|Military Personnel Need to Beware of Fraudulent Website.|
Peoria, IL - Members of the U.S. Army and their families are the targets of a new scam using a website to collect service members Army Knowledge Online (AKO) email account and password information, according to the Central Illinois BBB.
The website called "My Army Benefits" is a fraudulent site, it falsely claims: "The US military has granted access to unclaimed and accumulated army benefits for the under listed active duty soldiers. Benefits not claimed within the stipulated period will be available for claims after 60 months." The website is not affiliated or endorsed by the U.S. Army according to the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CIC).
This website scam is using a name close to the Army's official website of "MyArmyBenefits", the fraudulent site contains an .org domain name. "Official military websites will all have the .mil domain name," notes BBB Military Line director Brenda Linnington. "Any other domain extension should be a red flag." Other red flags include unsolicited emails/text messages, spelling/punctuation and grammar errors.
The Army's CIC provided the following advice for anyone who has received correspondence from the fraudulent My Army Benefits website or provided information through it:
· Do not log in to the website
· Do not respond to any emails
· Stop all contact if you have previously responded to any emails
· Immediately contact your local Information Assurance (IA) office if you accessed the website from a government computer or system.
The BBB Military Line was formed in 2004 to provide free resources in the areas of financial literacy and consumer protection to U.S. military communities through local BBBs across the U.S. and at bbb.org/military.
Gasoline Prices Rise 8.4 Cents Per Gallon In Past Week Illinois, February 24- Average retail gasoline prices in Illinois have risen 8.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.58/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 4,378 gas outlets in Illinois. This compares with the national average that has increased 5.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.40/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. Including the change in gas prices in Illinois during the past week, prices yesterday were 35.1 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 18.1 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 12.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 32.6 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago. "The rate of increase in the national average has accelerated over the last week, and the worst is likely yet to come," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Oil prices continue to move higher as refineries continue their maintenance season, leading to a double whammy at the gas station. In addition, in another month we'll also start seeing refineries producing more expensive, cleaner burning summer gasoline, and that will likely keep upward pressure on retail gasoline prices. Just a handful of stations across the nation are seeing a price under $3/gallon, and a few weeks from today, motorists along the West Coast with perhaps a few other states will be wishing for those current $3 prices," DeHaan said.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The polar vortex and lower inventory levels may have affected January home sales which dipped 7.5 percent compared to last year, but median home prices climbed 9.6 percent over previous-year levels, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.
Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in January 2014 totaled 7,997 homes sold, down from 8,650 in January 2013. The number of houses on the market in January was down 19.9 percent compared to a year earlier, dropping from 70,254 homes for sale in January 2013 to 56,275 this year.
Home prices continued to make strong gains. The statewide median price in January was $136,950, up 9.6 percent from January 2013 when the median price was $125,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
"Severe winter weather and seasonal trends definitely affected sales in January," said Phil Chiles, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Associate with The Real Estate Group in Springfield. "Despite diminished traffic from buyers, prices remained robust and indications are that they will continue to show strength as we enter the spring selling season."
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.46 percent in January 2014, down from 4.48 percent in December, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In January 2013 it averaged 3.40 percent.
In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in January 2014 totaled 5,785 homes sold, down 8.9 percent from January 2013 sales of 6,353 homes.
The median price in January 2014 was $164,900 in the Chicago PMSA, up 17.8 percent from $140,000 in January 2013. The time it took to sell a home continued to drop year-over-year in January with listings averaging 71 days until sale, an 18.4 percent decrease compared to 87 days in January 2013.
“While sales growth rates sagged in January, median prices continued to rebound in both Chicago and Illinois,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.
Thirty (30) of 102 counties in Illinois showed annual home sales increases in January 2014. Forty-three (43) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Peoria, up 36.9 percent to $92,750; Champaign, up 28.3 percent to $141,000; Cook, up 19.4 percent to $160,000; McHenry, up 14.2 percent to $145,000; and Kankakee, up 3.5 percent to $103,000.
The city of Chicago saw a 9.1 percent year-over-year home sales decline in January 2014 with 1,383 sales, down from 1,521 in January 2013. The median price also rose to $200,750 versus $157,000 in January 2013, an impressive 27.9 percent annual increase.
"January’s activity is fairly typical for this time of year,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. "A brutal winter doesn’t typically encourage home shopping fever in Chicago, and with inventory down 25 percent, the homes that did sell produced well above the median price by almost 28 percent to just over $200,000.”
“Investor opportunities and first-time homebuyers are still finding deals in a market that we might not see again for years to come," Farrell added.
Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 30 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Feb. 7, 2014 for the period Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, 2014. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose 41,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.
Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats.