We’re Putting on Our Marching Shoes

April 21, 2014 by

This year, Northwest Georgia Credit Union will be raising money for March of Dimes. This is a cause that is very close to my heart. mfb14memeteamcaptainjoinmyteam-copy

My beautiful, sweet nephew was born too soon. Although my sister did all she could for him, he came three months early and only got to live for eighteen days. It was a short life but a blessed one, full of people who loved him with their whole hearts.

I am truly blessed to have met him when so few got the chance. Little Harrison has changed lives just from his short time here on earth, and walking in March of Dimes is something that I feel like I can do to return the favor.

Harrison changed my life, and I would love to be able to help change others. Our team name is #HarrisonsHeroes, in memory of our brave little baby.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small, and, often, very sick. Our team is walking in March for Babies because we want to do something about this.

If you would be interested in helping our March of Dimes team, there are lots of ways to get involved:

• You can come by either NWGACU office and donate $1 and sign a card that we will hang up all around both offices. We will also have donation buckets for you to drop any loose change in.

bake-sale• You can come to one (or all!) of the bake sales we will be having. These sales will be all day at both branches on Friday, April 25, and Friday, May 2, and all proceeds will go to our March of Dimes team.

• You can donate directly on our team website here.

• You can sign up and walk with us! The walk will be held at Berry College on Saturday, May 3, at 9 a.m. You can get more information about signing up here.

We are trading our walking shoes for our marching shoes and hoping that, with your help, we can make a difference in many babies lives. Thank you for your support!

Kids Club Easter Egg Hunt Recap

April 16, 2014 by

nwgacuOur annual kids club Easter egg hunt is down in the books, and it was a huge success! Children were gathering eggs like egg-hunting professionals, finding candy, toys, and even money inside! If that wasn’t enough, we provided them with lots of delicious goodies inside, as well as a warm place to stand after hunting in the cool, windy temperatures! The kids didn’t let the cold weather keep them from having fun, though, and we are so glad!

Bryan Heather

Our staff even got involved in the fun! Bryan, our Loan Support Specialist, helped us “hide” eggs while our Debit Card Coordinator, Heather, tried not to get blown away by the wind! Kendra, Accounting Assistant/HR, also joined in the fun by passing out door prize tickets to all the parents.

before Heather and Kendra

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food We provided Easter-themed treats for everyone and pretty bags as door prizes!

    prize winner prize winner 2

A great time was had by all; we can’t wait until next year!

 

Identity Theft: It’s no laughing matter

April 7, 2014 by

Despite the hilarity that ensues in the movie Identity Thief (2013), featured above, identity theft is no laughing matter. Identity theft is a real threat. Consumers need to take precautions to prevent identity theft and secure personal information. Due to recent data breaches, this topic has become top-of-mind for credit union members. We encourage you to implement these strategies in your personal fight to preserve your identity. Also, you can check out our blog post from April 2012 for more information on this topic.

Identity theft takes many forms. Some of the most common include:

  • Credit card fraud
  • False applications for new credit
  • Fraudulent withdrawals from a bank account
  • Fraudulent use of telephone calling cards
  • Fraudulent use of an IP address in order to engage in illegal acts online
  • Fraudulent use of medical care
  • Social security fraud (for tax and employment fraud)

10 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

  1. Safeguard your Social Security number.
    a.  Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give the number out when absolutely necessary.  Monitor your Social Security activity with a Social Security Earning and Benefits statement.
  2. Use a shredder to destroy private records and statements.
    a.  Use a crosscut shredder. It is worth the extra cost.
  3. Monitor your credit report annually.
  4. Review your credit card statements carefully.
  5. Secure your mail.
    a.  When possible, convert bills to online bill pay and avoid using your mailbox with flag up to pay bills; take them to a post office.
  6. Don’t leave a paper trail. Never leave ATM, credit card, or gas station receipts behind.
  7. Keep duplicate copies of both sides of your credit and debit cards and personal information cards in a safe spot.
  8. Carry only the necessities in your wallet.
  9. Remove your name from marketing lists.
    a.  States have “Do Not Call” Lists that you can register for and solicitors cannot contact you. You can also register online with the Direct Marketing Association.
  10. Be more defensive with personal information.
    a.  Never give out credit card or personal information over the phone or email unless you initiate the conversation and trust the company.

If you know or suspect that you are the victim of identity theft, there are steps you should take immediately to stop the theft and minimize the damage.

5 Steps to Take Immediately If You Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft

  1. Put a security freeze on your credit report with all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
    a.  Be sure to request a copy of your credit report from each agency. If you find fraudulent items on your credit report(s), the simplest way to begin the dispute process is to click the item while viewing your credit report online. The agency will tell you what steps to take next.
    b.  With a security freeze in place, no one can obtain new credit in your name. New applications will be automatically denied. Each agency has a procedure for temporarily “thawing” your file in order to allow a legitimate application to be processed.
  2. Contact any institution directly affected. For example, if you know your credit card was stolen, report the theft to the credit card issuer. If your checkbook was stolen, contact your bank or credit union.
    a.  For this step it’s really helpful if you’ve prepared a list of institutions and phone numbers in advance to keep in a safe place.
  3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to file an Identity Theft Affidavit and create an Identity Theft Report. You can file your report online, by phone (toll-free): 1-877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338); TDD (toll-free): 1-866-653-4261, or by mail — 600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20580.
    a.  The FTC will provide you with information about what to do next, depending on what type of fraud was (or may have been) committed.
  4. File a police report. To complete the Identity Theft Report, you’ll need to contact your local law enforcement office and report the theft. Be sure to get a copy of the police report and/or the report number. Both your police report and the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit combine to create your Identity Theft Report. Your Identity Theft Report will help you when working with the credit reporting agencies or any other companies the identity thief may have used to open accounts in your name.
  5. Protect your social security number. If your social security number was or may have been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration (800-269-0271) and the Internal Revenue Service (800-829-0433).
    a.  It’s important to talk to the SSA if you have reason to believe your social security number has been compromised, even if you don’t yet see any evidence of financial fraud. A thief could be planning to swipe your tax refund or to obtain employment in your name.
    b.  In addition to these five steps, if you have reason to believe the identity thief may have submitted a fraudulent change-of-address to the post office or has used the U.S. mail to commit the fraud against you, contact the Postal Inspection Service, which is the law enforcement and security branch of the post office. Fill out the online form.
    c.  For more information about how to prevent or recover from identity theft, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission offer a wealth of information and will walk you through the steps.

This article is compiled from blog posts at: creditsesame.com and an article by Frank Abagnale for Bankrate.com.

Calling All Kids: Annual Easter Egg Hunt

March 31, 2014 by

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Our Little Sprouts and Acorn Clubbers are due for some fun at the credit union! We’ll be gathering kids club members (ages 0-12) on the front lawn of the Redmond Road Office for an Easter Egg Hunt in a few weeks.

Tuesday, April 15

5:30 p.m.

Redmond Road Office

Mark your calendars now and join us for an awesome Easter Egg Hunt. There will be refreshments, eggs, prizes, eggs, fun, and plenty of eggs!

Do your kids want to participate, but aren’t members of our Kids Clubs? It’s easy to join!  Find out more about our Little Sprouts (ages 0-4) and Acorn Clubs (ages 5-12).

Spring Cleaning for Less

March 24, 2014 by

springThe first day of spring was last week, and, though the weather has teased us several times, hopefully it will feel like spring for good soon! With warmer weather comes, for some, an innate desire to clean and organize everything in sight. It must be the “starting over” feeling that spring gives us. Sometimes spring feels like everything is waking up, as the trees and flowers begin to bloom and the sun feels warmer on our bare arms. As we start to wake up, however, we begin to see all that we’ve neglected during those cold, dreary months… And that is typically keeping our homes as clean as they should be. That brighter, warmer sun peers into our windows like a spotlight on dust bunnies and carpet stains, and we know it’s time for the inevitable: Spring Cleaning.

For some, “spring cleaning” is up there with those little four-letter words, but we have some tips to help it go smoothly and affordably.

cleanersPurchase dollar store cleaning supplies or make your own. Though everything at the dollar store isn’t a great deal, cleaning supplies are typically a great purchase. They are just as effective as name brand cleaners and often have exactly the same ingredients. And before you purchase expensive cloths and dusting equipment, consider cutting up old T-shirts or using the dryer sheet that just came out of the dryer. You can also make your own cleaning supplies, with items you probably already have around the house.

Make some money on all your clutter. While going through all of your clothing, consider giving some gently used items to consignment shops for cash. It’s fine to keep some for next winter, but, if you haven’t worn it this season, will you really wear it next year? Why not make some money off it to possibly buy clothes you will want to wear? Some stuff might be destined for Goodwill, but check out this blog post from Stephanie for more information on donating to consignment shops.

Repurpose before trashing. We probably all have too much stuff. I know my husband and I have a specific room just to keep stuff we don’t have a designated place for. Unfortunately, that room is a nightmare, and we rarely use anything in it simply because we hate dealing with the mess. If you have a room like this (possibly your attic or garage), this is a great time to just get in there and go through it. If you haven’t used something in at least a year, that’s probably a good sign you can live without it.

yard saleA good rule of thumb is to set out three big boxes: one for trash, one for Goodwill/yard sale, and one for repurposing. You might have an old lamp that just needs some sprucing up. Before chunking it in the trash, consider giving it a makeover (this could help you make more money on it at a yard sale or you might decide it’s now perfect to put on your bedside table!). I’m not condoning hoarding, but consider what you could do with the item before going out and buying all new stuff–that might, inevitably, end up right back in your “junk room.”

Spring clean your finances. Another great thing to do while in the cleaning spirit is to look over your finances. They often need a spring cleaning all their own! Go over your budget and make sure it is still working for you, and don’t forget you can get a free credit report once a year. Check out this great blog post all about spring cleaning your finances here.

These are just a few ideas to help you spruce up your home for the coming warmer months, without paying an arm and a leg. Do you have any ideas on getting your house in order without breaking the bank? Leave us a comment, and you might just win a fun prize!

Beware of Check Scams

March 19, 2014 by

Have you ever gotten a check in the mail from a stranger and wondered if it was legit? Chances are, it was a fake, and designed to steal your money. Unfortunately, there are thieves who would like nothing better than to separate you from your hard-earned money. At the credit union, we see financial scams in all sorts of forms. One common scam is the use of fake checks. We want you to protect yourself by being aware of these scams. Please click here to read more about fake check scams at Fraud.org. In addition, you can sign up for weekly fraud alerts here. And, as always, if you are unsure about a check, let us know!  We are here to help.

Go Green!

March 17, 2014 by

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which means you better hope you’re wearing green–we all know those people who will pinch you if they notice you aren’t. To get into the Irish spirit, we have found some fun crafts and recipes to help you celebrate the day from start to finish!

It’s great to wear green today, but why stop at your wardrobe? For breakfast, why not fix Lucky Charms for everyone, complete with green milk (just add food coloring)? Check out Pinterest for even more breakfast ideas, including green pancakes, smoothies, and more.

For lunch, why not try to see how many green foods you can eat? At NWGACU, we are having a St. Patrick’s Day wellness challenge where we try to only eat green foods all day. Why not try it with us? We’ve got tons of inspiration here, here, and here! It’s great to get the kids in on the fun, but don’t leave yourself out!

Now that breakfast and lunch are over, it’s time for some fun crafts and games! A green scavenger hunt is one fun, free way to celebrate. Are you all about the crafts? Here are 17 fun St. Patrick’s Day crafts that are sure to please!

Whether you’re having a St. Patrick’s Day party or just like to decorate your home for the holiday, we’ve found several free printables that you can frame to make your home a little more festive.

St Patrick's Day Celebration

Photo Credit: http://www.recipe.com

Interested in having a little leprechaun visitor to surprise your kids? This blog can tell you all about how to make it happen!

Last on the St. Patrick’s Day menu: Dinner! Whether you decide to have the traditional Irish meal or keep up the greens, we have some great recipes for you!

No matter how you choose to celebrate this greenest of holidays, we at NWGACU all hope you have an unbelievable St. Patrick’s Day!

What are your dreams?

March 10, 2014 by

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What are your dreams for this spring? It’s almost here! Do you want to do some repairs on your home, plant a garden, or maybe even purchase a new car? Maybe you just want to take some time and go on a fun vacation. No matter what your dreams are for this spring, the credit union can help! We have loans for dreams big and small. From personal loans for vacations to auto loans and mortgages, Northwest Georgia Credit Union is here to help you achieve your dreams. Come see us today and find out how easy it is to make those dreams a reality!

And the winners are…

March 6, 2014 by

After all the snow days we’ve had lately, we knew for a fact your children were out playing in the fluffy white stuff. When we asked you guys if your Little Sprout or Acorn Club members had been photographed in the snow, you delivered in a big way!

Our Cutest Kid Photo Contest: Snow Days Edition was a huge success, and we can only thank YOU for that! The response was astounding, and we hope that while you were perusing the cute photos, you took some time to peruse our other blog posts, as well. (They really are interesting, we promise!)

Miss out on voting but want to see the precious pictures? Check out our Little Sprouts here and our Acorn Club members here.

After over 300 total votes, the results are in!

TROPHY MAN

The Acorn Club winner is…

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Evan Baird.AC
EVAN!!! Congratulations, Evan!

And…

The Little Sprouts winner is…

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Adalyn Smith.LS
ADALYN!!!
Congratulations, Adalyn!

We are so excited for both of these adorable children! Both Evan and Adalyn will get $100 deposited into their kids club savings accounts, just for being cute! We hope it helps them to want to continue saving for the future.

Thank you all so much, again, for participating, voting, and checking out our blog!

Cutest Kid Photo Contest: Snow Days Edition [ACORN CLUB]

February 26, 2014 by

We’re doing our Cutest Kid Photo Contest a little differently this time. Usually we host it on Facebook, but we wanted to change things up and get everyone over to our unbelievable blog! Feel free to check out other blog posts after you vote for the child you think is the cutest!

How to Vote: All you have to do is leave a comment with the number and name of the child you are voting for! Names and numbers can be found right underneath each photo, and you can click on each photo to zoom in. It’s super simple! Note: All comments must be approved, so don’t worry if it takes a little while for your comment to show up. Your vote WILL be counted. One vote per person.

Feel free to share this page with your family and friends, on social media, etc. to help your child get more votes. Voting will end Wednesday, March 5, so get your votes in fast!

These children are from our Acorn Club. Acorn Club members are our 5 to 12-year-old savers. Looking for the younger  kids? Don’t forget to vote for the cutest Little Sprout here. And now, on to the cute photos!

Ansley and Kinsley Coogler.AC

1. Ansley (front, pink coat)

Brody Pearson.AC

2. Brody (standing)

Colby Bonds.AC 2

3. Colby

Evan Baird.AC

4. Evan

Jordan Perkins.AC

5. Jordan

Judson Bray.AC

6. Judson

Kaitlyn Smith.AC

7. Kaitlyn

Kinsley Coogler.AC

8. Kinsley

Madison Bonds.AC

9. Madison

Manon Harrison.AC

10. Manon (walking with mom)

Trey Perkins.AC

11. Trey

Trinity Swanson.AC

12. Trinity

13. Drew

13. Drew

Thanks for voting, and don’t forget to check back next week when we announce the winners!


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