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Amscot Financial Contributes Mini-Grants to 20 Non-Profit Service Groups


Amscot Financial, a leading provider of convenient, consumer-oriented financial services, recently awarded mini-grants of $100 to $3,500 to support 20 different non-profit service organizations located in the Florida communities where the company serves several million consumers.

There are too many individuals out there facing steep challenges in life with very little help, says Ian MacKechnie, Founder and CEO of Amscot Financial. By supporting these organizations were able to pitch in and help change that.

Mini-grants went to the following organizations:

  • Community Development Corporations of Tampa, Tampa. They provide education, counseling, housing opportunities and revitalize neighborhoods for low to moderate income households. For more information, please visit:
  • Cranberry Elementary School, Sarasota. They are a Title 1 school and are starting a school bike safety program and Bike Rodeo for the students. For more information, please visit:
  • The Florida Center for Early Childhood, Sarasota. They help build and foster strong families and expand the potential of young children. They operate the states only Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders Clinic. For more information, please visit:
  • Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Sarasota. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience offers a variety of age-appropriate, girl-led activities that are cooperative and hands-on, preparing girls to take on challenges big and small in their lives. The girls explore new fields of knowledge, learn valuable skills, and develop strong core values. For more information, please visit:
  • Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, Ocala. They strengthen communities, build hope, and provide dignified housing solutions through partnership and empowerment. For more information, please visit:
  • Hillsborough Aging Services Department, Tampa. They coordinate essential health and wellness services for older adults to encourage maximum independence and prosperity with an emphasis on the seven dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, and financial. For more information, please visit:
  • Lake Stevens Middle School Culinary Department, Miami Gardens. The students are trained as hosts, waiters, chefs, sous chefs, tablescape decorators, bus boys and parking attendants, absorbing knowledge that can help them in high school, college, and beyond. For more information, please visit:
  • The Make It Foundation, Pinellas County. They present scholarships to students that are incoming freshmen, graduate level who are in need and intend on pursing a post- secondary education.
  • Miami Gardens Police Department, Miami Gardens. With Awareness there is Hope is an event they hosted on Oct. 20th in an effort to bring awareness of domestic violence. For more information, please visit:
  • The National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA), Florida. Their goal is to assist community college African-American staff and students in navigating higher education career pathways and achieving success through attaining educational and employment goals. For more information, please visit:
  • PACE Center for Girls, Polk They have a program model that addresses the needs of girls and has garnered recognition nationally as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system. For more information, please visit:
  • Pasco Sheriffs Charities, New Port Richey. They host a Fishing for Families charity tournament. The benefitting charities from this catch, photo, and release event are the Family Support Network, the Youth Outdoor and Environmental Program, and the Explorer program. For more information, please visit:
  • Pinellas Sheriffs PAL, St. Petersburg. They provide mentoring, meals, academics and sports to at-risk youth. For more information, please visit:
  • Somebody Cares Tampa Bay, Clearwater. They provide outreach support to Tampa Bay Ministries who assist poverty-stricken families and the working poor. SCTB works in concert with local ministries to provide the basic necessities of life and to educate and develop healthy, self-sustaining communities, families and individuals. For more information, please visit:
  • Start off Smart, Inc., Homestead. They work collaboratively with the Homestead Police Department providing support services to victims of violence and family violence. For more information, please visit:
  • Special Olympics Florida, Florida. They provide year round sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athlete or their caregiver, as a mean to achieve physical fitness, self-esteem and the life skills necessary to be productive, respected and contributing members of their community. For more information, please visit:
  • Tampa Fire Rescue Awards, Tampa. They are celebrating their 30th year banquet awards, where they will be honoring civilians, enforcement officers, EMS personnel and firefighters for their outstanding service throughout 2018. For more information, please visit:
  • The Unforgettable Prom Foundation, Ft. Lauderdale. For teens with cancer this is a celebration they often never attend. A Prom To Remember is an event that gives teens ages 12-19 an opportunity to celebrate their life and their youth in an environment of acceptance and camaraderie. For more information, please visit:
  • United Way of Pasco, Land O Lakes. They assist low-to-moderate income families with basic needs. They provide funding for utilities, rent, child care, shelter and car repairs. For more information, please visit:
  • Womens Conference of Florida 2018, Tampa. The conference plays a critical role in convening women leaders from all over Florida and from all sectors of society, from Girl Scouts to financial management. The conference will touch on the most important issues facing women in our state. The women will have the opportunity to gain insights from some of our nations most accomplished women. It will address timely and relevant issues that impact women, both at work and at home. For more information, please visit:

Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Amscot Financial is a leading provider of convenient, consumer-oriented financial services, including cash advances, check cashing, bill payment, money transfers, prepaid access cards and money orders. Amscot Financial currently operates 236 retail financial service centers throughout Florida and employs close to 2,000 associates. Amscot Financial has been recognized by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of Tampa Bays Best Places to Work for five years (2008-2012) & was recently named as one of Americas Best Midsize Employers by Forbes. For more information on Amscots products and services, community involvement, and career opportunities, please visit the companys website at

Amscot Financial
Alexandra Bustos, 813-637-6277
[email protected]


Market America | SHOP.COM Partners With Packsize To Solve Packaging Constraints And Improve Efficiencies While Becoming More Environmentally Friendly


GREENSBORO, N.C., Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Market America | SHOP.COM, a global product brokerage and internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing, is proud to announce its partnership with Right-sized Packaging on Demand® manufacturer, Packsize International, LLC. With the introduction of Packsize machine systems, Market America | SHOP.COM has already begun optimizing its labor and material efficiencies across its main warehouse at its corporate headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.

To improve the overall customer experience, Market America | SHOP.COM customers are receiving the products they ordered in a right-sized box – the smallest possible box size to fill the order. This happens through Packsize's semi-automated X4® packaging system, producing custom-sized boxes that are not too big or too small but just the right size for the specific order of each customer.

“By implementing Packsize technology, our company moved from six stock box sizes to over 150 box size options and is continuing to expand,” said Marc Ashley, President and Chief Operating Officer of Market America Worldwide. “Traditionally, having more sizes of boxes would mean having a surplus of boxes in various sizes, taking up more space in our warehouse. With Packsize's X4 packaging system, however, a machine located on-site is able to produce custom boxes at various sizes and dimensions that are already glued and labeled, at a rate of up to 300 boxes an hour. This allows Market America | SHOP.COM to significantly reduce the amount of warehouse space dedicated for packaging supplies while also reducing the amount of corrugated material – the product made from trees to make cardboard boxes – that the company uses. We are literally solving packaging constraints and improving efficiencies in our warehouse while protecting the environment, so we are already in the process of evaluating how to implement this same technology at all of our distribution centers around the world.”

No matter what the need is, today's consumers are buying online, on a daily basis, from the comfort of their own home. More online purchases mean an increase of packaging materials are used, often ending up as waste. In fact, an article in the Wall Street Journal estimates shipping demand in Q4 2020 will outpace supply by 8.7% with daily demand for shipping reaching 86.3 million packages a day.

“From an efficiency standpoint, we have actually reclaimed space in our warehouse by not having thousands of pre-sized cardboard boxes waiting to be used. The X4 technology can make the exact size shipping box each customer needs for their particular order at an on demand basis. On top of this, we have decreased the time and manpower we used to spend filling each customer's shipping box with packaging materials so that nothing they ordered would move around inside the box or be damaged when transported from the warehouse to our customer's front door,” said Chad Sullivan, Market America | SHOP.COM (title)

According to Packsize E-Commerce Solutions Product Management Director, Connor Pehrson, “When we met with Market America | SHOP.COM, the company's leadership wanted to find a packaging resource that offered more than a quick fix but a long-term solution to the ongoing problem of waste that comes from discarded packaging. When we walked through our Smart Packaging for a Healthy Planet® program, we knew that we would be partnering with like-minded business leaders who wanted the best for their customers and for the planet. As more of us turn to ordering products online, we are more aware of the cost and waste associated with poor packaging. As demand increases for next-day or same day delivery, people cross-generationally are seeking better ways to be more sustainable and responsible online consumers. Packsize anticipates that Market America | SHOP.COM will be able to reduce packaging material usage up to 80%, while reducing the amount of corrugated material by 25%.”

Market America | SHOP.COM is a global product brokerage and internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing and is the creator of The Shopping Annuity®. Its mission is to provide a robust business system for entrepreneurs, while providing consumers a better way to shop. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC and with locations in eight countries, including the US, Market America was founded in 1992 by Chairman and CEO JR Ridinger. Through the company's primary shopping website, SHOP.COM, consumers have access to millions of products, including Market America exclusive brands and thousands of top retail brands. SHOP.COM ranks 11th in Newsweek Magazine's 2020 Best Online Shops, #42 on Digital Commerce 360's (formerly Internet Retailer) 2020 Top 100 Online Marketplaces, #67 in Digital Commerce 360's (formerly Internet Retailer) 2020 Top 1,000 Online Retailers, #12 in the 2019 Internet Retailer Primary Merchandise Category Top 500, #96 in the 2018 Internet Retailer Asia 500 and #18 in 2017's Internet Retailer Mobile 500. The company is also a two-time winner of the Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics and received 2019's Triad Business Journal's “Fast 50” award as one of the top privately-held companies for sustained growth, driving the area's economy, marking the 14th time the company has received this recognition. Market America has also been named on Grant Thornton's North Carolina 100® (NC 100) ranking of the state's largest private companies by revenue 14 consecutive years. By combining Market America's entrepreneurial business model with SHOP.COM's powerful comparative shopping engine, Cashback Program, Hot Deals, SHOPBuddy® Express Pay check out, social shopping integration and countless other features, the company has become the ultimate online shopping destination.

For more information please visit

Packsize International LLC., is the award-winning supply chain and sustainable packaging industry leader in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Packsize introduced Right-sized Packaging on Demand® in 2002 to give customers the ability to make their own boxes without investing capital into equipment, maintenance, and programming. Today, as a multinational manufacturer of advanced packaging systems and automated packaging machine technology, Packsize customers receive a tailored pre-configured packaging system and optimized workflow designed to deliver the scalable performance and reliability needed for highly efficient packaging environments.

Media Contact

Gillean Smith, Market America|SHOP.COM, 3364784066, [email protected]


SOURCE Market America|SHOP.COM

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8 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Scams on Black Friday and Cyber Monday


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, especially for scammers. Consumers are typically spending more, doing it quickly and not paying as much attention to who they're buying it from because of the rush.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many shoppers will make the bulk of their purchases online, which means this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy could be riskier than usual.

According to the Better Business Bureau, “37.9% of all reports to the BBB Scam Tracker “were online purchase scams, up from 24.3% in 2019.” On top of that, 80.5% of those consumers lost money due to those scams, up from 71.2% in 2015 when BBB began collecting data.

A BBB survey conducted in August found that the majority of these scammed consumers made purchases for which they never received products.

“Of those who lost money to an online purchase scam, 73% paid for a product and/or service and never received it. Others who fell for this scam type received an item different than the one that was promoted and could not get a refund (15%), had their credit card information stolen (1%), and reported other issues (11%) such as overcharges, extra fees, 'free' trial offers, recurring charges, and returned products with no refund,” according to the BBB survey report.

If you're planning to skip in-store holiday shopping, or if your state is already in lockdown, it's important to be on the lookout for the online scams that will undoubtedly show up in people's email, texts and social media feeds.

Here are eight ways you can make your holiday season safer:

1. Don't click that link…
According to the BBB survey, emails wasn't the most common way scammers pilfered people's pockets, but it does still happen. According to the BBB survey, only 2% of all consumers reporting fraud were targeted through email. Still, it's important to be wary. Scammers who use “phishing” emails (it looks like it's from a brand you know, but it's not) will include a link to a fake website where they'll ask for your banking or other personal information.

2. …and don't open that attachment
Legitimate retailers are never going to make you dig for the deals, so they aren't going to put the good stuff in an attachment. It's not just attachments from retailers, but also from shipping companies or financial institutions. Instead of clicking on a link or an attachment, you're safer to visit the company website directly or give them a call.

3. Beware the skimmers
Skimmers aren't just physical attachments to credit card readers at ATMs and gas pumps anymore. Cyber thieves have found ways to use the digital equivalent, installing code on retail websites that let them gather your payment card information as you pay for your goods or services.

Using a third-party financial institution like PayPal, Zelle or Venmo to pay for online purchases can help to keep your payment card information safe. You can also consider using a digital credit card that routinely cycles your credit card number so scammers can't actually use it for other purchases. If you're using a traditional credit card, sign up for transaction alerts.

4. You are using a credit card, yes?
Always use a credit card and not a debit card. Credit cards come with consumer protections that limit your liability if your card information is stolen. If a thief gets their hands on your debit card, they could make fraudulent charges that you will be responsible for. Remember, your debit card is a direct line to your cash on hand. Credit cards offer more protections, and less disruption, for victims of fraud.

5. Keep a close eye on your accounts
This is important all year long, particularly around the holidays when you're making more transactions and fraudulent charges may be harder to spot. So, either check your bank and credit card accounts daily or sign up for free transaction monitoring programs which notify you whenever there is activity in your bank, credit union or credit card accounts.

6. Be wary of “free” offers
Especially around the holidays, cyber thieves will often use scams offering free gift cards for completing surveys. If you receive one of these offers in an email or by text, it's best to do a quick Google search to see if it's legit. If it is, you should be able to access the survey tool directly from your internet browser rather than clicking on a link you aren't familiar with.

7. Do your online shopping at home on a secure network
Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure and can expose you to malware and hackers. That's why accessing your bank or credit card accounts, or even making purchases on websites, can be very risky. It's best to do your banking and shopping at home, but if you have to use public Wi-Fi, consider using a VPN (virtual private network) that encrypts your activity.

8. Change your passwords
If you're using the same password across a number of accounts, you are more vulnerable to cyber criminals. This is especially risky if you're using the same password for your credit card and banking accounts. If a criminal gets hold of your daisy-chained credentials, you could wind up with an empty bank account come Christmas morning.

If managing multiple passwords is an issue for you, consider using a password manager that generates unique passwords for your accounts and remembers them for you.

Bottom line
Don't let cyber criminals make you the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season. The simple, everyday security measures listed here should help you keep your financial accounts safe from hackers. To see more tips to safely shop online this holiday season, please visit

For added security, though, you may want to consider purchasing a full-service internet security suite, avoid posting sensitive information on social media channels, and never, ever give your financial or sensitive personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone, online or in person. You might also want to check with your insurance company, financial institution and/or employer to see if they offer products and services to get you through an identity-related incident. Many do as a perk of your relationship either for free, or at a deep discount.

Media Contact

Margeaux Cardona, NovelPublicRelations, +1 (916) 402-0038, [email protected]



SOURCE Adam Levin

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Freedonia Analyst Weighs In On West Fraser's Acquisition of Norbord


CLEVELAND, Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — West Fraser Timber Company, a leading supplier of lumber and other wood products extensively used in the building and construction market, announced last week that it was acquiring Norbord, the leading global producer of oriented strand board (OSB) and a key supplier of engineered wood products, such as plywood. The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, will create an integrated global wood building products manufacturer with annual sales of about US$6 billion.

According to Freedonia Group industry analyst Matt Zielenski, “This transaction will create a leading supplier of a full range of wood-based building materials. West Fraser is already a key player in the industry due to its leading position in the wood lumber, wood panels, and engineered wood products markets. By acquiring Norbord, West Fraser adds to its extensive wood panel and engineered wood products manufacturing capacity, and, more importantly, expands its portfolio by adding Norbord's OSB product lines. Thus, West Fraser can position itself as the leader supplier of nearly all of the wood products used in construction applications.”

West Fraser will also benefit by becoming a global player in the wood products market. While West Fraser exclusively operates in the US and Canada, Norbord boasts a number of manufacturing centers in Europe, as well as a distribution network in Japan that serves the growing Asian market. These international operations will boost sales as the world recovers from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noted Zielenski: “The combined company will be well-positioned to succeed as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales of lumber and other building materials have remained strong during the recession due to a surge in DIY projects. Going forward, this activity will remain strong, while solid demand for housing will spur building activity and thus drive demand for the products West Fraser supplies – lumber, plywood, OSB used as sheathing, and roof and floor trusses.”

For more information on the outlook for lumber and building materials, see the Construction & Building Products page on the Freedonia Group website. Check back in in a week for our new Wood Panels study.

About The Freedonia Group – The Freedonia Group, a division of, is a leading international industrial research company publishing more than 100 studies annually. Since 1985 we have provided research to customers ranging in size from global conglomerates to one-person consulting firms. More than 90% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 use Freedonia Group research to help with their strategic planning. Each study includes product and market analyses and forecasts, in-depth discussions of important industry trends, and market share information. Studies can be purchased at and are also available on and

Press Contact:
Corinne Gangloff
+1 440.842.2400
[email protected]

Cision View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE The Freedonia Group

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Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.
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