Watch out for Mail Thieves

A new scam may be coming to your neighborhood. Thieves are now driving around residential areas and stealing the outgoing mail from residential mailboxes. These thieves usually strike in the morning and usually after you have placed outgoing mail in your home mailbox. Just like your normal mail carrier, these mail thieves are looking for the little red flag standing up to signal that outgoing mail is sitting in the mailbox. The thieves will then steal the envelopes and search inside for checks that you have written to pay your monthly mortgage, electric bill, phone bill, etc… Upon stealing your check, these mail thieves alter the check to a new payee name and dollar amount. They then have a person walk into a branch office of the Financial Institution that the check is drawn on and attempt to cash the altered check.

Amazingly, this crime may all happen on the same day that you mailed your payment out!

Tips on how you can help prevent mail theft:

  • Consider only putting outgoing mail in a locked mailbox, in a blue USPS collection box, or drop it off at the post office.
  • Retrieve your mail as soon as possible after it is delivered. Don’t leave your mail unattended for extended periods. Don’t leave mail in your mailbox overnight.
  • If you cannot regularly retrieve your mail promptly, consider installing a lockable mailbox or obtaining P.O. Box service from your local post office.
  • If you will be away from home temporarily, you can notify your local post office to hold your mail with the online hold mail service on the US Postal Service website.
  • Ask your financial institution if your check order can be picked up at a branch location that you normally visit.
  • Monitor your bank account statements regularly, and report any checks that you did not authorize.
  • Make sure that your contact information (phone numbers, email) is up to date on your checking account- that way, if your financial institution is suspicious of a person presenting your check for cashing, they can quickly contact you to verify whether the check is valid or not.
  • Be alert for unusual activity in your neighborhood. Watch out for strange cars and/or persons that are going into mailboxes along your street.
  • If you believe you are a victim of mail theft or see suspicious activity, call the local police or contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 or on the Postal Inspectors website.

Reduce Your Mortgage Payment With $0 Down and No PMI


Whether you’re looking to get up to 100% financing* for a primary home purchase or up to 95% for refinancing* your current home mortgage, NASA FCU can save you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars with no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) required!

A NASA FCU Mortgage Loan Specialist will help take the stress out of getting your home loan, and assist you in choosing the mortgage that best suits your needs and budget. Plus, you’ll receive the friendly, reliable service you’ve come to expect from your Credit Union.

If you want to save money on your mortgage this year, look no further than NASA FCU! Stop by any branch, call 1-888-NASA-FCU (627-2328), ext. 207, or visit us online.

equal-housing-lender*Special loan programs offered to well-qualified applicants. Some restrictions may apply. Offers valid for primary residences only. Speak with a NASA FCU First Mortgage Loan Specialist for loan details and rates.

When does home remodeling make financial sense?


Here are a few considerations to weigh before you decide to remodel:

Wishes vs. Needs

How necessary are the improvements you want? The days when many improvements paid for themselves in increased home value are over for now, especially such strictly cosmetic upgrades as new kitchen cabinets or a bathroom skylight. That doesn’t mean certain projects aren’t worthwhile. For instance:

  • Repairing a leaky roof or faulty plumbing might spare you from water or mold damage.
  • Installing attic and wall insulation and energy-efficient windows or replacing older appliances and light fixtures will lower utility bills and may be tax-deductible (visit for information on tax credits and rebates).
  • The IRS allows tax deductions for certain home improvements to accommodate medical conditions or disabilities with a doctor’s recommendation. The rules are complex, so read IRS Publication 502 at and consult a tax advisor before proceeding.


Gather cost estimates for each job or item and create a chart with columns for high-, medium- and low-cost options. Don’t forget supplies for do-it-yourself projects and always add an extra 20 percent or more for unexpected expenses. If contracted labor is involved, gather three estimates and carefully check references and business licenses. Also, ask about discounts for grouping multiple projects together.

Choosing a Car That’s Right for You


Choosing a car is a little bit like dating. There are so many different cars out there. What do you need in a car? What do you prefer in a car? Is there that special connection when you’re driving it?

But unlike dating (or just like dating, depending on your outlook), you can settle for a vehicle that fits your needs right now, even if you can’t see yourself in it long term. And as long as you’re smart about the financing, it’s easy enough to trade it in for a newer model when it no longer suits your needs.

Make an inventory of your needs:

  • What will you use the car for most? If you’re just driving back and forth to work, all you need is a dependable car with good gas mileage. If you have to haul around kids, you need it to be roomy. If you entertain clients, it needs to have some style and class. You get the idea.
  • Where do you live? You may need four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. It needs to be able to withstand some major wear and tear if you live on a bumpy gravel road.
  • Do you drive in stop-and-go traffic often? That may make an automatic transmission a necessity.

Comparing Vehicles
Now that you have a list of your needs, it’s time for more research. There is an awful lot of research, isn’t there? There are thousands of models to choose from. But your needs should help narrow them down fairly quickly.

Auto magazines are a great place to get less biased information about particular models and the advantages/disadvantages associated with them. Consumer Reports is a very thorough publication with a reputation for bias-free reporting.

Dealerships are often the worst place to get information. They have a lot of material, but it is very heavily biased and you may have to endure a strong sales pitch just to get simple information. If you visit the dealership when they are closed, you can look at the cars and read the information on the vehicles without worrying about the salespeople. You can also get a lot of information from the manufacturer’s Web site and literature, but stick to the facts they provide since much of the material will be heavily biased.

Great sources of information are your friends and family or even strangers. Find others who have owned the model you are interested in. Ask about their experience with it.

Take special care in buying a first-year model, meaning the first year a manufacturer produces a certain model of car. The first year is a time to iron out the kinks and you may become an unwilling guinea pig and have unforeseen problems that the manufacturer will correct for the next year’s model.

The Test Drive
You’ve compared numbers and features. You’ve checked into the gas mileage. Now it’s time to put away all the theory and speculation and get to the point of choosing a car – how it drives.

You have to be able to focus when test-driving a car. If you go to a dealership to test-drive cars, make sure the salesperson gives you some space to make your decision. As a matter of fact, tell the sales team you have no intention of buying on that day. They should leave you alone long enough to test-drive without distraction. If they don’t, be sure to avoid them when you’re going to actually buy a car. If they get too pushy, go to another dealership for your test drives.

If you’re not comfortable with visiting dealerships just for a test drive, try renting the cars you are interested in. It may cost you $100 to try out your top favorites, but you’re paying for the freedom of driving a whole day without listening to any sales pitches.

Compare the Dealerships
Shopping for a dealership is just as important as the other comparisons you have been doing. It can help you save a lot of money AND ensure that you have some customer support while you’re still under warranty.

All dealerships pay the same price for the cars in the beginning. But don’t let them fool you. Dealerships with better CSI ratings (Customer Satisfaction Index ratings) often get better bonuses that allow them to offer you a better price.