STAR Blog

Tax-Related Identity Theft

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The IRS recently released a report showing that the 2015 tax filing season saw an unprecedented number of tax-related identity theft cases.  Affected taxpayers should know what steps they can take to protect their identity.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when a fraudulent tax return is filed using a taxpayer’s Social Security number to obtain a refund from the IRS.  Most fraudulent returns are filed early in the filing season.  Affected taxpayers often do not learn of the fraud until the IRS rejects their legitimate return on the grounds that a return is already on record.  However, in some cases, the IRS suspects identity theft and issues letters to taxpayers requesting authentication of a filed return.

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Your Wallet: A Loser’s Guide

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How to protect your money, your credit record — and your sanity — if you become a victim.

Consider this: Your wallet is stolen. You immediately call your bank and credit card company to report it, close old accounts and open new ones. You even remember to call the Social Security Administration to notify them that you had your Social Security card in your wallet. At the end of the day, you feel confident the incident is behind you.

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Fixed vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgage

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Buying a home is a big decision.  How to finance your home can be an even bigger one.  Options you should consider include, but are not limited to, fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, and government-sponsored offerings such as FHA and VA loans.  Having many options available can make it easier to get financing; however, it can also create some confusion about which option is right for you.

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Smart Money Tips for Brides to Be

BridePlanning a wedding can be exciting… and stressful. You have a lot of details to oversee. Before you walk down the aisle, sit down with your fiancé and have an honest conversation about your finances. It may save you some headaches after the honeymoon is over.

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The Benefits of Disability Insurance

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In a blink of an eye, our lives could change. Often, change can be joyous and welcomed, as would be the case with the birth of a child or a job promotion. Life changes aren’t always a welcomed occurrence, however. An illness or injury could leave us unable to work or enjoy our normal lifestyle.

Per a 2014 study conducted by the Council for Disability Awareness, one in four 20-year-olds entering the workforce will suffer some income-interrupting disability during their working career. An income is a person’s most important financial resource. It pays the bills and makes financial security possible. It needs protection.

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Travel Banking 101: Managing Your Finances Overseas

iStock_000050927630_XXXLargeAs summer approaches, vacation travel increases. For those of you who have plans to travel abroad, STAR Bank would like to offer a few tips for your protection, and to safeguard your finances.

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Cash Flow Management Tips for Small Business

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Cash flow management is a key component in business operations, and should involve more than just a focus on the lag between the time you have to pay your suppliers and employees and the time you collect from your customers. A good strategic plan involves: 1) good relationships with lenders; 2) maintaining good vendor relations; and 3) communicating payment term expectations with customers up front.

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Declaring Your Financial Independence

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Teenagers and twenty-somethings may not realize it, but every time you enter a new phase of your life as young adults — such as starting college — you’re also venturing into a new world of money management. Here are ways to be prepared.

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How Much Do You Know About Managing Money

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As a young adult, you start taking more responsibility for handling money and choosing how you want to save or use it. But how much do you really know about managing your finances. This simple quiz from the FDIC will test your knowledge on basic financial matters.

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5 Ways to Cut Spending…and Still Get to Do and Buy Cool Things

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Do you want to find ways to stretch your money, so it goes farther and is there when you really need it? Here are some suggestions from STAR Bank and the FDIC for knowing how much money you have, how much you need for expenditures, and how to reach your goals by cutting back on what you spend.

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