Beware These Common Types of Fraud, Part 1

By Lynn Viesti Berube

All of the technological tools we have at our disposal today can offer numerous benefits in our day to day lives. We can make financial transactions on the go, connect with long-lost friends and learn just about anything that piques your curiosity. But with all the rewards of our modern technology, there are plenty of risks too. Our smartphones, computers and tablets have also had the unfortunate consequence of empowering con-artists like never before.

Just how bad is the epidemic? According to a Javelin Strategy & Research report, identity theft and fraud cost consumers more than $16 billion in 2016—a 16 percent increase from the previous year. In order to protect yourself, it is important that you know what kinds of scams are being perpetrated today.

Here are some of the most common types of fraud that you should be aware of:

Brute-force attack: This is a hacking method to find passwords. Using this method, a hacker will test every possible combination of characters until the correct one is found. Unfortunately, there are now tools which can automate this process, making it vital for you to develop a complex password and change it regularly.

Catfish: When someone creates a fake online profile with the intention of misleading you it is called catfishing. In order to prevent being catfished, don’t accept requests on social media sites from people you don’t recognize.

Drive-by download: If you visit a website that has already been compromised with a virus or malware, your device may download it simply by visiting the site too. This can occur without you downloading anything or opening up strange links.

Ghosting: Ghosting occurs when the identity of a deceased individual is used to fraudulently conduct financial transactions such as opening credit cards, applying for loans or procuring medical treatment.

Hash busters: Typically, spam is filtered out of your email inbox. But hash busters are spam emails that are loaded up with random words or sentences in order to trick your email service into letting it into your inbox. They may include viruses or malware, and if they’re sitting in your inbox they might appear more credible and lead you to open something you might otherwise not.

Keylogger: Keylogger programs are discretely downloaded onto victims’ computers so they can track the sequence of keys you type. This provides hackers with easier odds of figuring out your passwords and other credentials.

Malvertising: Malware can come disguised as an advertisement that you see on the side of a web page. To avoid getting tricked by malvertising schemes, be sure to go directly to the official website for any business with which you wish to do business.

With the great power of the technology we have at our disposal today comes great responsibility. If you don’t take the time to protect yourself, you may end up paying for it years down the road. To learn more ways to protect your assets, stop by any office of The Milford Bank in Milford or Stratford, or check out our Online Learning Center here. And be sure to check our blog for the conclusion to this series!

Join Milford Bank and Play Dodgeball for a Cause

by Jorge Santiago

At The Milford Bank, we’ve been providing financial services since 1872. But as a community bank, we also know that our responsibility to the community extends beyond the walls of our office locations. That’s why we partner with other organizations in the Milford and Stratford community to help improve the lives of the individuals that make our towns run.

One such organization is the Boys and Girls Club of Milford, which is putting on its annual dodgeball tournament on Friday, March 31st. Here’s what you need to know:

Tournament details

  • There will be two divisions to choose from depending on your preferred style of play—recreational and competitive
  • The tournament is double-elimination
  • There is a $300 fee per team
  • Teams can roster between 6 and 10 players
  • Each participant must be at least 16 years of age


If you want to lend a hand but don’t want to play, there are still plenty of ways that you can help out. Sponsoring the tournament is a great way for your business to get some extra exposure. You can learn about sponsorship opportunities here. Or, if you’d prefer to simply volunteer your time, click here to see how you can get involved.

This year’s tournament will be held at Goooal Sports in Stratford. Doors will open at 6:00 PM and the tournament will begin at 6:30. However, this is one of the most popular events of the year, so expect that space will be limited. To ensure that you get a chance to play dodgeball for a good cause, be sure to register early.

You can find more ways to help us get involved in the Milford and Stratford community by clicking here.

Five Higher Ed Facts All Milford, Stratford Parents Should Know

By Patty Gallagher

If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident with a child in high school, it is likely that your family has already started to have conversations about higher education. Deciding whether or not your child should go to college is a difficult one, with many factors that inform the choice. And if your child is going to college, you’ve got even more challenging decisions to make. How will you pay tuition? What kind of school is right for your child? What kind of courses will your child take?

As you discuss the topic of higher education with your family and your children, keep the following five facts in mind.

  1. The average 2016 graduate leaves school with an average student loan debt of $37,172.
    If you’re planning on using student loans to pay for your child’s tuition, it is important to understand the amount of debt that you, or your child, will need to start paying off once they graduate 
  2. Students with a bachelor’s degree earn 66 percent more over their lifetime than high school graduates.
    Though student loan debt can be discouraging in the short-term, studies show that the expense of a degree is a worthwhile investment in the long term.
  3. Only one-third of students attending a public college graduate on-time.
    Developing a strategy to keep your child on track to graduate on-time is essential. Whether they’re earning a two or four year degree, finishing within those terms will keep you from incurring expenses just to cover a few remaining course credits. In addition, it means your child will enter the job market, and eventually have more experience, than others their age who needed more time to graduate.
  4. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for one semester at a four year public college in 2016 was $15,280.
    Attending college in another state can be an incredibly enriching experience. But you’ll certainly pay a premium. If your child has their heart set on an out-of-state school but you can’t figure out how to make ends meet financially, consider sending your child to a cost-effective community college in the same state for a year or two first. Your child will be able to take care of basic course requirements at less cost, while gaining the in-state eligibility they need to make their dream school a reality.
  5. Roughly $100 million in scholarship funding goes unused on a yearly basis.
    Many families think that college is too expensive. In some cases, they’re right. But in many others, they simply haven’t exhausted all their resources yet. There are millions of dollars awarded to students through scholarships and grants every year, and another $100 million goes unclaimed every year. 


If your family is starting to have the higher education conversation, be sure to gather all the facts to make the most informed decision. If you live in the Milford or Stratford area, stop by any office of The Milford Bank and we can help you move forward in a way that sets your family, and your loved ones, up for success. You can also learn more at our Online Learning Center here.

Five Helpful Hints for Managing Credit Card Debt

By Karuna Kasbawala

For most people, discussing their financial challenges is about as popular as receiving a root canal. As a result, individuals faced with difficult financial decisions often feel like they’re all alone. But the reality is that millions of Americans are facing similar difficulties.

In fact, researchers recently found that the median debt per American household is $2,300—with the average debt per individual reaching $5,700. Getting out of debt can be a long, difficult and stressful process.

But if you develop a clear strategy and stick to it, you won’t have to let your credit card debt rule your life for long. If you’re having a difficult time managing the balance on your credit card, consider applying some of the following hints to your strategy for getting caught up.

Set a budget: In many cases, financial problems aren’t caused by poor saving practices, but by poor spending decisions. By setting a budget, you will get an accurate guideline of what you need to do in order to get out of debt. This will help you put every purchase in its proper context and dissuade poor spending decisions.

Take interest in interest rates: Once you fall behind on credit card payments, it will be the interest rates that make it harder to catch up. If you have multiple credit cards with an outstanding balance, prioritize paying off the card with the highest interest rate. Otherwise, you may want to consider consolidating your debt to get a lower interest rate altogether.

Make multiple monthly payments: Chipping away at your debt may require making minimum payments for a little while. But when you can, make multiple minimum payments within a month. This can reduce your average daily balance, which can lower your interest charges. In addition, making multiple payments will look good for your credit history.

Stop using your credit card: The easiest way to stop racking up credit card debt is to stop using your credit card. This will help you learn how to purchase only the most essential items. But for consumers relying on that line of credit, this might mean having to find an alternative method for making ends meet. Fortunately, many banks are now offering debit cards with the same types of rewards traditionally granted only through credit cards—without any interest rates attached.

Speak with a debt management expert: As previously stated, talking about finances is one of the most difficult conversations you can have. But it is still one of the most important, too. Consulting with a debt management expert will help you learn how to avoid financial pitfalls and strategize your escape from debt in a comfortable and judgment-free setting.

If you’re suffering from credit card debt, you don’t have to go it alone. Stop by any office of The Milford Bank to speak with one of our financial experts, or learn more about managing debt at our Online Learning Center.