The new year is giving scammers an easy way to forge documents, but you can protect yourself with an easy New Year’s resolution: Stop abbreviating the year.

Why? This year’s abbreviation is easily changeable and could be used against you. The concern is that scammers could easily manipulate a document dated “1/1/20” into “1/1/2000” or even “1/1/2021.”

Writing out the full date “could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork,” according to Hamilton County, Ohio, Auditor Dusty Rhodes.

While it’s early in the year for examples of this kind of fraud to emerge, the threat is real according to Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

In a message emailed to USA TODAY Thursday, Rheingold said scammers could use the method to establish an unpaid debt or to attempt to cash an old check.

“Say you agreed to make payments beginning on 1/15/20. The bad guy could theoretically establish that you began owing your obligation on 1/15/2019, and try to collect additional $$$,” Rheingold wrote.

In the future, post-dating could be a problem too. For example, a check dated “1/1/20” could become “1/1/2021” next year, possibly making the uncashed check active again, Rheingold wrote. A similar method could be used for debts that are past the statute of limits.

The solution is easy: There’s no harm in writing the full date. Writing the month out can also help.

Write this: January 15, 2020. Not this: 1/15/20.

–Article originally published on USAToday.com

Ben Smith presents the Helping Teachers Teach to Amy Ensor.

Amy Ensor, second grade teacher at West Side Elementary, is the latest Northeast Community Credit

Ben Smith presents the Helping Teachers Teach to Amy Ensor.

Northeast Community Credit Union Ben Smith presents Amy Ensor with the Helping Teachers Teach check.

Union Helping Teacher’s Teach winner.

Ensor applied for the Helping Teachers Teach grant to purchase Seat Sacks for each of her students. The seat sacks go on the back of the student’s chair and will be used to store the students’ Accelerated Reading Program books, keeping them in reach for when they are needed. Currently, the AR books are kept in lockers in the hallway outside the classroom.

“Each day we spend 30-45 minutes independently reading at our desks for the Accelerated Reading Program,” Ensor said. “If the students have access to their books, they can spend more time reading without interruption. Research has shown that reading increases learning and will drastically improve comprehension.”

Northeast Community Credit Union awards $300 every month to a classroom to be utilized for classroom needs, classroom activities, and academic enrichment.  Helping Teachers Teach is open to teachers within Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, Sullivan and Washington counties who are members of Northeast Community Credit Union. Area teachers may become members at any NCCU location and can download the grant application on the credit union’s website:  www.BeMyCU.org.

Velda Sizemore, NCCU Member Service Specialist, presents ARM Executive Director Faye Ingram with a donation of $500 for Assistance and Resource Ministries’ programs

Northeast Community Credit Union presented a $500 donation to Assistance and Resource Ministries

Velda Sizemore, NCCU Member Service Specialist, presents ARM Executive Director Faye Ingram with a donation of $500 for Assistance and Resource Ministries’ programs

Velda Sizemore, NCCU Member Service Specialist, presents ARM Executive Director Faye Ingram with a donation of $500 for Assistance and Resource Ministries’ programs

(ARM) as part of their annual partnership with the non-profit agency.

ARM relies on community donations to provide assistance to 700 to 950 people each month. ARM provides meals, monthly food boxes, clothing, baby supplies, vouchers for additional household needs, referrals to other agencies, employment counseling and much more.

ARM Executive Director Faye Ingram said the donation will be used to help fill in the gaps where clients need it most.

“This is one of the tougher times of the year,” Ingram said. “There is a lot of need in the community, and this donation will help out tremendously.”

NCCU has a long-standing relationship with ARM and has supported the agency throughout the years with fundraisers, volunteer hours and collection efforts.

“ARM diligently works to benefit the needy in Carter County and helps with necessities for people who often slip through the cracks in the system,” NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold said. “We are thankful for a chance to help and support their cause.”

To donate to ARM or for more information, call 423-542-0919 or visit http://www.armfoodpantry.com.

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s making a special stop at Northeast Community Credit Union in Elizabethton.

Santa will be available every Friday between now and Christmas from 2-4 p.m. at Northeast Community Credit Union’s main office. The office is located at 980 Jason Witten Way in Elizabethton, directly behind Elizabethton High School.

The public is invited to stop by, share their Christmas wish lists, and take a picture with Santa. Your family will need to bring a camera or phone to snap your photo so no waiting for emails or developing your prints. Your pets are welcome to come visit Santa for your photos, too!

For more information, call the Credit Union at 547-1200.

Northeast Community Credit Union donated a new high-capacity popcorn popper to the historic Bonnie Kate Theater.

The theater had been using a smaller popcorn popper which made it difficult to meet demand during events. The new machine will make it easier for the Bonnie Kate to serve its customers.

“It will definitely help,” Bonnie Kate Restoration Board Member John Huber said. “There are times when it was hard to keep up because the old machine would make such small amounts.”

The restoration committee has been working to bring Bonnie Kate back to its former glory. The group has hosted several events at the Theater as fundraisers for the restoration projects.

The next event at the Bonnie Kate will be the Cans Film Festival on Saturday, December 14. This is a joint fundraiser for Bonnie Kate and Assistance Resource Ministry. The festival begins at 1 p.m. and features three movies: The Muppet Christmas Carol at 1 p.m.; A Christmas Carol at 4 p.m.; and Scrooged at 7 p.m. Donations of canned foods will be collected for ARM and a $3 donation for the Bonnie Kate Restoration Project is the suggested ticket admission.

The Bonnie Kate Theater is located at 115 S. Sycamore Street, Elizabethton.

Amy Hyder, special education teacher at Elizabethton High School, is the latest Northeast Community Credit Union Helping Teacher’s Teach winner.

 

Hyder applied for the Helping Teachers Teach grant to purchase supplies so her students can plan, shop and prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. Hyder works with 16 students with varying degrees of disabilities, from moderate to severe. One of the goals of her classes is to help students learn and develop life skills, like planning for and cooking a Thanksgiving meal.

 

“This will allow them to use many of the skills they have been working on this year,” Hyder said. “They will plan a menu, learn about budgeting and have a first-hand experience in the grocery store, and ultimately prepare the food. Being able to walk through all these steps will help my students become more prepared for life after high school.”

 

Northeast Community Credit Union awards $300 every month to a classroom to be utilized for classroom needs, classroom activities, and academic enrichment.  Helping Teachers Teach is open to teachers within Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, Sullivan and Washington counties who are members of Northeast Community Credit Union. Area teachers may become members at any NCCU location and can download the grant application on the credit union’s website:  www.BeMyCU.org.

warning charity fraud

Here’s how it works:warning charity fraud

Someone contacts you asking for a donation to their charity. It sounds like a group you’ve heard of, it seems real, and you want to help.

How can you tell what charity is legitimate and what’s a scam? Scammers want your money quickly. Charity scammers often pressure you to donate right away. They might ask for cash, and might even offer to send a courier or ask you to wire the money. Scammers often refuse to send you information about the charity, give you details, or tell you how the money will be used. They might even thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making.

Here what you can do:

  1. Take your time. Tell callers to send you information by mail. For requests you get in the mail, do your research. Is this a real group? What percentage of your donation goes to the charity? Is your donation tax deductible? How do they want you to pay? Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash or wire money. Chances are, that’s a scam.
  2. Pass this information on to a friend. It’s likely that nearly everyone you know gets charity solicitations. This information could help someone else spot a possible scam.

Please report scams. If you spot a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261. Or, go online at ftc.gov/complaint.

Your complaint can help protect other people. By filing a complaint, you can help the FTC’s investigators identify scammers and stop them before they can get someone’s hard-earned money. It really makes a difference.

East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy will be having their annual shoe drive from January-May 2020. They are accepting all shoes in any condition except for spiked high heels. Shoes should be either tied or rubber-banded together and placed in a large plastic bag secured with duct tape.

All shoes can be delivered to ETCHA, 517 Allen Avenue, Elizabethton. For more information, contact ETCHA at 542-4423.

Check Presentation

Nikki Garland presents Megan Heaton with her Helping Teachers Teach check.

Nikki Garland, Collections Coordinator of Northeast Community Credit Union, presents the Helping Teachers Teach grant check to Megan Heaton, art teacher at Unaka Elementary School.

Heaton applied for the Helping Teachers Teach grant to purchase art supplies to prepare for a school-wide art show in November.

“I believe artwork is a source of reflection for my students,” Heaton said. “Art is one of the many ways students are able to express themselves freely in a safe environment. Some students may not even realize the talents they have unless opportunities like this are presented to them.”

Northeast Community Credit Union awards $300 every month to a classroom to be utilized for classroom needs, classroom activities, and academic enrichment.  Helping Teachers Teach is open to teachers within Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, Sullivan and Washington counties who are members of Northeast Community Credit Union. Area teachers may become members at any NCCU location and can download the grant application on the credit union’s website:  www.BeMyCU.org.

During the back to school shopping season in 2019, The National Retail Federation expects families of children from elementary to high school to spend $696.70 and families with college students to spend $976.78.  Total back to school spending is expected to reach $80.7 billion. Help your credit union members plan and budget for this expensive time of year with a prepaid card. Suggest these six simple back to school shopping tips:

  • Take stock of supplies already in your home: Have you unpacked the kids backpacks from the end of last school year?  Reuse last year’s supplies that are in good shape. Only buy what they actually need.
  • Hit the dollar store first for the essentials and save big.  Also consider buying for the mid-year restock while prices are low during back to school sales.
  • Shop on sales tax holidays. Fifteen states offer tax free sale days gearing up for back-to-school.  Check to see if your state offers a tax-free shopping day for school supplies.
  • Host an end of the summer fashion show and ask the children to create ten outfits from the clothes they have to prepare for the first two weeks of school.  Then, if it’s important to you and the children, consider getting one new “first day of school” outfit.
  • After taking stock of the essentials already in your home, supplies and clothes, create a back to school budget.  Load a prepaid card with the amount that fits into your budget to be sure not to overspend. Take into consideration school fees, beginning of the school year fundraisers, and extra-curricular startup costs
  • Shop without the children.  Print the school supply list and hit the store on your way home from work one evening.  A kid free shopping experience is faster and less stressful. Plus, when you arrive home with several bags of supplies for the children – they will be elated!