Elder Abuse—Do You Know the Signs and How to Help?

Ohioans may not have a clear grasp of the prevalence of financial exploitation and abuse of elderly adults. According to an Ohio Credit Union League 2019 consumer survey, 67 percent of Ohioans say they’ve never known an elderly person who has been the victim of some kind of elderly abuse.

Elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult, according to the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

According to research from the National Adult Protective Services Association, one in nine elder adults reported being abused, neglected, or exploited in the past year. Financial exploitation was a particularly prevalent form of elder abuse, with one in 20 older adults indicating they had been in some way financially mistreated in the recent past.

That number is likely just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Ohio Department of Aging, 16,000 reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation are made each year in Ohio; however, according to the National Institutes of Health, these reports represent only one in 14 cases, and the National Adult Protective Services Association found that only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported.

Many cases stay under the radar because the victim is hesitant to get their perpetrators into trouble.

According to the Ohio Credit Union League study, 84 percent of respondents believe family members and close friends are the people most responsible for protecting the elderly from financial abuse. That belief may perpetuate a dangerous trend. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, 90 percent of abusers and exploiters are the very family members and caretakers entrusted to care for the victim.

Financial institutions, especially credit unions who are close to their members and communities, are a key defense to elderly abuse by reporting suspicious activity reports for potential elderly exploitation. When and how to report elder abuse in Ohio can be located here.

Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

Keep in contact.
According to AARP, it’s easier for criminals to step in and befriend elderly people when they’re lonely. Be sure to call and visit elderly friends and family members frequently. Establish yourself as a trustworthy presence for them to lean on if they find themselves worried or in trouble.

Remain vigilant.
Keep an eye on the financial habits of your elderly friends and family members. Take note of large withdrawals, unusual requests for money, or alarming lapses in memory about major financial transactions. Remember that you don’t have to prove financial exploitation to report it. Your suspicion is enough. 

Know your elderly relatives’ acquaintances.
Make sure you are becoming acquainted with the people interacting with your elderly friend or relative. It may also be helpful to know the nature of these interactions. Keep a close eye on anybody you don’t know well and track suspicious behavior in acquaintances—and family members.

Have difficult conversations.
It may be uncomfortable to ask an older relative about financial matters, especially if they’ve always been financially independent in the past. It might be equally difficult to approach a trusted relative about suspicious behavior toward an elderly acquaintance. While these issues might be sensitive, it’s important they’re brought to light, just in case.

Get professional help.
A lawyer can work with elders to establish trusts and other financial arrangements that are difficult for criminals to breach, according to Money Crashers. Lawyers can also recommend mediators and counselors who can work with families experiencing tensions over the finances of an elderly relative.

Learn how a credit union can help strengthen your financial security by visiting www.YourMoneyFurther.com.

Step 2 of 12 Towards Financial Freedom: Don't Dig Yourself Deeper

When you’ve dug yourself deep into a pit, the only way to get out is to stop digging. This month, focus on not racking up more debt. Stop using your credit cards. Skip your weekly trips that usually have you buying too many non-essentials.

Instead, start brown-bagging your work lunch and brewing your own coffee. Get into the habit of spending only on essentials so you can make real progress toward paying down that debt. Click here if you need some tips for cutting expenses.

Don’t forget to make the minimum payments on every line of credit and loan you have open. Neglecting your debt will only pull you deeper into the pit.

 Feeling overwhelmed? No worries; we’ve got you covered! Sit down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors. They can help suggest ways of saving more and spending less so you can be one step closer to financial freedom. Call today at 330-364-8874 and ask for Katy Steinebrey or Fred Weingarth.

Want more information on managing debt? Check out our interactive library through Banzai by clicking here.

Seven Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed on Craigslist

The arrival of warm weather and the deep house cleaning it inspires means more people are selling their old furniture, devices, sports equipment, and clothing. That’s why the amount of items like these on sites like Craigslist swells considerably during this season. There are wonderful treasures to be found, if you have the time and patience to sift through the offerings.

Conversely, if your own cleaning unveils hordes of sellable stuff you don’t use anymore, you can make good money selling them online. Unfortunately, when there’s money to be made, the scammers are never far behind. Craigslist is riddled with scammers looking to make a quick buck off people’s naivety. Follow these eight tips to stay one step ahead of scammers and keep your money safe when using Craigslist.

1.) Be familiar with Craigslist and the services it offers
Lots of Craigslist scams can be avoided by knowing basic information about the site. Make sure you know the following before using Craigslist:

  • The Craigslist URL is http://www.craigslist.org. Scammers often use fake sites to lure buyers into paying for items that don’t exist. Always check the URL before finalizing a purchase.

  • Craigslist does not back any transaction on its site. You’re looking at a scam if you receive an email or text trying to sell you purchase protection.

  • There is no such thing as a Craigslist voicemail service. You’re dealing with a scammer if a contact asks you to access or check your “Craigslist voicemails.”

2.) Deal locally
The “barely used” couch that’s up for sale a couple of states over might be better-priced than the one being sold just a 10-minute drive away, but it’s always safer to deal with locals on Craigslist. According to the site’s advice on avoiding scams on their platform, you’ll avoid 99% of the scams on Craigslist by following this rule.

Keeping your transaction local will enable you to finalize a sale in person. Plus, there’s less of a chance for a blurred language barrier regarding the details of the deal.

3.) Examine the product(s) before finalizing a sale
Never rely solely on pictures to get the full scope of what you’re buying. Ask to look at the item in person. Ask to try out an item if you’re purchasing an electronic device or something else that needs to work in order to be valuable.

4.) Don’t accept or send a cashier’s check, certified check, or money order as payment
Fraudulent checks can be impossible to fight. Also, a bad check can seem to clear on sight, so you’ll agree to the sale and use the money that’s supposedly in your account. A few days later, though, you’ll realize the check bounced. By that time, the buyer has vanished with your goods, leaving you responsible for covering the funds you used while presuming it cleared.

 On the flip side, if you pay for an item with a money order or wire transfer, you’ll have no way of recouping your loss if the seller fails to come through with the goods.

5.) Use cash—safely
The most secure way to pay or collect funds for a Craigslist transaction is with cold cash. If the idea of handing over a large sum of money to a stranger scares you, you can make the exchange of money and goods in a safe place like your local police station.

6.) Never share your personal information with a buyer or seller
As always, when online, keep your personal information to yourself. There’s no reason a buyer or seller needs to know your checking account number, your date of birth, or even your mother’s maiden name. Back out of the deal if a contact is asking too many questions.

7.) Be wary of fake escrow service sites
Escrow services, in which a company holds onto a large sum of money for two parties in the middle of a transaction, can be super-convenient when buying and selling things online. However, they can also be a clever trap for unsuspecting victims. Scammers often create bogus escrow service sites to lure victims into dropping their money right into the scammers’ hands. The site will be a copycat of a reputable escrow service site, with some slight deviations you wouldn’t notice unless you looked for them.

It’s best to find the site yourself instead of following a pop-up ad or a link when using an escrow service site. Check the site carefully for spelling mistakes and poor syntax. Also, make sure the URL is secure and matches the site of the service you intend to use.

8.) Create a disposable number
You may need to share a working phone number when conducting business on Craigslist. You can create a cost-free, disposable number on Google Voice instead of giving out your real number. Your Google Voice number will be untraceable and will expire within 30 days of non-use.  

Getting scammed is a serious crime that can disrupt your finances. Click here to get more details on theft and how to protect your personal information.

What to Buy and What to Skip on Memorial Day

Since 1971, Memorial Day has been celebrated as an extended weekend away from work and the unofficial start of summer. More recently, Memorial Day has also turned into a second Black Friday for retailers and shoppers. There are loads of sale events in stores and online, and each guarantees to save you heaps of money. But that’s not always the case.  

As always, though, not every marked-down product is actually a bargain. In fact, you can sometimes get the same product a lot cheaper by waiting a few months—or even just a few weeks. And of course, if the for-sale item is not one you need, you’re better off leaving it in the store. But, if you know what to shop for and you’re careful to stick to what you need and can afford, you can find some great deals. 

Let’s look at what to buy and what to skip this Memorial Day weekend. 

Buy: Outdoor Essentials 
Welcome summer with outdoor gear like grills, lawn mowers, ladders and more, which are marked down as much as 50% at stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Online retailers, like Wayfair and Overstock, host similar events and may offer free two-day shipping in honor of the summer kickoff. 

Skip: Electronics 
You’re going to see crazy-low deals on gaming consoles, laptops, and tablets around Memorial Day weekend. But, unless you need one now, wait it out. You’ll find even better deals on electronics during the Black Friday season. 

Buy: Furniture 
Snag a great deal on a fully loaded patio set, pick up a marked-down comfortable sofa, and swap your old mattresses for inexpensive new ones at Memorial Day sale events. 

Skip: TVs 
Most marked-down TVs you’ll find around Memorial Day are older models with outdated features. Find better deals for newer models in November or January.  

Buy: Wedding Registry Gifts 
Department stores, like Macy’s and JC Penney, offer discounts on household essentials, such as coffee makers and blenders, in anticipation of the wedding season. 

Skip: Cars 
If you’re looking for a new set of wheels, wait until after June. You’ll find the hottest deals between July and October. 

Buy: Tires
Preparing the family car for a summer road trip? You’ll find the year’s best prices on tires around Memorial Day weekend. 

Skip: Swimwear 
Don’t splurge on swimwear and other summer apparel just yet. Wait until June, or even mid-summer, for the steepest discounts.  

Buy: Spring Apparel
Retailers have been displaying their warmer-weather line for months, which makes the end of May the perfect time to stock up on spring-wear. 

Skip: Power Tools 
You’ll only have to wait a few weeks for the hottest deals on power tools. Father’s Day sales usually start at the beginning of June, and offer deep discounts on power tools and other outdoor power equipment. 

Buy: Appliances and Home Décor 
Retailers and manufacturers mark down large household appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens at the end of May. You can also score deals on home décor, like light fixtures, flooring and kitchen essentials, at Memorial Day sale events. 

Now that you know what to buy and what to skip this Memorial Day, kick off the season of poolside barbecues and aimless road trips by snagging a great deal! 

DoverPhila Set to Host Annual Video Game Tournament

2019 Video Game Tournament Presented by DoverPhilaFederal Credit Union and GameStop

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is partnering with Park Place Teen Center and the GameStop located on Bluebell Drive in New Philadelphia to host the 2019 Video Game Tournament on Friday, May 31st.

The free event kicks off at 3:45PM at Park Place Teen Center located in Tuscora Park and is open to all area youth in grades 6 through 12.

The 2019 Video Game Tournament consists of two, single-elimination mini tournaments and a championship game for top scorers of the mini tournaments. Featured games are Forza, Madden, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Prizes are awarded to the top players.

All tournament participants receive DoverPhila and GameStop gear and access to food, beverages, and other activities available at Park Place Teen Center.

Participants are encouraged to register prior to the tournament at www.dpfcu.org or by visiting Park Place Teen Center or any DoverPhila Federal Credit Union location.

Visit the 2019 Video Game Tournament event page on Facebook or call 330-364-8874 for more information.

More Reasons to Love Being a Member of DoverPhila

Your credit union membership is about the trust and care of community, built around where you live, work, learn, and play. That’s why we’ve made it so that your DoverPhila Federal Credit Union membership saves you money through exclusive member only offers through our trusted partners. Through Love My Credit Union Rewards, credit union members have saved over $2 billion with offers like:

  •  $100 cash reward with each new line you activate with Sprint. Plus, existing customers earn $100 Annual Loyalty Cash Rewards, and 25% off select accessories in Sprint stores.

  • Credit union membership also saves you up to $15 on TurboTax federal products.

  • We want you feeling as safe at home as you do in our credit union. That’s why you can get an exclusive smoke communicator and a $100 gift card with a new ADT home monitoring security system. Just call 844-703-0123 to get this special offer through the Love My Credit Union Rewards Program.

  • Sometimes accidents happen, but credit union members enjoy special True Savings with TruStage Auto and Home Insurance.

  • Your credit union membership benefits go with you when you shop too! With Love to Shop, get member only cash back rewards from over 1500 online retailers.

Learn all about how your credit union membership gets you all these exclusive savings, and more at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union or LoveMyCreditUnion.org. Check them out and start enjoying credit union member benefits you never knew you had before.

DoverPhila Celebrates Youth Members

We often look at pictures to remember the past, but what about the future?

If you ask your children, they can likely picture a future they would like to live in. Some dream to become doctors and help people, others want to be known for their talents. For children and teenagers, the future brings limitless possibilities. But no matter what the dream is, financial education can be instrumental in helping achieve it.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union knows that financial literacy is a crucial skill for people, but it is one that too few are learning. We believe that financially prepared youth is the key to a successful future, and that is why we are using April to celebrate our youth members.

The theme for this year’s youth celebration is “The future is yours… Picture it! Save for it! Share it!” To kick-off the celebration, we are hosting a Picture It! Save for It! Share It! Contest. The month-long contest that ends April 30th encourages members, 17 years old and younger, to submit vision board posters that consist of photos and illustrations that express their own financial goals/future. Submissions will hang in the lobby of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s main office on Fillmore Avenue in Dover. Winners receive a $50 deposit into their youth accounts.

Also in conjunction with this year’s youth celebration is Bonus Week. From April 22nd through April 27th, youth club members can receive a 10% bonus up to $10 on qualifying deposits made to their youth accounts. Each deposit made during this week is an entry into a DPFCU gift basket drawing.     

Please click here or contact a DoverPhila member service representative for details and rules regarding the youth celebration.

Five Ways to Pay Off a Loan Early

If you’re like most Americans, you owe money toward a large loan. Whether that means carrying thousands of dollars in credit card debt, having a hefty mortgage in your name, or making car loan payments each month – loan debt is part of your life.

It can all get kind of depressing—but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can pay off your mortgage, auto loan, credit card debt, and any other debt you’re carrying quicker than you thought possible with a carefully applied technique. These tricks won’t hurt your finances in any dramatic way, but they can make a big difference to the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan and help you become debt-free faster.

A note of caution before we explore these tricks: Check with your lender before employing any approach, as some loan types have penalties for making extra or early payments.

1. Make bi-weekly payments. Instead of making monthly payments toward your loan, submit half-payments every two weeks. The benefits to this approach are two-fold:

  • Your payments will be applied more often, so less interest can accrue.

  • You’ll make 26 half-payments each year, which translates into an extra full payment on the year, thereby shortening the life of the loan by several months or even years. If you choose this method with a 30-year mortgage, you can shorten it to 26 years!

2. Round up your monthly payments. Round up your monthly payments to the nearest $50 for an effortless way to shorten your loan. For example, if your auto loan costs you $220 each month, bring that number up to $250. The difference is too small to make a tangible dent in your budget, but large enough to knock a few months off the life of your loan and save you a significant amount in interest.

3. Make one extra payment each year. If you can’t make bi-weekly payments, but you like the idea of an extra yearly payment, accomplish the same goal by committing to just one more payment in the year. You’ll only feel the squeeze once (tax or bonus time, perhaps) and you’ll still shorten the life of the loan. You can also spread that extra payment throughout the year. Divide your monthly payment by 12 and then add that cost to your payments all year long. You’ll be making an extra payment while hardly feeling the pinch.

4. Refinance. If interest rates have dropped since you took out your loan or your credit has improved dramatically, contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union to ask about refinancing, whether the loan is with us or not. Refinancing makes the most sense if it can help you pay down the loan sooner. You should easily be able to afford shortening the life of the loan with a lower interest rate.

5. Boost your income and put all extra money toward the loan. Cut the life of your loan short by earning more money and putting the extra cash towards your loan. Consider selling stuff on Amazon, moonlighting as a consultant, or taking on a side hustle. Even a job that nets you an extra $200 a month can make a big difference in your loan.


Triumph over your loans by using one or more of these tricks to make them shorter and pay less interest. Feel free to contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union if you have questions about loan repayment or if you need a fresh perspective on debt repayment. Our free, on-staff financial counselors can help!

Cash Flow Budgeting: A Fast, Flexible Way to Fix Your Finances

You’ve heard it from a million places: Budget your money! Make a firm plan and stick with it. It’s the pathway to prosperity!

For many people, though, that advice just doesn’t resonate. They feel constricted by a budget. Keeping cash in separate envelopes makes them feel like they can’t have a life. It takes too much planning and too much rigid denial. They break their budget and sometimes wind up in serious financial trouble.

Other people have an inconsistent cash flow, making creating and keeping a budget difficult. Maybe they’re freelancers who work gig-to-gig. Maybe they’re in commissioned sales. Maybe their hours fluctuate from month to month. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to make a detailed plan when your bottom line changes every month.

The answer isn’t to give up on budgeting. The collective wisdom, that monitoring your expenses and income streams is the way to stability, still holds true. It might just require a different approach to budgeting: cash flow focus.

Cash flow focus is the strategy used by most businesses. They pay their fixed costs, and whatever is left is used to grow the business. You can manage your finances the same way. Just follow these four steps:

1. Automate your savings. Even if you disregard everything else in this article, implementing this one tip can be life-changing. Figure out how much of your income you can save, and then take that out as soon as you get paid. You can set up monthly transfers from your draft account to your savings account. You can also divide the money between the accounts on a per deposit basis. How you choose to do so is less important than doing so.

Like the saying goes, pay yourself first. This savings provides you the flexibility to cover big expenses or make major purchases on your schedule. It’s the single most important step in any budget, but it’s even more important with cash flow budgeting.

When you automate your savings, you remove the money you saved from consideration. You can’t spend it; you’ve already spent it on savings. The importance of this kind of savings will become more clear once you see this budget in action.

2. Pay your needs and your priorities. Make a list of your essential expenses each month. Include your rent or house payment, your car loan, and your utilities. Also include your student loan payments, your insurance, and other necessary expenses. These are your “fixed costs.” They get paid after your savings contributions are made.

Next, make a list of your priorities. Include your charitable contributions, vacation savings, and retirement account contributions. These are your “growth expenses.” They get paid after your fixed costs.

If you don’t have enough money to make these bills, you don’t need a better budget. You need to lower those bills or increase your income. No amount of spreadsheet magic will change that bottom line.

It’s helpful to automate savings for these expenses, too. That way, you never get caught short on these bills. Transferring this money to a check-only draft account can be a helpful way to ensure you don’t spend it.

3. Spend the leftovers. This message may sound peculiar for personal finance advice. Remember, though, that you’ve already automated your savings. What you’re spending here is the leftovers – the extra that’s left at the end of the month.

 Spend this money however you like – don’t worry about putting this much in entertainment and that much in travel. Just keep track of how much you’ve spent so you don’t accidentally overdraft your account.

This approach allows you to go out or indulge in a latte. You don’t have to worry about including it in your budget. Your spending habits might change as the month goes on, just like a business. If you know there’s a big outing before you get paid again, you may want to save some money for that. You don’t need to say that you can’t go because you didn’t budget for it.

4. Roll over what’s left. If you have worked in a big business, then you have seen departments desperately spending at the end of the fiscal year. Departments buy cases of pens and paper, knowing that they will lose whatever they don’t spend. Fortunately, you’re more flexible than a big business. You don’t have to spend it all. If you have money left over at the end of the month, then you have more to spend the next month.

If you have a month with slightly higher expenses, you can cover it from a previous month’s slightly lower expenses. Your spending will change from month to month, as might your income. So long as you keep the former smaller than the latter in the long run, you’ll be fine.

That’s what cash flow budgeting is about: flexibility. You don’t have to write your non-budgeted spending purposes in stone. You don’t have to mess with cash envelopes or other strategies. You can spend when you have money and save for when you don’t.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union can help if you’re thinking about adopting a budget. A friendly, knowledgeable financial counselor can walk you through the savings tools you need. You can automate your savings, flex your spending, and build toward financial security. Members can call 330-364-8874 or stop by the credit union’s main office on Fillmore Avenue in Dover for more information.

Sticking to Financial Resolutions

Ohioans, like most Americans, entered 2019 hoping to better their finances, but many have likely already fallen off track.

In an Ohio Credit Union League 2019 consumer survey, 69 percent said their New Year’s resolution was to get on a budget. That statistic isn’t surprising; many Americans looked critically at their financial situations as they headed into 2019. Statista, a platform providing statistical data on a variety of topics, polled 2,000 people about their New Year’s resolutions in early January. The survey found financial goals were the fourth most-popular New Year’s resolution, falling just behind dieting, exercising, and losing weight. 

Americans had good intentions to get their finances in order in 2019, but that doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily stuck to their new budgets. According to research commissioned by GuideVine, a service that matches people with financial advisers, 70 percent of Americans with a budget struggle to stick to it.

And it’s not likely that making your budget a New Year’s resolution will make keeping with it any easier. According to the Ohio Credit Union League survey, 79 percent of Ohioans make incremental improvements toward keeping their resolutions each year, but fall short of keeping them. Another 14 percent have never kept a New Year’s resolution.

The average American doesn’t fare much better. According to a study of 1,450 Americans by Vitagene, 88.6 percent reported they’d likely keep their resolutions for a year or less. Another 36.6 percent of respondents said they usually keep their resolutions for a month or less, meaning they’d be off track by February.

Although your train may have gone off track, all hope is not lost. Here are some tips to help you attain your resolution of getting down to business, paying off bills, buying a house, opening an IRA for retirement, or getting on a path to better financial stability. 

  • Use a budgeting tool. A successful budget must be recorded somewhere. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union offers Banzai, an award-winning financial literacy program that has user-friendly budgeting tools such as calculators, simulated games, and an interactive library with educational articles. Consider budgeting apps such as EveryDollar and YouNeedABudget if you’re looking for more mobile options.

  • Be realistic about spending and saving. Don’t set goals you can’t realistically achieve with your budget. Trying to spend too little or save too much each month could create frustration, which will increase the likelihood that you will dump your budget altogether. Instead, map out incremental changes you can make that will add up to big financial gains over time.

  • Keep goals in mind. Reminding yourself how you would ultimately like your money to work for you can help with exercising control over impulsive spending habits. Consider making your goals visual if you have a hard time picturing your long-term goals when you are tempted to splurge. Try keeping a picture of your ideal retirement in your wallet or a list of all the reasons you want that new car stuck to the fridge. 

  • Reward yourself. It is important to keep long-term goals in mind, but rewarding yourself for small budgeting wins along the way will keep you feeling positive about your budget. The more positively you feel toward a task, the more likely you are to continue performing it. After you reach certain budgeting goals, treat yourself to a small splurge. You earned it!

  • Seek help. Consider asking for help if you are struggling with sticking to a budget. Sometimes, aid can come in the form of a family member who shares household finances. Other times, however, you may require an expert opinion. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union offers free financial counseling to members and is always happy to aid with budget set-up and maintenance.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is here to help you reach your financial resolutions. Call the credit union at 330-364-8874 or visit your local credit union for more information.

Reasons to Not Skip a Home Inspection

Shopping for a new home can be an exciting blur of listings, neighborhood scouting and open houses. There’s so much to consider! You want a house in the perfect neighborhood with that gorgeous kitchen and great yard, all within your budget. And then, it all finally comes together and you think you’ve found your dream home. But don’t go “under contract” just yet! Before you officially become the new owner of the house, learn all you can about its general condition by having a home inspection.

A home inspection can set you back several hundred dollars, but it can easily save you thousands down the line. The inspector carefully examines the entire house and checks its systems, structure, and equipment for functionality and potential problems. Having an inspection contingency in your contract gives you a way to opt out even after you are officially under contract. 

Here are some reasons you don’t want to skip a home inspection: 

  • Find deal-breakers. A house may look fantastic, yet have major issues with wiring, roof, HVAC, plumbing, and more. A quality home inspection gives you the inside scoop. You might want to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals any large problems that may take heavy work or expensive repairs – or ask the seller to fix the problems before the closing date if you like the home too much to back away. Sellers sometimes agree to cover any major repairs or to offer the buyer a credit toward overseeing the repairs themselves. 

  • Safety concerns. An inspection can reveal the presence of harmful substances like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold. Look for these hazards before the home is officially yours. You do not want any unpleasant surprises after it is too late. 

  • Anticipate future costly repairs. A professional inspector can determine the age and condition of the home’s systems and equipment, and then forecast when repair or replacement may be needed. This might not be a big enough deal for you to back out of the contract, but it can help you budget for a major repair several years down the line. Alternatively, you may be able to use it for price negotiation. 

  • Reveal illegal additions. An inspection checks for rooms, garages, and basements that were added or finished without following legal codes or obtaining the proper permits. Having an illegal addition in your home means owning property that does not officially exist. This can get you into trouble with home insurance and property taxes. It can also make it difficult to do more work on these areas in your home. You can ask the seller to obtain the proper permits if a home inspection reveals any illegal additions. This information can be used as a bargaining chip.  

  • Obtain insurance easily. Lots of home insurance companies do not insure a home if it has not undergone a certified inspection because they do not want to take a chance covering a home that is going to need costly repairs in the near future. 

  • Learn how to protect your investment. If possible, arrange to follow the inspector around the home as they complete the job. They are an invaluable source of information to you by providing tips and knowledge on how best to maintain your home, its systems, and its equipment. Knowing how to properly care for your home can save you thousands of dollars over the years. 

  • Negotiate. Most home inspections reveal several problems. You can use them as bargaining chips to renegotiate the purchasing price of the home if these problems are minor enough to keep you interested in buying the house in its present condition.

It’s never a good idea to skip a home inspection no matter how perfect your dream home looks.

Are you in the market for a new home? Click here, stop by DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, or call 330-364-8874 today to ask about the home loan options we have for you.

Tax Reform 101: 5 Reasons You Should Start Planning for Next Year Now

Even if you didn’t owe money this past tax season it’s more important than ever to plan for next tax season now. The idea of tax planning isn’t anything new, but with so many changes under the new tax reform law, DoverPhila Federal Credit Union wanted to break down the five reasons to start planning, and the moves you can make now to help you save money on your taxes when you file.

Five Reasons to Start Planning
1. Lower tax rates, more money. One of the biggest changes under the new tax law that may impact how much you need to have withheld from your paycheck is the reduced tax rates. Tax rates were reduced about 1 – 3% for the majority of taxpayers so you may be seeing more money in your paycheck. Although the IRS adjusted the withholding tables that employers use to produce the correct amount of tax withholding for people with simpler tax situations, for instance, those who only take the standard deduction, the withholding tables don’t reflect some of the other changes that impact more involved tax returns like the reduction of some itemized deductions.

 2. Elimination of personal and dependent exemptions. Under the new tax law the personal and dependent exemptions of $4,050 were eliminated. If you are married and have a few kids, the elimination of your personal and dependent exemptions can mean a big reduction in the number of write-offs you once had.

3. Increase in the Child Tax Credit. Although you’re no longer able to take the dependent deduction, the new tax reform law increased the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. The law also adds a new, non-refundable credit of $500 for dependents other than children. Finally, it raises the income threshold at which these benefits phase out from $110,000 for a married couple to $400,000, which means more people will be eligible for the credit. The Child Tax Credit is for kids under the age of 17. You may see a change in your taxes this year if your youth celebrated a 17th birthday.

4. Changes if you’re a homeowner. If you are a homeowner or you are considering buying your dream home, some of the changes in the new tax law are very important for you. As an existing homeowner, you may see fewer tax deductions that lower your tax liability especially if you live in a state with high property taxes since the new law limits the amount of state and local property, income, and sales taxes that can be deducted to $10,000. In the past, these taxes have generally been fully tax deductible. Due to the cap on these tax deductions, you may now also have to take the standard deduction on your taxes instead of taking itemized deductions since the standard deduction has almost doubled. Don’t worry about knowing if you take the standard deduction or itemized deduction at tax time.

If you are considering purchasing a new home this year, one thing to keep in mind is the law also caps the amount of mortgage indebtedness on new home purchases on which interest can be deducted at $750,000 down from $1,000,000 in the former law if you already own a home. If you are trying to make a decision between purchasing in a high property state like California or a state with lower property prices, knowing about these changes could help you with your decision.

5. Elimination of tax deductions. The new tax reform law eliminated several popular tax breaks starting in tax year 2018 (the one you file in 2019) like miscellaneous itemized deductions. This includes deductions such as job search expenses, unreimbursed work expenses, investment expenses and tax preparation fees, exceeding 2% of adjusted gross income as well as moving expenses.


What You Can Do to Start Planning Now?
Adjust your withholding allowances. One of the best things you can do is to use the TurboTax updated W-4 calculator to boost your tax refund — or your take-home pay.

Reduce your taxable income. You can decrease your taxable income by making smart money moves throughout the year like investing in your 401K or IRA. Also, don’t forget expenses like paying student loan interest can be tax deductible and will decrease your taxable income at tax time.

As a member of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, you have access to TurboTax at an affordable price. TurboTax is always up to date with the latest forms and 100% accurate calculations. There is no fretting your taxes when you use TurboTax. You can file your taxes with complete confidence – and get your biggest possible refund, guaranteed. Click here to access TurboTax and your savings!

Warm Up to the Bill Pay Winter Sweepstakes

Image: Bill Pay Sweepstakes

Pay bills online with DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s online bill pay in December and January for entries into the 2018 Bill Pay Sweepstakes. Two cash prizes of $5000 will be awarded EACH month during the promotion!

To enter for a chance to win, complete one of these options:

  • Add 5 new payees to DoverPhila’s bill pay. Schedule recurring payments to ensure you are entered each month.

  • Make 5 or more online bill payments.

Online bill pay is convenient, secure, and a smart way to pay your bills. Sign up today at www.dpfcu.org if you’re not already paying your bills with the credit union’s online bill pay.

More information and the official rules for the 2018 Bill Pay Sweepstakes is available here: https://tinyurl.com/ycfk7ob2.

To participate in the sweepstakes visit https://billpaysweepstakes.com/dpfcu.

DoverPhila Gives Back to Youth Members and the Community

Image: DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members present a check to the local Salvation Army

Image: DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members present a check to the local Salvation Army

The holidays came early for DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s youngest members and its local Salvation Army.

On December 7, the credit union gave a $10 holiday gift to its DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members – over 1,400 youth. The $14,000 amount was matched and then donated to the Salvation Army of Tuscarawas County.

The Salvation Army is a global and local organization that consists of dedicated staff and committed volunteers that work every day within communities to provide basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Beyond those basic needs, The Salvation Army invests time in the human spirit by offering counseling, education programs, recovery/support programs, and spiritual support for those willing to accept it.

“Today’s youth is our community’s future. It is our fiscal responsibility to build a strong community and to best serve our members,” said Jack Dooling, Chief Executive Officer and President of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union. “What better way to do that than by rewarding youth members for taking the initiative to be financially responsible while also giving back to an organization that is dedicated to serving that same community.”

The credit union is proud to offer specialized savings accounts that are designed for youth ages 17 and under. DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver accounts encourage members to adopt healthy financial habits at an early age. The accounts offer no annual fees, competitive interest rates, and dividends to teach youth that saving money always pays. Each DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver member also has access to newsletters, contests, saving incentives, exclusive events, and more.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union has been proudly serving the financial needs of its members and community for 65 years. It has offices in Dover, New Philadelphia, Newcomerstown, and Uhrichsville. Those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Tuscarawas County can become a member of the credit union with a simple $5 deposit. Visit www.dpfcu.org for more information.

Don't Be A Victim of Social Security Fraud

Any of the hundreds of scams around today can make you feel like we live in a world gone mad. How cruel can someone be to con a poor victim out of thousands of dollars?

But one of the most heartless scams making the rounds is the one targeting the elderly who depend on Social Security benefits for basic living needs. Victims may be left with no resources at all when they are tricked out of their benefits or their accounts are emptied. Worse yet, scammers are fully aware that the elderly make for easy victims. Many older Americans are from a bygone era in which anyone on the phone could be trusted. They haven’t grown up in a society that knows to constantly look over their shoulders and to cover their keypads when punching in a PIN. The elderly can be naïve and trusting, and it is this endearing naivety that can make them fall prey to scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of a recent surge in Social Security scams which, unfortunately, are often successful.

Here’s how these scams work:
The victim receives a phone call from an alleged Social Security employee telling them their benefits have been suspended and must be reactivated. The caller claims the suspension is due to suspicious account activity or that it happened because of a computer glitch. To lift the suspension, the scammer says, the victim must share their personal information, including full legal name, phone number, Social Security number, and financial account information.

Alternatively, the victim will receive an automated voice message instructing them to call a specific number to correct a problem with their Social Security benefits. Upon calling the given phone number, the victim is asked to provide their personal information.

In yet another version of this Social Security scam, the victim receives an email that looks like it came from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The email will include a link asking the victim to update their personal information, giving a similar backstory as above.

If you receive Social Security benefits, or you know someone else who does, protect yourself and your loved ones by reviewing and educating others about these tips:

  • The Social Security Administration will never call about suspended benefits. There’s no reason to believe a caller who claims your benefits have been suspended. First, Social Security benefits don’t get suspended because of computer glitches. Second, the SSA will not call you to request your personal information out the blue. Government agencies rarely make phone calls to private citizens. When they do, the citizen will always know to expect that call.

  • Never share personal information via unsecured means. Don’t trust just anyone. It’s best not to share personal information over the phone or the internet. If you must, verify that you are interacting with the party you believe you’ve reached. The best way to do so is by contacting the SSA yourself at 1-800-772-1213. Remember, con artists are experts at looking and sounding like genuine government officials. Don’t fall for their tricks.

  • Report all scam attempts. Help combat these scams by reporting any attempts made to con you out of your personal information. If you receive a phone call or an email from an alleged SSA employee requesting information, don’t respond. Instead, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or call your local Social Security office and ask if there is actually a problem with your benefits. If, as is likely, there is no problem and you’re being scammed, the SSA will be better equipped to stop the scammers from conning more victims. You can also call the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at 1-866-501-2101 or complete a Public Fraud Reporting form at the OIG website at socialsecurity.gov. Finally, report the scam attempt to the FTC at ftc.gov.

  • Tell your friends and family. Fight back by doing your own part to stop those scammers. Tell anyone you know who receives Social Security benefits about these scams and warn them not to share their information on the phone and online.

Let’s keep our money safe and send those scammers packing! Contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union at 330-364-8874 if you have questions regarding possible identity fraud or a scam with your account.

8 Reasons To Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Mega e-tailers, like Amazon and Walmart, may monopolize online commerce, but it’s the small businesses across the country that keep the economy going. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all sales in the country. Small businesses create jobs, build a demand for locally made products, and keep communities thriving. 

Your local small businesses are part of your community’s landscape. That’s where you rub shoulders with your neighbors, where you catch the latest town news, and where you’re always greeted with a warm smile. At a local small business, you’ll be guaranteed superior service and the gratification that comes from knowing you’re supporting the economy in your own community. 

Here at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, we strongly believe in supporting the community and helping local businesses flourish. Join us in our mission by shopping local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season. 

Here are our some of our top reasons to shop local: 

HELP CREATE JOBS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
The money you spend at local retailers goes back into your community. When you support these small businesses, you enable them to grow and hire more workers, thus creating more jobs and helping the local economy thrive. 

KEEPS YOUR TAX DOLLARS IN THE COMMUNITY
Why pay to support public services in a town across the country? Let your tax dollars serve your own community by shopping local, small businesses. 

When you spend your money at local retailers, approximately $68 of every $100 spent will be reinvested in your community. That money will go toward better schools, libraries and parks—in your own neighborhood. 

SUPPORT THE AMERICAN DREAM
Keep the spirit of America alive by supporting the American Dream: Anyone can start a business and work to keep it thriving. When you shop local, you’re showing support for the entrepreneurs in your community, those folks who were brave enough to strike out on their own.   

SMALL BUSINESSES GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
According to Community Business Finance, 92% of small business owners personally donate to charities and nonprofit organizations. Whether it’s a contracting company that sponsors a little league team or a café that hosts an open mike night to raise money for the local soup kitchen, small businesses play a large part in supporting community causes and charities. 

When you shop local, you’re enabling small businesses to continue supporting community charities. 

CELEBRATE YOUR COMMUNITY
Celebrate your community on Small Business Saturday! Spend a delightful afternoon browsing the local shops and talking with customers and small business owners. Ask about their family members, chat about the weather, and revisit all your favorite local hotspots. You’ll reconnect with your community, support its businesses, and rediscover what makes it thrive. 

FIND UNIQUE GIFTS
Skip the overrated, mass-produced items at huge chain stores this holiday season, and find gifts for everyone on your list at local stores. You’ll be rewarded with an array of truly unique and durable items that will make the perfect gifts for your family and friends. 

HELP KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY INTERESTING
Imagine your community with no small businesses, only franchise stores from major retailers and restaurants. How boring would that be? Sure, we need those mainstream retailers and everyone likes a fast food chain they know well, but it’s the small businesses that keep the community vibrant and colorful. They’re the ones running quirky marketing campaigns and hosting online contests that have the entire town buzzing.

You wouldn’t want any of the charming little stores that dot your town’s landscape to be forced to close due to a lack of business.  These stores rely on your patronage! Shop local to help keep those mom-and-pop shops thriving. 

EXPLORE NEW RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS
What better way to try out the latest haunts in town than by spending the day shopping local, small businesses? Give that new pizza place a try, sample the lattes at the small coffee joint that just opened its doors, and browse through the merchandise at the quaint costume jewelry store you’ve been wanting to check out since its grand opening. It’s a fantastically fun way to kick off your holiday shopping! 

On Small Business Saturday, and throughout the holiday season, give back to the community you love by shopping local. You’ll be glad you did!

Do You Still Need a Landline?

Your landline – should you or shouldn’t you get rid of it? If you’re feeling like your landline has got to go, you’re not alone. Landlines are quite outdated. In fact, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that more than half of American homes exclusively used wireless phone service during the first half of 2017.

Before you make a decision to cut the wire, read up on the main reasons people cling to their landlines, and why some of them may not matter after all. 


COMMUNICATION DURING EMERGENCIES
This is easily the most pressing reason that keeps people tied to their landlines. If a natural disaster or a power outage hits your area, your cellphones eventually run out of juice. Your landline, on the other hand, keeps you connected to the outside world even when the lights go out.

Why this may not matter:
Here’s where a huge misconception comes into play: Many newer landlines actually won’t work in a power outage. 

Older landlines, which are connected via copper wires to switch boxes and transmit calls between phones plugged into the wall, almost always work in a natural disaster. They connect through wires and don’t depend on electricity. So, your reasoning is sound if your landline is older.

It’s not so simple if your phone line is newer. Most telecommunication companies no longer use copper wires because it does a poor job transmitting signals for cable TV and internet. Most telecom companies that offer bundled services use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) line instead of copper wires. These lines transmit phone service over the same cables and wires used for the home’s internet connection. A VoIP line needs to be plugged directly into the household’s internet gateway device to work. Landline and internet connected via shared VoIP line stop working when the power goes out. This includes your phone. Ironically, the primary reason people hold onto their landlines may not even be relevant at all.


LET 911 FIND YOU
Here’s where a landline really works for you during times of crisis: It helps emergency responders find you quickly. Operators instantly have your location when you call from a landline. Calls from cell phones are harder to trace.


CALL QUALITY
Call quality of a landline tops that of a cellphone. Landlines rarely make your voice sound tinny, they won’t suddenly drop your calls in middle of an important conversation, and they are hardly guilty of filling your phone line with annoying static.

What about your cellphone? You never know what your cellphone quality will be thanks to bandwidth allocation and its small receiver and microphone.

Why this may not matter: 
You can have great call quality with a cellphone if you have excellent reception at home and impeccable phone service.


MONEY SAVED
In another twist of irony, clinging to your landline might actually be saving you money each month. Here’s why: Most telecommunication companies offer special deals on service bundles like cable, internet, and a landline. If you cut the landline, but keep the other two services, you may not be eligible for that great deal any longer and you end up paying more for fewer services.

Why this may not matter:
If you don’t bundle your telecom services and you keep your phone line separate from your internet connection, this won’t apply.


CHEAPER INTERNATIONAL OPTIONS
You may have a terrific cellphone plan, but your bill can look scary if you ever use you cellphone for an out-of-country phone call. Landlines, on the other hand, often offer fantastic international plans that can make overseas calls affordable.

Why this might not matter:
This factor might not make a difference to you if you rarely make calls overseas.


SHARE A FAMILY PHONE
It can be expensive to get each family member a cellphone. It’s also annoying to have to constantly nag them about not going over their minutes or data coverage.

Why this might not matter:
This won’t concern you if each child already has a cellphone and the family is on a share plan with enough minutes and data to go around.

So, can you hang up on your landline or not? The jury is still out on this one. But, if you carefully consider your own needs and particular circumstances, you can make the decision that’s right for you.

All You Need to Know About Buying a Used Car

Buying a previously owned vehicle can be a great way to save big on one of your most valuable possessions. If you’re shopping for an amazing deal on wheels, then follow the steps below for a smoother ride!

Step 1: WORK OUT A BUDGET
How are you paying for your new set of wheels?

Your purchase will be fairly simple if you’re paying with cash. You already have your spending cap and you know what you can afford. Just make sure not to spend it all on the car, or you won’t be able to cover your vehicle’s insurance, registration, repairs, and future maintenance.

An auto loan is your best option if you’re unable to use cash. Talk to a lender to determine how much car you can afford. Research a few lenders before making a decision and only take the car dealer’s financing if it beats any other offers you have (but be sure to read any fine print). You may be pushed into taking out a larger loan, but be careful not to let your total monthly auto expenses top 20% of your take-home pay.

It’s also a good idea to get pre-approved for an auto loan before stepping foot in the dealer’s lot or visiting their website. Stop by DoverPhila Federal Credit Union to find out about our fantastic auto loans!

Step 2: CREATE A TARGET LIST
Which make and model vehicle do you want to buy? Do you want a car, truck, SUV, or maybe a hybrid? There are many choices and options. Check out Consumer Reports or J.D. Power for reliability ratings on each type of vehicle from the most recent model years. You’ll find detailed reviews and lists of common trouble spots to note. Narrow down your choices to three or four model cars.

Step 3: RESEARCH
With just a few keystrokes, you can get the skinny on your vehicles of choice. Visit Cars.com or TrueCar.com to get started. You can also find used cars for sale in any of these locations:

  • The used-car section of new-car dealerships

  • Used-car dealerships

  • Used-car retailers like CarMax.com

  • Websites, like Craigslist.com or AutoTrader.com, where car owners list their vehicles for sale

Of the four choices, private-party sellers will likely offer the lowest price. However, these cars are not backed by dealerships, so you’re taking a bigger risk with the purchase.

Be sure to consider the vehicle’s year, make, model and mileage when doing your research. It’s also a good idea to find out what the average asking price is for the car you want to buy.

Step 4: GET THE VEHICLE HISTORY REPORT
Learn all you can about each vehicle once you’ve narrowed down your search. What kind of repairs or maintenance did it undergo? Was it ever involved in a collision? Find out with a vehicle history report.

You can get a detailed vehicle report on AutoCheck.com or Carfax.com. Ask the dealer if they have one available for review – policies vary, but many will gladly show it to your or email you a copy. If obtaining one on your own, you’ll be asked for the vehicle identification number (VIN) or for the license plate number.

Step 5: CALL THE SELLER
Contact the seller to verify the information you’ve learned about the car. If you’re using a private-party seller, then ask the owner why they’re selling the car and inquire about any possible mechanical issues. If you’re working with a dealership, then a phone call or an email is a quick way to make sure the car is still available. You can also ask for any basic information about the car that you weren’t able to find out on your own.

Set up an appointment to take the car for a test drive if everything checks out.

Step 6: TEST DRIVE
Pay attention to these details as you try out your potential new car:

  • Is there sufficient legroom and headroom?

  • Is the ride smooth?

  • How is the acceleration and power?

  • Are the seats comfortable and adjustable?

  • Is the “check engine” light illuminated after initial startup?

  • Do you have full visibility?

  • Are the brakes working well and working quietly?

  • Do all the lights (headlights, brake lights, turning signals, internal lights) work?

  • Do the automatic window mechanisms and lock-door buttons work?

If your car has passed the test drive, then ask to see the vehicle’s service records to determine if the car is current with its scheduled maintenance check-ups.

Step 7: HAVE IT PROFESSIONAL INSPECTED
Private sellers and most dealerships won’t have a problem with you taking the car to a mechanic for an inspection. Having your car professionally inspected will only cost you about $100 now, but it can save you loads of aggravation and lots of money down the line.

Step 8: NEGOTIATE
Here’s where the real fun starts! If you’ve worked out your financing, then you already know your spending cap. Otherwise, work it out now before you start bargaining.

Don’t talk about monthly payments when negotiating a price; talk about the price of the car. Make an opening offer based on the average price for your car and use all the information you’ve learned about your vehicle as bargaining chips. Be firm and don’t sound desperate and you will land up with a fairly priced vehicle.

Step 9: MAKE IT OFFICIAL
You’re ready to become the official new owner of your car.

If you’re working with a dealership, then you’ll sign the contract in their financing office. You may be offered additional products and protection here, but make sure the price is worthwhile. Check with DoverPhila Federal Credit Union first. We are able to extend similar protection to our members and have a variety of options tailored to our members’ needs.

Don’t be alarmed if you see extra charges tacked onto your documentation such as sales tax and a license fee. These are standard in most states. If you’re buying your car from a private-party seller, then make sure the title and registration are officially transferred to you.

Don’t forget to have insurance before driving off the lot. Once that is finalized, you’re all set to power up and take your new car for its first spin!

Click here for more information regarding DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s auto loans and products.

Staying Safe Online

With the average American spending 24 hours a week online, internet safety is more important than ever. A hacked or compromised computer can put you at risk for money loss, phishing scams, or even complete identity theft.

If your computer’s security has been breached, then it can be turned into a “middle man” for online theft. Criminals may remotely control a computer with weak security and use it as a patsy for large-scale crimes against hundreds or thousands of other computer users. An unprotected computer can commit awful crimes without its owner even knowing about it!

Fortunately, keeping your privacy, money, and sensitive information safe when browsing the internet is simple; all it takes is awareness, some proactive steps, and lots of common sense. Read on for steps you can take to keep yourself safe online.

AVOID FAKE SITES
The easiest way to get scammed online is to visit a fraudulent site. If you are browsing a site you do not usually use, then ask yourself these questions to make sure it is safe:

  • Does your browser warn you against visiting the site? Whether you browse with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, your browser will warn you about certain sites based on actual data and user reports.

  • Is the web text riddled with grammar mistakes and typos? Reputable website owners are careful to present a polished, professional look. If a site looks like it was written by a small child, then leave the site.

  • Is the site secure? Only visit sites with an “https” and not just an “http” in the address bar.

  • Does the digital footprint check out? Google the company’s name to see what the internet and Better Business Bureau are saying about them.

  • Is there a legitimate “Contact us” section? There should be an authentic physical address and phone number for the business.

  • Is there an excessive amount of ads? Ads are intrinsic to the online world, but if a website seems to be covered in intrusive ads then it is likely a fake.

  • Check the shipping and return policies. If you cannot find this information, the site probably doesn’t really sell anything at all – though they are happy to take your money.

  • Is there a trust seal? Companies that deal with sensitive information make an investment to earn your trust. A trust seal, like the PayPal or Norton Secured seal, tells you the company has worked hard to deserve your trust.

  • Is the URL authentic? When redirected to another site, check the new URL to see if it matches the original company.

PRACTICE PASSWORD SAFETY
It is your key to almost every online board and gated site – do your best to keep it safe! Here is how:

  • Use a password generator. The best way to ensure that your passwords do not get hacked is to use a password generator like Sticky Password, LastPass, or 1Password. These services generate a super-secure password for every site you visit – but you will only need to remember your one master password.

  • Change your password. If you do not like the idea of using a password generator, experts recommend changing your passwords every 30-40 days.

  • Never double passwords. Using common passwords across multiple sites is easy on the memory, but hard on your safety and security.

  • Use strong passwords. For optimal security, choose passwords that include a mixture of capitalization use, numbers, letters, and symbols.

UPDATE YOUR BROWSER
Perhaps the most neglected and simplest step of internet safety is keeping your browser updated. You can increase your browser’s security and improve your computer at the same time with just one click.

Here is why you will want to keep your browser running with its newest version:

  • Increased speed. Each new version of your browser is an improvement on the old one. Why lag behind when you could be using a faster browser?

  • Improved website compatibility. Lots of websites rely on updated browsers to share all of their graphics and features.

  • A better experience. A newer browser will offer you added features, customizable extensions and sleeker graphics.

An updated browser will provide better security. Internet companies are constantly looking for ways to protect you and keep you safer. Take full advantage of their efforts by always using the latest version. Updated browsers offer stronger protection against the most recent scams, phishing attacks, viruses, Trojans, malware, and more. Newer browsers have also patched up security vulnerabilities that may be present in your older browser.

Updating your browser is super-easy and super-quick. Late model computers will update automatically as soon as new iterations are released to the public. If your computer is a little older, then you can choose the “auto-update” feature available on some browsers for the same results. Otherwise, you can update your browser manually by following the instructions on your browser. These are typically easy to follow and take just a few clicks.

Follow these tips for safe online browsing. A few small steps now can save you heaps of aggravation and money lost down the line. Do not let those hackers get to you!

Back-To-School Shopping Hacks

Between new backpacks, textbooks, a long list of supplies and a fresh autumn wardrobe, most parents are looking at a bill of close to $700 for school-related expenses this season. Be proactive and save big! Read on for our handy list of back-to-school shopping hacks that will help you keep more money in your wallet. 

Plan to shop five times
To take full advantage of sales and clearance events throughout the summer, plan on making five shopping trips this season so you can get the best prices when they are offered. 

Stock up 
While prices are low, buy enough school supplies to last through the first half of the year or more. You’ll save a ton and not have the hassle of buying more later. 

Take advantage of loss leaders
Every week this season, retailers sell one product at a super-low price. This is their loss leader: an item priced so cheaply that retailers actually lose money on sales. Make sure you catch those deals! 

Shop the dollar store
Before you hit the regular stores, shop for real bargains at dollar stores like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General.

Buy designer backpacks online
Check out sites like 6PM and eBags for fantastic deals on designer backpacks. 

Use manufacturer coupons
Check out circulars, like RedPlum, and coupon sites, like Retailmenot.com, for manufacturer coupons from supply companies. 

Decode price tags 
Here’s how these popular stores mark their lowest prices: 

  • The Gap: Ending in $.97
  • Target: Ending in an 8
  • Old Navy: Ending in $.47
  • TJMaxx: Yellow price tag

Shop through Love to Shop (exclusive to DoverPhila members)
Do all your online shopping through Love to Shop, a fun and easy way to earn cash back when you shop online at your favorite stores. Credit union members receive cash back for every purchase at over 1,500 online retailersOpens a New Window. in Love to Shop. Get details!

Coordinate with other parents
If you’re in Walmart when they have bargain-priced pencils, offer to buy a few boxes for your friend’s kids. And, when your friend finds the super-hot deal on crayons, he’ll pick up a few boxes for your kids. 

Check out gift-card sites
Save big by buying discounted gift cards to stores like Michael’s and JCPenney on sites like GiftCardGranny and Raise. 

Use the Amazon App
Have your phone handy when shopping so you can comparison-shop when buying your supplies. If an item is cheaper on Amazon, why buy it at a store? 

Sign up for promotional mail

  • H&M: Save 20% on one item when you text your email address to 707-03
  • Kohl’s: Save 15% off your entire order by texting SAVE15 to 564-57
  • Old Navy: Sign up for a weekly text alert by texting 6046 to 653-689 and get a $5 coupon; and also sign up for promo emails on OldNavy.com to get a 30%-off coupon
  • Crazy8: Sign up for emails and receive 18% off your next order plus free shipping
  • The Children’s Place: Input your email address in the pop-up box on TheChildrensPlace.com and get a $10 coupon.

Take advantage of price-matching
Lots of stores, like Office Depot, Staples and Target, offer to match any competitor’s price.

Shop early in the week 
Weekly sales go live on Sundays and the best deals get grabbed first. Shop Sundays and Mondays, and never miss out on a great deal again. 

Save big this season with these back-to-school shopping hacks! And don’t forget to sign up for Love to Shop through Love My Credit Union Rewards!