Beware of Lottery Check Scams!

July 31, 2007

Foreign lottery scams have been circulating online and offline for years, and they are still going strong.  There has been several variations but one such way is that you receive an e-mail stating that you have won a foreign lottery!  But in order to claim your winnings you need to send in the “contest fee” in order for your winnings to be processed.  The fee needs to be sent by Cashiers Check or wired to a “lottery representative.”  Once they receive the fee, your winnings will be arriving.  Of course, the winnings will never arrive, and you will be out the amount of the fees.

Another variation is that you will receive a check to cover the taxes and/or fees, as well as instructions on how to collect your prize.  You receive an overnight package with a check that looks real.  The “lottery” asks that you deposit the check and send them the amount of the fees in the form of a Cashiers Check or wired to a representative.  In this case, the check you received is a forgery and will be returned, and you will be responsible for paying those funds back.  And of course, you’ll never receive the lottery winnings!

In both of these cases – if you send them anything – you’ve been scammed!  The lottery winnings will not arrive, and you will be out for the amount of the “contest fees” that you sent in or the amount of the check you deposited.

How can you be safe?  If it seems to good to be true – it probably is!  Don’t fall for the old lottery scam.  It’s been around for years, and is still going!  If you have any questions, or if you think you might have been scammed, contact First New York FCU.  We’re here to help!

Credit Score Podcast – Now Available

July 25, 2007

Our first podcast is now available to download.  To listen to our podcast on Credit Scores, click here…

Credit Scores Podcast

Home Equity Radio Commercial

July 25, 2007

Have you heard it? Our radio commercial that is! Here it is…


Don’t Have a Credit Card? Someone May Have Beaten You to It!

July 24, 2007

Rachael was 18 when she tried getting a credit card and learned someone had beaten her to it.

Someone had gotten Rachael’s Social Security number and opened numerous credit card accounts using her personal information.  Rachael and her parents spent more than 1,000 hours trying to straighten things out.  Eventually they had a fraud alert placed on her credit record.

Rachael was a victim of identity theft–an increasingly common trend among young adults.  Identity theft occurs when a person steals someone else’s personal information, such as credit card information, account numbers, or Social Security numbers, to set up false accounts and purchase goods and services.

Almost one-third of identity-theft victims were between the ages of 18 and 29 in 2004.  Even more unsettling, this age group is the No. 1 target for identity thieves.

Teens and young adults are extremely vulnerable to identity theft because most have not yet established credit records that can be monitored.  Young adults also are less likely to check their credit card records and may not even be aware of their credit record and its importance.

So how can you protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft?

1.  Guard your Social Security number.  Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet, and only give out your number when it’s required.  You are required to give your Social Security number for loan applications, income tax records, employment records, medical records, credit bureau reports, college records, and vehicle registrations.

2.  Monitor your credit report.  Young adults need to check their credit reports at least once a year.  This will allow you to check for errors and suspicious activity.  Get one free credit report per year from each of the “Big Three” credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Or visit

3.  Shred all bank and credit statements after reconciling them with your receipts, but keep statements that document tax-related expenses for seven years.  Even if you only have a savings or checking account from your credit union, shred these documents before throwing them away.  These statements contain personal information that could be used by a thief.

4.  Do not carry extra credit cards and other important identity documents, such as passports, except when needed.

Have a question about identity theft?  Ask us – we’re here to help!

Brass CU

July 20, 2007

Brass CU

What’s Brass CU?  Brass is about young adults, money, and how it affects our lives.

Regardless of gender, political background, or religious orientation, money is a factor in everyone’s life. Despite its strong influence, learning how to make money work for us has been all but overlooked. Many young adults find themselves burdened from overspending and buried under piles of credit card debt to the point of declaring bankruptcy.

Because we believe in the importance of financial education, First New York FCU is pleased to partner with Brass Media in providing information in the form of a quarterly magazine and special website.

Brass CU website

“Ditch your bank for a credit union”

July 18, 2007

Those of us in the credit union business know the differences between banks and credit unions, and our members also know the difference.

Here is an article from about the differences between the two, and the writer says you should ditch your bank for a credit union.

Let us know what you think!

Ditch your bank MSN article

Are You Not-Yet-Rich?

July 13, 2007

You can be!  If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, now is the time to start saving for your future.

How? Jumpstart your retirement fund. Getting an early start is one of the easiest ways to build your nest egg, because you’ve got time and compound growth on your side. Even small amounts saved now on a regular basis can really add up down the road.

For example, if you invest $150 a month (only about $5 per day) starting at age 25 in a tax-free Roth IRA that earns an 8% average annual return, at age 65 you’ll have accumulated a total of $503,605. Compare this to if you had waited to begin saving until age 35 – your nest egg would total $220,222. If you waited to begin saving until 45, it would total only $88,961.

“Thinking about retirement is probably not high on your list if you are in your 20’s or 30’s. However, by starting early, you will be in a better financial position down the road to retirement,” says Don Dorr, the Members Financial Services Representative serving First New York Federal Credit Union. Dorr added, “Saving $5 a day can also be done easily. If you skip your coffee beverage, or eliminate going out to eat, once a week, you’ll have a good start to your retirement savings plan. Plus, by setting up automatic deductions from your checking or savings account, we can make the savings process easy!”

For more information on retirement savings, contact Don Dorr, the Members Financial Services Representative serving First New York FCU at (518) 393-1326 – press ‘4’.

Traveling to a Foreign Country?

July 12, 2007


Did you know… that when you use a credit card in a foreign country you could be paying up to a 3% fee to have that transaction processed?

With the high cost of travel, hotels, meals and other expenses, this could add up quickly.  For example, if you spend $500 (US), you could find that an additional $15 in foreign currency transaction fees are withdrawn.

However – if you have a First New York credit card, we charge only the 1% Visa network fee, and do NOT charge any additional fees – saving you 2% on each transaction!

Be a smart coonsumer and see how much your credit card issuer is charging for transactions in a foreign country.

Credit Cards: Switch and Save

July 11, 2007

Do you know what would happen if you went over the credit limit on one of your credit cards, or if you made a late payment? If you got the card from a large national card issuer, chances are you’d be charged high penalty fees, and you might find your interest rate hiked to more than 30%.

If you’re not sure about the fees and penalties for your credit card, ask your card issuer. The terms may have changed since you opened the account, and you may not have seen the notification, which generally accompanies your account statement. You should know:

–  Your interest rate.
–  Whether there are different rates for balance transfers, cash advances, and purchases.
– The order in which payments apply to different types of transactions (some banks pay off low interest rate balances first so the high rate ones stay on your account longer).
– Whether the rate could increase to a higher penalty rate, and under what circumstances (such as a late payment–on this card or any other card).
– Annual fee, late fee, and overlimit fee amounts, and when they’re charged.                                                                                                               – What other fees are charged, and when.
– The grace period, or number of days from the billing date you may pay in full without incurring finance charges.

If you’re not satisfied with the answers, maybe it’s time to shop for a better card. And be sure to ask these questions up front. In most cases, you’ll find credit union credit cards are the most consumer friendly. Stop by First New York FCU to get a better deal on your credit card.

Fourth of July Trivia

July 5, 2007

The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday of many people, but not many people know much Fourth of July trivia. This holiday marks our independence as a country, but it is also filled with fun and fascinating facts.

Thomas Jefferson was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. That is because he was the author of document that stated the colonies would no longer be under the rule of the British Empire. On the Fourth of July, many patriotic songs are played, including the Star Spangled Banner. But do you know who wrote it? It was written by Francis Scott Key. He wrote the song during the War of 1812 and it was officially made the national anthem on March 3, 1931.

But what about the celebrations we have each year? The first official state celebration of the holiday occurred in 1781. It was a dinner between the militia of Rhode Island and French military officers. The first public reception for the Fourth of July did not occur at the White House until 1801. A mere three years later, in 1894, the Fourth of July was celebrated for the first time west of the Mississippi River – by famed explorers Lewis and Clark.

Fireworks are a big part of the celebration and there is Fourth of July trivia about that as well. When did the first firework display occur on the Fourth of July? That was back in 1805 in Charleston, South Carolina. By the Fourth of July 1976, our great country was celebrating its centennial (one hundred-year birthday) with spectacular firework displays all over the nation.

Many people fly the flag on the Fourth of July, but there is flag etiquette you should always observe. The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground. A flag that is damage or worn should never be displayed. It should be burned rather than thrown away. This is seen as a dignified means of disposal.

Hope you had a Happy Fourth of July!