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GUEST POST: Protecting Seniors You Know from Abuse by John Gower of NerdWallet

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Knowing the signs and stopping the crime are the steps to take in the immediate event of abuse, but what about the future? You don’t need to wait around to protect aging loved ones from being targeted for financial exploitation. Build up reinforcement measures and guard their finances against those who would like to use them for their own purposes. 1. Check in occasionally It may seem obvious but this step is often overlooked. By checking in with the loved one, you can tell if any changes occur, whether in health, habits, or even conversation topics. These can help you assess their psychological condition (if you think an onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s is coming) and how they’re spending their time and money. Any abrupt changes in financial habits such as forgetting bills, spending far in excess of normal monthly obligations, or excessive gift-giving

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GUEST POST: Identifying Elder Financial Abuse by John Gower of NerdWallet

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Identifying Elder Financial Abuse: The Signs and the Perpetrators As people grow older, they unfortunately become more vulnerable to certain types of crimes. We all know about the dangers of walking alone at night, or carrying lots of cash, but elder financial abuse is another common risk that many seniors and their families fail to understand. Sadly, it often occurs at the hand of a person the elder knows and trusts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines financial abuse (or exploitation) as “the unauthorized or improper use of the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.” More specifically, this means any forging, misusing, or stealing money or possessions from an elder. This includes forcing or deceiving the elder into surrendering his finances, as well as wrongfully using guardianship or power of attorney for

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Blackhawk Not Impacted by Heartbleed

You may have heard the news reports about the online security vulnerability called Heartbleed. Researchers uncovered it in recent versions of OpenSSL, which is technology that websites use to encrypt communication with visitors to their sites. Unfortunately, this can be used to steal usernames and passwords from websites that use this technology. Blackhawk Community Credit Union has not been affected by Heartbleed and our systems and your information are safe and secure. You can feel confident visiting and using our website, online banking, mobile banking, and bill pay. If you have any questions, please contact our Call Center at 800-779-5555.

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Money Smart Poster Contest

As part of Financial Literacy Month and Money Smart Week, we're holding a poster contest for kids in grades 2-6. Check out the details here and drop your poster off to any Blackhawk branch to be displayed.

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Easter Holiday Computer Scams

Easter Holiday Phishing Scams and Malware Campaigns As the Easter holiday approaches, US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) reminds the public to stay aware of holiday scams and cyber campaigns, which may include: shipping notifications that may be phishing scams or may contain malware electronic greeting cards that may contain malware requests for charitable contributions that may be phishing scams and may originate from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities US-CERT encourages computer users to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns: Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages. Refer to the Shopping Safely Online Cyber Security Tip for more information on online shopping safety. Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the Using Caution with Email Attachments Cyber Security Tip

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Dancing with the Stars

Our very own Holly Baumel is hard at work raising money for the Alzheimer's Support Center with her participation in Dancing with the Stars. Will you join her for a good cause? East Point Sportz Pub is holding a meat raffle on Saturday from 1-4 pm with the proceeds going to Holly's dance duo and ultimately the Alzheimer's Support Center.

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Checking Your Balance Through an ATM or While Shopping

Have you recently used an ATM or gone shopping and noticed that you were prompted to check your balance? Many ATM owners and retailers have started adding balance inquiries to the withdrawal and check-out processes in order to generate more income from fees. Each time you check your balance at an ATM or retailer there is a service charge passed on to Blackhawk from the ATM owner or retailer. Because of this change, the cost of using an ATM that is not owned by Blackhawk and checking out at a store is increasing. Blackhawk is charging $.50 for these types of balance inquiries; however, we provide you with many ways to avoid this fee. There are lots of options to check your savings and checking balances for FREE ! They include: Online banking at www.bhccu.org Mobile banking anywhere, anytime at www.bhccu.org Text for your balance by texting “bal” to 89549* (requires set-up in online banking) Phone banking at 800-779-7778 Talking with us in our Call Center at

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Call for Board of Director Nominees

There are two openings on Blackhawk's Board of Directors and two nominees with incumbent, Tom Osmond and Associate Director, Edmund Halabi. To petition to become a nominee, please email our Executive Assistant, Colleen Curtis-Trappe at ccurtistrappe@bhccu.org. All petitions must be submitted by March 3, 2014.

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Mortgage with Us?

If you have a mortgage with us, we'd like you to know that all tax escrow checks have been mailed to pay taxes. Next, we will run your escrow analysis to calculate mortgage payments to cover taxes for 2014. Later in January, we will be mailing our annual Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) notice.  This notice informs you of your current loan to value ratio and explains when the PMI will end. If you have any questions, please contact us at (608) 755-6065.

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Shopped at Target?

Like you, we have read all of the news stories about the data breach at Target recently and learned that it was larger than originally reported. To learn more and to read Target's latest statement, please visit their update here. We take the security of your cards and personal information very seriously. It is our utmost priority, which is why we are monitoring this news as information develops and are staying in constant contact with both VISA and MasterCard. Although this was not a breach of Blackhawk's systems, the unauthorized party may have gained access to your private information tied to your Blackhawk Community Credit Union credit or debit card if you used a debit or credit card at Target between the dates of November 27 - December 15, 2013. The private information may include your name, debit or credit card number, expiration date, and CVV code, which is a 3-digit security code. If your card was part of this compromise, we will be contacting you directly and ordering you

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