happy marriage well into your retirement years is to create a retirement plan with your partner that will satisfy both of you. According to the 2018 Fidelity survey, 43% of respondents say they and their partners disagree about the age at which they'll stop working and 54% disagree on how much should be saved. Economic conditions—layoffs, home-equity changes, and pension freezes—make synchronizing retirement planning even more important. Here are questions to ask:
 

Inspire your kids, and perhaps even yourself, with the use of online financial educational programs.

Inspire your kids, and perhaps even yourself, with the use of online financial educational programs.

August 7, 2020

Financial education at any age will benefit our children. Read on to learn about two programs we feel add value to help enhance their future. 

 

How Can I Replenish My Savings?

How Can I Replenish My Savings?

July 9, 2020

Q: The last few months have been really tough on my finances, and I’ve been forced to use my savings for getting by. My emergency fund and savings account are basically zero. Now that my financial situation is starting to improve, I’d like to start building these up again, but it’s all so overwhelming. Where do I begin? Read more.
 

Go Green. It's Free & Easy.

Go Green. It's Free & Easy.

June 12, 2020

Effective August 31, 2020, a fee of $2.00 per paper statement will be charged to your savings account. During this unprecedented time, the credit union must address how to reduce overhead costs. We encourage our members to register for CCU online banking and receive FREE electronic statements (e-statements) via email, which can be printed from their online banking site. Members under 18 years of age are exempt from this fee.
If you're not already signed up, avoid this charge. Enroll in or go to your Online Banking page and sign up for e-Statements today.

SavvyMoney Credit Score FAQs

SavvyMoney Credit Score FAQs

May 22, 2020

SavvyMoney Credit Score FAQs
CCU Members: SavvyMoney Credit Score is available to you through online and mobile banking. This is a FREE service offered to you. Please read FAQs below for more information.

Q. What is SavvyMoney Credit Score?
A. SavvyMoney is a comprehensive Credit Score program offered by Cornerstone Credit Union, CCU,  that helps you stay on top of your credit. You get your latest credit score and report, an understanding of key factors that impact the score, and can see the most up to date offers that can help reduce your interest costs. With this program, you always know where you stand with your credit and how your financial institution can help save you money. Read more.
 

CCU is Keeping your Debit Card Safe with Text Security Alerts

CCU is Keeping your Debit Card Safe with Text Security Alerts

April 21, 2020

As of April 21, 2020, Cornerstone Credit Union is providing Text Security Alerts for your CCU Debit Card usage when fraud is suspected. If there are potential suspicious debit card transactions on your account, you will be notified via text message or phone. Please be sure we have your current cell phone number on record so you will receive these important notifications, if needed.
 
Text Sample: CCU Fraud Center 800-711-3277 $125.46 on card 1234 at Macy’s. If valid reply YES, fraud NO. To Opt Out, STOP.
 
IMPORTANT: As a CCU debit card holder, you are auto-enrolled to receive Text Security Alerts, so you do not need to take any action. If you wish to opt out, you may do so when you receive a notification.
 

Bad Money Habits & How to Fix Them

Bad Money Habits & How to Fix Them

February 20, 2020

Bad Money Habits and How to Fix Them
Learning how to use money wisely is an essential skill that isn’t always taught to us as children. Some of us pick up bad money habits on our journey to adulthood. Often, we’re just not being mindful of where our money goes. See if you have any of the following bad money habits. Then read on to learn how to break them and replace them with good habits. Read more.

How to Switch your Bank Account to Cornerstone Credit Union

How to Switch your Bank Account to Cornerstone Credit Union

December 10, 2019

Perhaps you’ve heard how great credit union services are, how much lower their fees are, and how they offer much better interest rates than banks. But the idea of moving your accounts from your current bank sounds daunting. Well, it’s really not that hard. Follow these simple steps to switch to a Cornerstone Credit Union and start reaping the benefits of membership: Read more.
 

How to Recognize and Protect Yourself from Scams

How to Recognize and Protect Yourself from Scams

December 2, 2019

Scammers are always trying to con victims out of their information and money. Scammers are expert impersonators, using sophisticated technology and their best acting skills to convince you they represent a business, institution or government agency you may trust. They also tend to prey on the most susceptible victims. Here at Cornerstone CU, our biggest priority is your financial wellness, so we’ve put together this guide to aid in recognizing the signs of fraud and protecting yourself from scams.

Five red flags of scams  [Read more]

MoneyNing - Building Financial Independence

MoneyNing - Building Financial Independence

October 21, 2019

Are you ready to join an online community devoted to building financial independence? Welcome to the world of MoneyNing.com. Founded by David Ning in 2007, MoneyNing quickly gained acclaim as one of the most straightforward and informative financial blogs on the web. Read more.

6 Ways to Spot a Payday Loan Scam

6 Ways to Spot a Payday Loan Scam

October 11, 2019

Don't be a victim of payday loan scams! A "representative" of a collection agency who claims to be acting on behalf of a loan company tells victims they must pay their outstanding balance on a payday loan. Unfortunately, the caller is a scammer trying to rip them off or steal their identity. If you've applied for a payday loan, be on the lookout for these six red flags: Read more.
 

9 Steps to Buying your First Car

9 Steps to Buying your First Car

August 20, 2019

Congrats—you’re ready to purchase your first real car!

The process can be daunting, but Cornerstone CU will walk you through it. Follow our guidelines for a stress-free ride!

1. Determine if you really need a car
It’s important to take a step back to review your actual transportation needs. Can a bus ride or a ride from a friend or family member or an occasional rental get you by? Read more.

Building Your Credit

Building Your Credit

June 20, 2019

A good credit score can lead to great opportunities, but building credit can be a mystery. Take a look at steps you can take to improve your credit score. CCU welcomes you to schedule time with one of our Financial Counselors to assist you in taking the right steps.

Staying Safe Online

Staying Safe Online

January 28, 2019

Staying Safe Online
A compromised computer can put you at risk for money loss, phishing scams or even complete identity theft. Read on for steps you can take to keep yourself safe online.
 

How to Create & Keep Strong Passwords

How to Create & Keep Strong Passwords

September 4, 2018

Your passwords are the keys to your life. And when it feels like there's another big security breach every week, you want to be sure those passwords are strong and safe.  

Follow the 6 steps below for super-strong passwords that will keep scammers guessing.

 

CardValet

CardValet

January 24, 2018

Control debit card usage and spending on the go...and reduce fraud attempts. Click here for a Quick Reference Guide. 

CO-OP Shared Branching

CO-OP Shared Branching

November 27, 2017

Convenience wherever you are! On vacation, in the next town, at college, know that CCU is accessible for you.

Don't Miss Out on Important Information!

Don't Miss Out on Important Information!

May 24, 2017

When you move or get a new email address or phone number, it is important that you let us know.

Peace of Mind Protection

Peace of Mind Protection

February 23, 2017

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) and Mechanical Repair Coverage (MRP) can protect you when you least expect it, but need it most. 
Cornerstone Credit Union
1-800-711-3277  •  Routing: 271184425  •  NMLS #743907
 

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Your deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), with an added safety net of private insurance (Excess Share Insurance/ESI) for an additional $250,000. This is the highest combination of federal and private insurance available to consumers.