A Friendly Reminder From The Milford Bank: Beware of the ‘Grandparent Scam’

By Bob Russo

The scam usually goes something like this: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your grandchild. Or perhaps the caller is claiming to be someone contacting you on your grandchild’s behalf— like a police officer, for example, who says he/she has just arrested your grandchild and is requesting bail money for his or her release.

No matter what story line the culprits employ in this “grandparent scam,” the call always ends up with the scammer asking for money.

Countless times, this scenario—in which a criminal takes advantage of a typical grandparent’s concern for a grandchild—is being perpetrated against senior citizens, and many of them are becoming victims. They choose to immediately wire the money, usually through Western Union, to anywhere in the world that the caller dictates. In other words, they’ll do whatever the caller tells them to do to help their grandchild.

Unfortunately, once money is wired internationally, it’s very hard—if not impossible—to get it back.

Earlier this year, two nurses in Ridgefield, Connecticut, prevented an elderly couple from wiring $2,800 to a scammer—a caller that pretended to be their grandson. In this iteration of the scam, the grandson was injured while on vacation in Colombia and needed money.

The caller also instructed the grandparents to not contact any other family members. Should a similar situation arise—with someone on the phone saying they’re your grandchild and asking for money—do call a member of your family immediately to corroborate what you’ve been told.

With a call like this from out of the blue, there’s a good chance something is amiss.

We understand that our customers are so much more than their savings and checking accounts with us. We hope to be your trusted advisor. So, from time to time, expect that we’ll provide updates on these kinds of scams to make sure you’re aware of them and to keep you from becoming a victim.

Just a Local Bank? Think Again. With The Milford Bank, You Can Enjoy Free ATM Withdrawals at 55,000 ATMs Across the Globe!

By Cortney Meng

You might think that when you open a savings account or a checking account at The Milford Bank, you’ll have to do all of your banking—including free ATM transactions—within the limits of Milford and Stratford. Not so!

While it may be true that our seven branch locations are contained within those two towns, we figured now is as good a time as any to inform you, or remind you, that when you open a savings account or checking account at The Milford Bank, you’ll have access to 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs located across the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

That’s because The Milford Bank is part of Allpoint, the world’s largest surcharge-free ATM network. That means you can use member ATMs just as you’d use any of the machines located at all of our branches—with no hidden costs.
Usually found at places like CVS, Costco, 7-Eleven and Walgreen’s, there’s a good chance you won’t have trouble spotting these surcharge-free ATMs. In fact, you might even pass by them on a regular basis and not even know it.
Worried you won’t be able to find the appropriate ATM? Not a problem. You can download this app that leverages a geo-locator to help you find the machine that’s nearest you.

We don’t charge a fee when you use any ATM, but look out for other banks’ ATMs that may very well tack on surcharges when you are not a customer and use theirs.

Thanks to the Allpoint Network, though, you won’t have to worry about freely accessing your money. We know that’s the way you like it, and we’ll keep it that way.

Survey Shows More Customers Opting to Bank at Branches and on Mobile Devices in 2014

by Celeste Lohrenz

How do you prefer to do your banking?

According to a recent survey by the American Bankers Association, most Americans (31 percent) prefer to do their banking online. Surprisingly, that represents an 8 percent decrease from 2013. Additionally, this year, more customers prefer doing their banking at a branch (21 percent) than they did last year (18 percent). Other banking preferences include:

  • ATMs – 14 percent (up from 11 percent)
  • Mobile – 10 percent (up from 8 percent)
  • Telephone – 7 percent (no change)
  • Mail – 6 percent (down from 7 percent)

We love it when our customers come in to one of our branches to say hello or conduct their banking business. Our staff is always excited to see friendly faces, engage in good conversation and help answer any questions our customers might have. As such, it’s encouraging to see that more people prefer to do their banking at brick-and-mortar locations this year than they did last year.

But we also understand that in today’s digital world, not everyone has time to drive to the bank for routine financial transactions. While it’s likely you’ve conducted some of your banking business online before, have you ever given mobile banking a try?

At The Milford Bank, we are proud to offer mobile banking options. With our mobile deposit tool, you are able to deposit money into your savings account, for example, no matter where you happen to be—so long as you have a mobile device handy. You can read more about our mobile deposit program here.

In addition to that, we’re pleased to offer Popmoney, a peer-to-peer payment service that lets you send money to friends, family and whoever else from your mobile device. This is perfect for sending your kids money at college or paying your brother back the couple hundred bucks you owe him. Interested in learning more about Popmoney? Stop by or call us. We’re here to help you find the financial services that work best for your needs.

What Do You Know About Defunct U.S. Currencies? – Part Two

By Pam Reiss

Earlier this year, we published a popular blog post that explored some of the older United States currencies that are no longer in circulation. Fresh off the success of that piece, we decided it made sense to similarly explore some of the coin-related numismatic history of our country.

Believe it or not, paper money, as we know it today—that which doesn’t accumulate interest and can be exchanged between common folk for goods and services—wasn’t printed until 1861. Prior to that, commerce was generally dictated by the exchange of coins.

For the most part, we’ve reduced the coins that circulate today to little more than an inconvenience. After all, who wants to carry around all that change, anyway? But prior to pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollar coins, our ancestors traded a slew of coins that have since become obsolete.

Some of those include the:

• Half-cent. Minted between 1793 and 1857, the half-cent is the smallest denomination of currency that ever circulated in the United States. The coin went through five different iterations during its lifetime. In today’s economy, the value of the coin would be roughly 12 cents, according to the Consumer Price Index.

• Large cent. Bearing a face value of 1 cent, large cents were composed of about twice the amount of copper that could be found in a half-cent. This coin enjoyed the same lifespan as the half-cent, and went through eight different designs during that period. These coins were bigger—and heavier—than today’s quarters.

• Two-cent piece. Created in response to the economic turmoil that resulted from the Civil War—people hoarded money because of the uncertainty of the times—the two-cent piece bore the same dimensions of today’s pennies. Minted between 1864 and 1873, the coin eventually was discontinued due to the rise of the three-cent piece and the nickel.

• Three-cent piece. Weighing eight-tenths of a gram, the three-cent piece was the lightest coin ever minted in the United States. The coin’s lifespan can be divided into two sections. From 1851 to 1873, the coin was minted in silver. From 1865 to 1889, the coin was minted in nickel. During the overlap period, less silver coins were minted while nickel production increased. The coin actually has an interesting reason behind its creation: In 1851, the postage rate dropped from five cents to three cents. This was the solution.

• Half-dime. Most scholars agree that the half-dime was first minted in 1794. These coins were roughly half the thickness and size of dimes, hence the name. As the copper-nickel five-cent piece was introduced in 1866, the need for a silver coin bearing the same denomination was no longer necessary. As a result, these coins were discontinued in 1873.

• Twenty-cent piece. Bearing a remarkably similar design to the quarter-dollar, and thus often mistaken for it, the 20-cent piece was only minted for three years, between 1875 and 1878. The coin, which was originally proposed in 1791, was designed to help a perceived coin shortage in the western half of the country. Either way, the coin didn’t have much utility and was phased out shortly after its release.

But the list of obsolete coins doesn’t end there. So stay tuned, because we’ll touch upon them in future posts!