Orange You Glad O's Opening Day Is Just around the Corner?

by Stacy Tharp 27. March 2014

Have you found yourself dreaming about the smell of Esskay hot dogs, the crunch of empty peanut shells beneath your feet, the perfect balance of a cold beer on a hot day, the eruption of cheers surrounding you? If you have experienced these symptoms, then you, my friend, have a bad case of Orioles Fever. Yes, it is contagious, and it has been spreading like wildfire over these past couple weeks.

Before you find yourself getting into trouble at work trying to start the wave in Conference Room B, we have just the place for you to channel your O's energy!

Join us TOMORROW in celebrating the start to the O’s season with WBAL Radio. They’ll be bringing their “Orange You Glad It’s Friday” caravan to our Canton Tower location (3301 Boston St, Baltimore, MD) on Friday, March 28th from 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.

What can you expect at the Orange You Glad It's Friday party?

  • Get your car decked out with the Orioles/WBAL car stencil
  • Pick up a pair of orange and black sunglasses
  • Get in on the chance to win Orioles game tickets

We're on the edge of our seats with excitement for Opening Day - the official start to summer in Baltimore (says me, that's who). We look forward to seeing YOU tomorrow! Go O's!

How Identity Theives Steal Your Information

by Stacy Tharp 12. March 2014

Types of Identity Theft Experienced in 2012 There has been a lot of discussion recently around criminals getting ahold of private information via large-scale corporate data breaches. However, it still remains much easier for identity thieves to steal personal information through social engineering methods. Also known as “people hacking,” social engineering refers to tactics used to manipulate people into giving up their information, often by exploiting their natural tendency to be trustworthy and helpful.

It's unfortunate, but in today’s world we have to be careful who we trust and what information we share. Here are some common forms of social engineering that identity thieves like to use:

Impersonation

Impersonation is exactly what it sounds like – a criminal will pretend they are someone else in order to gain a person’s trust. For example, someone may call you and say that he/she is a representative of your financial institution and needs to verify your account information for some reason or another. Your first instinct may be to give the polite individual the information, because it is human nature to want to be helpful. But it is important to remember that your financial institution should never be contacting you requesting account or other private information. If you are unsure about a phone call you receive from someone claiming to be from your financial institution, kindly tell the representative that you will call back, then call the customer service line found on the financial institution’s website.

Shoulder Surfing

Beware of lurkers. Shoulder surfers will put themselves in a physical position that enables them to observe when a victim is typing confidential information. At an ATM, criminals may try to peer over your shoulder to watch you type in your PIN. Or they may try to snap a photo of your credit card number in the grocery store checkout line with their cell phone. Always be aware of your surroundings when you are completing a financial transaction in a public place.

Dumpster Diving

Do people actually go through your dirty trash in the off chance they may find personal information that they could use to steal your identity? You bet. To avoid someone getting your information this way, make sure you shred or securely destroy all hard copies of documents containing your private information. Enroll in electronic bank statements and electronic bills whenever possible to limit the number of hard copies you need to worry about.

Phishing

Phishing scams make use of the internet to try to capture people’s information, such as their passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account details. A criminal may send a fraudulent email claiming to be from a person’s financial institution – much like impersonation. The email will try to encourage its recipients to click on a link and enter or update their personal information, maybe stating that the financial institution lost some of its data. These phishing emails often include a threat that your account will be blocked if you do not enter your information. The information that a person enters then goes straight to the criminal who will do what they please with your personal information.

To avoid being a victim of a phishing scam, do not respond to any email requesting your personal information, and report any suspicious emails to your financial institution. It’s also a good idea to bookmark login screens, and use the bookmarked page every time you log in to your accounts.

For more tips on protecting your information, visit our Security and Fraud Prevention Center, and check out these five key tips from the FDIC for National Consumer Protection Week. When it comes to protecting your identity, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Top 3 Myths about Online Banking Revealed

It's 11:00 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Money Is?

5 Mobile Banking Security Tips

How to Be More Productive

by Stacy Tharp 7. January 2014

Productivity

As one year comes to a close and another year begins, one of the most common sayings you hear is “where did the time go?” Time is something that always seems to get away from us, and something we have absolutely no control over. We do, however, have control over how we use that time. We’d all like more time to spend with our family, our hobbies, or just relaxing. Here are some tips on how to be more productive and make the most of your time.

Set a Daily Schedule

The to-do list is not a new concept, but it is an essential ingredient to having a productive day. Whether you make your to-do lists on post-it notes or use an electronic tool such as Wunderlist or Todoist, it’s something that should be done daily. Not only is it important to list the tasks that need to be completed, you should schedule a specific and realistic time frame by which each task should be completed. Setting deadlines for yourself throughout the day will help you avoid procrastinating.

Examine Your Internal Clock

Figure out what time of day you are the most productive, and schedule your most challenging tasks during that time frame. Don’t confuse your most productive time for your most awake time of day. You want to be the most focused at this time. For the time of day that you are the least focused, schedule your most mundane tasks that don’t require as much thought.

Get Energy Boosts from Smart Sources

You lose energy when you are hungry and tired. Eat snacks regularly throughout the day, but make sure you choose the right ones. Foods high in simple sugars will zap all of your energy, but foods high in protein and fiber will give you a healthy, long-lasting energy boost.

Regular breaks are also necessary to remain productive. The sun is a major source of energy, so if you start to lose focus, take a break and head outside for a few minutes.

Exercising and getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis are other ingredients to a productive lifestyle.

Don't Multitask, but Batch Together Similar Tasks

Contrary to the popular resume skill of multitasking, it is more efficient to focus on one task at a time. However, it does make sense to batch together tasks that are similar to one another. For example, if you have several phone calls to make, make them all in a row. You should also set aside time to respond to emails rather than interrupting what you are doing every time you receive an email throughout the day.

Whenever Possible, Automate

Don't waste time doing anything that a computer can do for you. At work, set up email rules to help you sort through your email. At home, use online banking to set up automatic bill payments and transfers.

You should also use a personal finance manager to set a budget and savings goals. Once you set up all of your accounts, your personal finance manager will do the rest of the work for you.

At the End of the Day, Clean Up and Reflect on Your Day

Take a look at your to-do list at the end of the day. Did you get everything done? If not, why? Did you put too many items on your list? Did you spend too much time on Facebook? Then, put everything you were working on away until the next day. Walking into a room or office filled with clutter can be daunting, so make a new do-do list for the following day and repeat tomorrow!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

An Easy Way to Stick with Your Financial New Year's Resolution

How to Get Your Friends to Pay You Back

Stolen (and Late) New Year's Resolutions



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