San Diego, California - The FBI reminds shoppers in advance of the holiday shopping season to beware of cyber criminals and their aggressive and creative ways to steal money and personal information. Scammers use many techniques to defraud consumers by offering too good to be true deals via phishing e-mails advertising brand name merchandise, quick money making offers, or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product. Remember, if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Never provide your personal information to an unknown party or untrusted website.
Scammers often use e-mail to advertise hot-ticket items of the year that may become hard to find during the holidays to lure unsuspecting consumers to click on links. Steer clear of untrusted sites or ads offering items at unrealistic discounts or with special coupons. You may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information and credit card details and then receive nothing in return, along with your identity compromised. These sites may also be offering products at a great price, but the products being sold are not the same as the products they advertise. This is known as the bait and switch scam.
Beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, especially sites offering deals too good to be true, such as a free $500 gift card. Some may pose as holiday promotions or contests. It may even appear one of your friends shared the link with you. If so, it is likely your friend was duped by the scam after it was sent to them by one of their friends. Oftentimes, these scams lead to online surveys designed to steal personal information.
When purchasing gift cards online, be leery of auction sites selling discounted or bulk offers of gift cards. When purchasing gift cards in the store, examine the protective scratch-off area on the back of the card to see if it has been tampered with.
Be on the lookout for mobile applications designed to steal your personal information from your smartphone. Such apps are often disguised as games and are often offered for free. Research the company selling or giving away the app and look online for third party reviews before installing an app from an unknown source.
Tickets to theater, concerts, and sporting events are always popular gifts during the holidays. If you purchase or receive tickets as a gift, do not post pictures of the tickets to social media sites. Protect the barcodes on tickets as you would your credit card number. Fraudsters will create a ticket using the barcode obtained from searching around social media sites and resell the ticket. You should never allow the barcode to be seen on social media. If you are in need of extra cash at this time of year, beware of sites and posts offering work you can do from the comfort of your own home. Often, the work from home opportunities rely on convenience as a selling point for applicants with an unscrupulous motivation behind the posting. You should carefully research the job posting and individuals or company contacting you for employment.
As a consumer, if you feel you are a victim of an Internet-related crime, you may file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.
Here are some additional tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
- Check your credit card statement routinely.
- Protect your credit card numbers from "wandering eyes."
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
- Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
- Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
- Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they actually match and lead you to a legitimate site.
- Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail instead of linking to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
- If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
- Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
CHARLOTTE, NC, Nov.12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) (the Company), a leading online loan marketplace, announced today the closing of the previously announced underwritten public offering of its common stock. In addition, the Company announced today that the underwriters have exercised their option to purchase 127,500 additional shares of common stock in connection with the underwritten public offering. The Company issued and sold 852,500 shares of its common stock and the selling stockholder sold 125,000 shares, at a price to the public of $115.00 per share, in the underwritten public offering.
Total net proceeds to the Company from the offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other estimated offering expenses, were approximately $91.4 million. The Company expects to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including, but not limited to, working capital and potential acquisitions. The Company received no proceeds from the offer and sale of shares by the selling stockholder.
BofA Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, LLC and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. acted as joint book-running managers for the offering. Guggenheim Securities, Needham amp; Company and Stephens Inc. acted as co-managers for the offering
This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. The offering of these securities will be made only by means of the prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.
Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
The matters contained in the discussion above may be considered to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations or anticipations of the Company and members of its management team. Factors currently known to management that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include the following: adverse conditions in the United States or global capital markets; adverse conditions in the primary and secondary mortgage markets and in the economy, particularly interest rates; willingness of lenders to make unsecured personal loans and purchase leads for such products from the Company; seasonality of results; potential liabilities to secondary market purchasers; changes in the Companys relationships with network lenders; breaches of network security or the misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer information; failure to provide competitive service; failure to maintain brand recognition; ability to attract and retain customers in a cost-effective manner; ability to develop new products and services and enhance existing ones; competition; allegations of failure to comply with existing or changing laws, rules or regulations, or to obtain and maintain required licenses; failure of network lenders or other affiliated parties to comply with regulatory requirements; failure to maintain the integrity of systems and infrastructure; liabilities as a result of privacy regulations; failure to adequately protect intellectual property rights or allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights; and changes in management. These and additional factors to be considered are set forth under Risk Factors in the Companys Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2014, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the periods ended June 30, 2015 and September 30, 2015, the prospectus supplement related to the offering and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results or expectations.
About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree, Inc. operates a leading online loan marketplace and provides consumers with an array of online tools and information to help them find the best loans for their needs. The Companys online marketplace connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business, empowering consumers as they comparison-shop across a full suite of loans and credit-based offerings. The Company provides access to lenders offering home loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, reverse mortgages, personal loans, auto loans, small business loans, credit cards, student loans and more.
LendingTree, Inc. is headquartered in Charlotte, NC and maintains operations solely in the United States.
SOURCE LendingTree, Inc.
In a new report published Friday, Fitch Ratings says that banks will continue to focus on controlling costs and improving operating efficiencies in their battle to beef up margins until the Fed raises short-term lending rates.
According to the Fitch analysts, bank margins fell to 3.02% in the first quarter of this year, the lowest average net interest margin (NIM) since 1984. Fitch analysts go on:
The vast majority of the banks within Fitchs rating universe continue to disclose that they are asset-sensitive, meaning when rates rise, so does net interest income, as assets reprice faster than liabilities. However, many asset-sensitivity disclosures assume a 100-bps or 200-bps parallel increase in rates. Thus, a very gradual rate rise coupled with longer term rates remaining stable would make it unlikely for many US banks to see any meaningful NIM improvement over the near to immediate term.
In other words, a rate hike of 0.25% is not a lot of short-term help. And if the Fed pushes out further rate hikes at that same level at the rate of just one or two per year, banks profit margins are not going to get well any time soon. Or, as Fitch puts it:
In general, banks have extended balance sheet duration in this protracted low rate environment. Loans and securities maturing or repricing in greater than five years relative to total loan and securities portfolios have increased to nearly 30% from 25%. This shows a fairly clear strategy by some management teams to extend duration to augment asset yields as expectations turn to a lower rate environment well into 2016.
At least Fitch does not expect significant ratings changes due to interest rate risk. Bankers can take at least some comfort in that.
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By Paul Ausick