Monthly Archives: September 2017

Jewish Tuition Organization: Funding Need-Based Scholarships for Private Jewish Day School Students


Supporting our community is a top priority for The Biltmore Bank of Arizona. One way we do so is by contributing to The Jewish Tuition Organization (JTO). Our own Senior Vice President Todd Leveen was recently interviewed by Jewish News about the JTO and Biltmore Bank’s support of the organization. In our efforts to help both local businesses and the wonderful nonprofit organizations in our community, we wanted to provide you with more information about how JTO works and how student tuition organizations benefit kids all over our state.

As a registered student tuition organization, JTO provides need-based financial assistance to students wishing to attend a private Jewish day school.

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Todd Leveen

The program covers all our area’s Jewish schools, including:

  • Desert Jewish Academy
  • Pardes Jewish Day School
  • Phoenix Hebrew Academy
  • Shearim Torah High School for Girls
  • Torah Day School of Phoenix
  • Yeshiva High School of Arizona

Students do not have to be Jewish to attend the day schools, and all children in-need are eligible to receive financial assistance from JTO.

Arizona’s student tuition organizations, including JTO, were established to provide financial assistance to families that wish to send their child or children to private school and to provide tax credits through Arizona’s Private School Tuition Tax Credit Program for individuals and corporations contributing to scholarship funds.

The Arizona Department of Revenue has millions of dollars remaining before it reaches its cap for the 2017 corporate private school tax credit. JTO needs local corporations to help out.

“If you own or work for a company that files taxes as a C-Corp or S-Corp, you can make the difference,” said JTO Executive Director Linda Zell. “We really don’t know how long the money will be available, so there is a sense of urgency,” explained Zell.

The Arizona tax credit is dollar-for-dollar, with no maximum cap, however, S Corps must contribute a minimum of $5,000 to qualify for the credit. JTO makes the donation process as easy as possible, handling most of the administration with the Arizona Department of Revenue for its corporate donors.

“This is a benefit for the company, but it’s also a moral responsibility for any institution, whether it be commercial banking or otherwise, to give back to their community,” Todd said.

More than 90 percent of funds raised by JTO are contributed toward scholarships. “The JTO’s goal is to provide any child who wants to attend a Jewish day school the ability to attend one,” says Linda. “We don’t want to turn away any child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay for a Jewish education.”

To take advantage of the corporate tax credit and help children in the community attend Jewish day schools, contact the JTO office at 480.634.4926.

More information about student tuition organizations and a list of all Arizona private schools registered with the program, visit the State of Arizona’s Department of Revenue website.



Building a Digital Defense Against Tech Support Fraud


On July 18, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Portland released the following news, warning people against tech support fraud. In our continuing efforts to educate our clients about cyber security best practices, we wanted to share the FBI’s warning and advice, in its entirety, here on our blog site. Information about fraud and security best practices can be found on the Biltmore Bank of Arizona website.

In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received almost 11,000 reports of tech support fraud incidents. In those cases, victims reported losses of more than $7.8 million.

So what is tech support fraud? Imagine you receive a call from someone who says he is with a computer software or security company. Maybe he says he is with a cable or Internet provider. The caller tells you that your software is out of date, and you are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Or, he says your equipment is malfunctioning, and he can fix it remotely — saving you a service call. All you have to do is to provide the caller with remote access to your computer or device. No idea what he’s talking about? No worries — he will be happy to walk you through all the technical details.

In another variation of the fraud, the bad guy convinces you that you overpaid for a recent service. He would be happy to refund the overage if you would just give him a few details — such as your bank account number — so he can arrange the refund.

In reality, he is either just trying to get into your account to clean it out — or, he is working for long-term access to launch other frauds. In this second example, he transfers money back and forth between your own checking, savings and retirement accounts to make it appear as though there is a refund when in fact there is none. Eventually, he tells you that he refunded too much and asks you to wire money back to the fraudulent company. Victims often don’t figure this out for quite a while as the losses pile up.

So how do you protect yourself?

  • Never give a stranger remote access to your computer or other electronics.
  • If something seems a bit odd, it probably is. Hang up and look up a phone number for that company or provider using a publicly-available resource.
  • Don’t give an unsolicited caller your bank account number or other personal information that he could use to access your accounts.
  • Don’t let someone pressure you into buying a computer security product or subscription. Oftentimes, there are reputable, free products that will do that work for you. Seek out help from someone you trust to ensure that if you do pay for something — it is worth the cost.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or call your FBI local office.

This article can be found on the FBI’s Portland field office website.