Holiday Fraud Trends

Holiday Fraud Trends

This year is expected to be one of the highest online shopping years ever. With the ease of being able to shop at home on your couch, consumers are realizing there is no need to face busy crowds and wait in long lines when you can order virtually every gift online.

With this in mind, here is what you need to be cautious of:

Click Here Emails: Be careful with emails that state you are being given a holiday gift or free gift from a popular merchant. Beware of the ‘Click Here’ catch.

Retailer Email Scam: Be cautious of emails you receive from retailers saying your account is about to expire and your account will be de-activated if you don’t follow the provided steps.

Bargain Shopper: If you are a bargain shopper, make sure to check online for reviews on Google or the Better Business Bureau. Type in the seller’s name/business with “scam” and see if it checks out.

Gift Cards: If you are purchasing gift cards for that hard to buy person, make sure to check the back of the card to verify that the area with the protective scratch-off hasn’t been tampered with.

Charity Giving: The holidays bring out the warm side of people and the desire to spread holiday cheer. If you decide to donate to a charity, make sure it’s one that you are familiar with. Research before donating.

When shopping online, you can follow these steps:

  • Only provide card or account details on secure websites when checking out. Look for the padlock symbol.
  • Use PayPal to check out, if possible.
  • Always keep your device’s security software up-to-date.
  • Check account statements and report any suspicious transactions immediately.

Happy holidays and safe shopping!

How to get the most out of those Black Friday deals

How to get the most out of those Black Friday deals

While there are certain to be some deals to be found in the holiday shopping mix, others aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s how to play the game.

Know the parameters: We live in a world where it’s commonplace for some of your favorite stores to always be running sales. If 25% off the whole store happens every other week (or so it seems) then that becomes the real price and true sales have to feature deeper discounts. In general, if the item is marked at 20% off the typical sale price, then it’s a good deal, says Casey Runyan, Managing Editor for Brad’s deals.

Compare to be sure: Consumerworld.org has a price checker tool that compares prices for thousands of items in one database. You can look through to see when the product was the cheapest, says Edgar Dworksy, Founder and Editor of ConsumerWorld.org. Runyan recommends checking the prices that big retail stores are promoting and compare them with each other. Start looking now to weed through the “filler deals” and find the ones that are really worth it.

Bundles can be promising: Look for items that come with a bonus or a bundle, says Runyan. Typically, retailers have to sell an item at a price set by the brand, but they can add extra items (an extra pot or pan, an extra video game) to give the buyer a better value. They also might offer a gift card or cash back option, she says. Getting more bang for your buck is always a good deal.

Stick to your plan: If you’re hitting stores on Black Friday (or the days around the holiday) you should do it with an idea of what you’re shopping for specifically. Then, stick to it. Black Friday is all about the game - getting consumers’ blood pumping because of the excitement of the sale. Try to resist the FOMO, says Runyan.

Happy Shopping.

Information Contributed by: Jean Chatzky of Savvymoney

Holiday Branch Hours

Holiday Branch Hours

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for many that means the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Our offices will observe the holidays to give our employees the opportunity to celebrate with their loved ones. Please, make note of the following holiday schedule changes:
Thursday, November 28 | Thanksgiving

All branches are closed and will reopen on Friday, November 29 with regular hours.
Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve

All branches will close at 1:00 PM.
Wednesday, December 25 | Christmas

All branches are closed and will reopen on Thursday, December 26 with regular hours.
Tuesday, December 31 | New Year’s Eve

All branches are open, but will close at 3:00 PM.
Wednesday, January 1 | New Year’s Day

All branches are closed and will reopen on Thursday, January 2 with regular hours.

To find your local branch’s regular hours, please visit the Locations and Hours section of our website.

Happy Holidays!

Introducing Zelle® - Coming Soon!

Introducing Zelle® - Coming Soon!

There was never a reason to celebrate sending money to someone. Until now!

With Zelle, it’s easy to send ’ and receive ’ money.

Fast: Money is sent from your account into theirs typically in minutes.1
Safe: With the security you already know and trust from First International Bank and Trust.
Easy: Send money to almost anyone you know and trust using only their email address or U.S. mobile phone number.2

With these great features, you have a lot to look forward to. So go on, do a little dance. Exchanging money is about to become fun.

Seven Often Overlooked Insights into Leaving your Legacy

7 Often Overlooked Insights into Leaving your Legacy

It’s a hard thing to think about, what happens to our assets once we’re gone? But, it’s a topic which requires thought and a well-laid-out plan. Preserving your financial legacy, and providing for your loved ones demands more than simply naming a beneficiary and cutting a check.

For nearly 110 years, First International Bank & Trust has helped generations of families plan for all steps in life. Here are seven (often overlooked) insights into a successful plan for leaving your legacy:

  1. Do your research.
    Estate, gift, and tax laws are continually evolving. A basic understanding of how those laws and any recent changes to them will impact your estate plan is imperative, as is a regular review of those laws and your plan with a professional.
  2. Decide who makes decisions when you can’t.
    Consider the temperament and personalities of those you may entrust with Durable Powers of Attorney. Do they have the proper training for the responsibility of making decisions in your absence? Make sure you have a conversation with them about their duties and your expectations.
  3. Think about your family and plan for changes.
    If you’re passing down assets to your children after your death, define the terms of their distributions, including at what age they will have access to the assets, and how often they may receive distributions. Consider their spouses or future spouses, and possible protections for the inheritance in the event of a divorce.
  4. Build out contingencies.
    Lay-out who will care for any minor children in the event you and your spouse die, as well as provisions for their care. If you own a business, set up a succession plan, or if you have partners, discuss the possibilities now and set up agreements that can be funded by life insurance.
  5. Consider charitable giving.
    If you want your legacy to extend beyond your family, determine how a charitable gift will be made upon your death. Decide which organization you’d like to support, how much you want to give, and consider listing them in your estate plan. Keep in mind that when you leave money to a charity, you’ll reduce the size of your estate, and the amount of assets potentially subject to estate tax.
  6. Leave nothing to chance.
    Leave a paper trail of where your wishes can be found and back-up any supporting documents. Notify your heirs of the location of assets, accounts, advisors, and safe deposit boxes. Don’t forget to include passwords and user names to access your digital records after you’re gone.
  7. Prepare your beneficiaries.
    Make clear your wishes to your family before your death, to avoid any surprises and possible conflict. Discuss any contingencies regarding behavior or achievement you’ve defined for your heirs in your estate plan.

Setting clear goals and defining steps for the transfer of your assets and legacy can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our experienced team of Private Wealth advisors at First International Bank & Trust can help guide you through the process and put in place the most efficient and effective means to leave a legacy you can be proud of.

Trust and Wealth Management products not insured by the FDIC or any Federal Government Agency, May Lose Value, and are not a Deposit of or Guaranteed by the Bank.

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