What's New at Shapiro Financial Security Group

Be sure to check out our articles on safeguarding your data!

What's New at Shapiro Financial Security Group

Adventures in Debit Card Fraud

This past Monday, I sat down to pay our bills. As usual, I pulled up our bank account information online to see what our balance was and which purchases or checks had cleared. As I reviewed the account, I noticed 3 unusual debits that had been made on my husband’s ATM card the previous day. They were each for a substantial amount of money totaling almost $2200! The withdrawals had all been made in places to which we had not been. Knowing that we always talk to each other before making a purchase or withdrawal over $200, I gave Tom a call at the office to alert him to the activity on our account. He called the bank, they cancelled his debit card and told him that he had to report the theft of funds to our local police precinct in Brooklyn, NY. I went along with him to the precinct as I had been the one to note the charges (and to offer moral support).                                

Read more

CONSUMER ALERT: 'CAN YOU HEAR ME'

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2017 - The Federal Communications Commission is alerting consumers to be on the lookout for scam callers seeking to get victims to say the word "yes" during a call and later use a recording of the response to authorize unwanted charges on the victim's utility or credit card account. According to complaints the FCC has received and public news reports, the fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service and may be familiar to the person receiving the call, such as a mortgage lender or utility, to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the consumer.                                

Read more

New Medicare Cards are in Process

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!  -Rod Serling                                

In 2015, the U.S. Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The act requires that all Social Security Numbers (SSN) be removed from all Medicare cards by April of 2019.

A Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim number (HICN) that is being used on the current Medicare cards. This MBI will be on all of the new cards and will be used for all Medicare transactions such as billing, eligibility status and claims…

Read more

What do Waiting Tables and Financial Planning have in Common?

Do you ever have a song that just sticks in your mind after hearing a small portion of it?  Or watched a television program that leaves you hanging as to how the plot will resolve? Does your mind keep going over your ‘to do’ list as you are trying to fall asleep?

Read more

2016 Post-Election Tax Update

Any change in Presidential Administration brings the possibility, indeed the likelihood, of tax law changes and the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States is no exception. During the campaign, President-elect Trump outlined a number of tax proposals for individuals and businesses. This letter highlights some of the President-elect’s tax proposals. Keep in mind that a candidate’s proposals can, and often do, change over the course of a campaign, during the transition phase and after taking office

Read more

Commentary on the 2016 Presidential Election

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!  -Rod Serling                                

Wondrous?  Only time will tell.  Half our nation may have already allowed their imaginations to roam in this direction when they woke up the morning after Election Night 2016, while the other half of the voting public may have struggled to steady itself from the nightmare they experienced that disrupted their intended peaceful night’s rest. 

What is reality is that Tuesday night’s unexpected outcome has given the Republican Party control over both the White House and Congress, for at least the next two years.   The Clinton-Bush-Obama era is now officially over, and change is…

Read more

We are proud to announce that we have been included in Financial Advisor’s 2016 RIA Survey and Rankings.

Financial Advisor Magazine is a prominent financial services industry publication. For the past 11 years, the list has recognized and ranked the top RIA (Registered Independent Advisors) firms in the United States.

To be eligible, firms must be independent RIA’s, provide financial planning and other related service to individual clients, be SEC or State registered, and have at least $50 million in Assets Under Management (AUM) as of December 31, 2015. In addition to a firm’s AUM, the list weighs factors such as year-end assets, percentage of growth within the past year and the percentage of change in clients.

SFSG currently manages over $91 million in assets and is ranked #554 out of the 610 firms listed. In the past years, we have seen steady growth despite difficult market conditions and, with new technologies that we are implementing, we expect to see both a continuation of growth and services over the next year.

We would like to thank our clients for their continued trust and support that has enabled us to reach this level of recognition.

Read more

Taking a Vacation: Planning, Saving and Paying for Time Away

Congratulations on a really good decision. As explored in our article, “Should I Take a Vacation?”, time away from work and everyday life is necessary for good health, improved family bonding, and better performance at work. Vacations are good for your employers’ bottom line as well as the economy over all.[i]  Some suggestions for making it happen.

Read more

Should I Take a Vacation?

The weather is getting nicer. The days are longer and our thoughts begin to turn towards summer and, maybe, taking some vacation time. Or maybe not.  Questions run through our minds: Can I take time off from my job or will the work pile up too much? Will it make my job less secure? Can I afford it?

If you lived in Great Britain, France, Australia or any of the 20 or more countries that guarantee vacations to their workers, taking time off would not be a question. It would be your right. In other countries, vacations are seen as ‘standard practice for maintaining health, family life and productivity”.[i]  In contrast, here in the United States, they are sources of anxiety. We worry that we will be considered disloyal, that we will lose that promotion to someone who didn’t take the time, or, because we don’t have guaranteed paid days to use, we cannot afford the time.

Read more

Seven Steps for Making Identity Protection Part of Your Routine (and some additional IRS resources)

IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip Number 3/ December 7, 2015

The theft of your identity, especially personal information such as your name, Social Security number, address and children’s names, can be traumatic and frustrating. In this online era, it’s important to always be on guard.

The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial data. Taxes. Security. Together. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.

Read more

Proxy Voting: Why am I getting these calls?

Recently our office has received a number of inquiries regarding phone calls that have been received requesting that the person cast their proxy vote as a shareholder in various investment companies. It seems that these calls have increased recently and there has been both annoyance and concern.

As most know, shareholders in a company have the right to vote on certain corporate matters such as mergers or election of directors. Most shareholders cannot or do not want to attend the annual and special meetings at which the voting occurs. Companies therefore provide shareholders with the option to cast a proxy vote – a vote in which one person gives another person or entity permission to cast a vote for them.

Read more

2015 Tax Year in Review

A large number of tax law changes have taken place in recent years. There are new, expired or extended tax laws, changes to tax brackets, standard deductions, personal exemptions, and other items that may directly affect your 2015 tax return. The purpose of this article is to alert you to changes that may present tax planning opportunities as well as potential pitfalls.

Read more

2015 Tax Planning and Safeguarding Against Identity Theft   

According to the USPS, identity theft is America's fastest-growing crime with more than 9.9 million American victims last year alone, costing roughly $5 billion dollars.[i]

Check out ways identity thieves acquire information is theft of documents from mailboxes and what you can do to protect yourselves!

What we are doing to help safeguard against identity theft

In addition to sending tax organizers via encrypted email, to help further safeguard against the growing threats associated with identify theft we are now offering an optional online tax organizer. 

Seven Steps for Making Identity Protection Part of Your Routine (and some additional IRS resources)

The theft of your identity, especially personal information such as your name, Social Security number, address and children’s names, can be traumatic and frustrating. In this online era, it’s important to always be on guard.

Read More

FPANJ Awards Kenneth Shapiro with Lifetime Achievement Award

Upper Montclair, NJ (NOVEMBER 2015) - A 2013 Heart of Financial Planning Award winner with the Financial Planning Association of New Jersey (FPANJ) has now also received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award. The accolade was given to Kenneth B. Shapiro at FPANJ's Fall Conference in late October.

Read more

After 5 years of hard work, Lou Ottati has received his Certified Financial Planner® credentials!   

Congratulations to Lou Ottati, CFP®

After 5 years of hard work, Lou has received his Certified Financial Planner® credentials!  

Earning the CFP® credential is a long and arduous road that requires extensive education, passing the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam and 3 years of practice prior to receiving the certification. CFP®'s represent the highest level of financial integrity, competency, ethics and professionalism. They look out for the client's interests above all.    

Read more

Ken's Trip to China

As many of you are aware, this summer, my son Russell and I took advantage of a “once in a lifetime” trip to China.  My nephew, Zachary, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and who was finishing up a year of studying in China, requested that we join him in touring parts of China before he returned to the US. He was excited to serve as our personal tour guide.  My sole responsibility for this trip was to make the arrangements getting us to Shanghai where he was living. Zachary handled the rest, setting the itinerary and travel arrangements, allowing me to relax and enjoy an amazing ten day “educational” experience.

Read More

Fraud and Social Media: Phishing for Data

According to Experian Credit’s ProtectMyID.com, social media is ‘a new venue for old frauds’.  The old fashioned ‘confidence man’ has gone online.

Social network sites encourage us to share the details of our everyday lives. We feel that because we build our networks around our families, colleagues and friends, we can trust the communications we receive via these sites. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have moved in to exploit this trust and serve their own nefarious purposes.

Read More

Website Design For Financial Services Professionals | Copyright 2017 AdvisorWebsites.com. All rights reserved