Taxes and IRAs

Let’s see, it’s March 31st and your tax return is due in 15 days. Do you have a refund coming to you? Or maybe you’re like me and have to cough up a few bucks for the IRS. I’m going to let them tap my account on the 15th to get their money. Filing paperless is the way to go. You get your refund faster or you pay on the last day. 

If you’re one of those who get a refund, what are you going to do with it? Have you thought about making a deposit into your IRA account? Don’t have an IRA account? Hopewell Federal can help you set one up. Whether you are looking for a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA we can help. Start building you retirement nest egg today. With a traditional IRA you can delay paying any taxes on the qualifying deposits until you withdraw the money. With a Roth IRA you pay taxes on the deposits today but all the earnings are tax free when you withdraw them later in life.  Either way you go there are tax advantages to you. 

Check with your credit union to find out more about how an IRA account can help you save for retirement. Social Security benefits are not designed to be your only retirement income. You will need to supplement social security benefits with your own savings plan. Don’t come up short at retirement, start planning now and let us help you.

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Check Scams

Beware of the letters and e-mail notifications you may receive notifying you of an award claim, but in reality are check scams. The usual pattern is you receive the notification that you have won a lump sum amount – usually several thousand dollars – and a check along with it or another mailing shortly thereafter with a check.

It is important that you not deposit the check or take this alleged award seriously – as it is bogus – not worth the paper it is written on. Scrutinize it carefully, but don’t spend it. It may look legitimate, but it is not.

Usually after you receive the check and deposit it another e-mail or letter follows saying you need to send back some or all of the money for one reason or another – before the check has had time to clear the credit union. Sometimes they will send someone in person to pick up the money.

If you fell for this and deposited the check and then send it back, or give the money back, you will be out the money from your own personal money, as the original check was worthless and will not clear the financial institution it was supposedly from.

Remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.”

Financial Malware

Late last week a member contacted us about a suspicious request she received when trying to log on to our Home Banking site. Fortunately she realized something was wrong and contacted us about it. She was asked to provide information that Hopewell would never ask their members. The member logged on to Home Banking and then was taken to a screen that asked for information to “Confirm Your Identity” stating, “We do not recognize the computer you are using.” It asked for Card Number, Card Security Code, Expiration Date and ATM PIN.

This is a known scam and likely related to the Zeus/Zbot financial malware. Malware, otherwise known as malicious software, was on the member’s computer and it is not in our system. This particular scam is trying to obtain your Visa check card and/or credit card number. If you encounter this you will need to have it removed from your computer with security software designed specifically to remove the Zeus/Zbot malware.

Thanks for your patience!

Over the past weekend, a team of Hopewell employees worked with a new technology company to convert our member records to a new and improved system. A system that is designed to work for many years to come. As with any technology upgrade, there were some moments when we wondered how well we could pull this off. Working all weekend to make this as seamless as possible for the members was exhausting.
 
But it is now Monday afternoon and I’m pleased to say that we are up and running and servicing members with very little exceptions. Online banking and the Magic phone system are working well as is our bill payment program. Our Hopewell team has met the need of every member today without exception.
 
Thank you for bearing with us during this very busy time.