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Obsolete jobs: Meet the guy who fixes Tom Hanks' typewriter

Sunday, March 1, 2015 9:52 am

When Tom Hanks and Sam Shepard need to get their typewriters fixed, they know exactly where to go: Gramercy Typewriter, a third-generation, family-run shop that's still click-clacking away after 83 years.

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  • Why Is Change So Hard?

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    I was “hanging out” with some lady friends a few weeks back.  And the discussion came up about banking and using online banking.   Of course, I had to weigh in on this discussion.

    One lady expressed that she was upset that Social Security was about to require electronic deposits for Social Security funds.  She was upset by this change, and further, she noted would never trust using the internet for banking.

    Change is hard!  I expect that when Henry Ford introduced a motorized vehicle, that many expected that invention would never take hold.  Look at us now!  At the time, I expect it took a little while for that horseless carriage idea to catch on.

    In the early 1940s, women worked primarily in the home and were the primary child bearers and caretakers.  With the advent of WWII, a much greater need came about for women to leave the homes and go to work in all sorts of industries supporting families and the war effort for the United States.  And I would venture a guess that the multitude of ways women make a difference in & outside the home since that time have multiplied exponentially – think Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!  Yet, it was likely difficult for some of those women of the 1940s to leave the home and learn a trade, go in to an office to work, and contribute in a different way.

    I grew up in a simpler time as well.  In the 60s, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no computer games.  I remember a time when we didn’t even have a television in our home – we couldn’t afford one.  We had to actually talk to one another, go outside to play in the neighborhood, use our fingers to dial a telephone, and once we got a TV, we had to get out of our chair to change a television channel.   My daughter today has no concept of this.  Change is hard.

    I was an Office Manager in the 90s when the fax machine was ‘born.’  Now I think of the fax as antiquated technology.  Likely, many of us balked at moving from receiving our wages in cash, to receiving a hand-written paycheck.  Then we moved to a typewritten paycheck, still hand-delivered.  Today, it is all automated – the money gets into our accounts faster than ever before with the same or better accuracy, because of technology. Change is hard.

    I expect folks in my age range (notice I’ve gone from a certain age, to a “range”) – in our 50s and more mature– are somewhat divided on technology.  Some are very ”techknowlegeable,” and some are not.   Making that change is, no doubt, difficult.   As few as five years ago I absolutely refused to try or use LinkedIn or Facebook.   I’m now regularly using both, learning Twitter, and using Klout, and even blogging in and outside my bank. 

    I continue to advocate, even gently encourage, my fellow 50-somethings to consider using the internet – and in particular, online banking & bill pay.  It is not going away.   In terms of safety and the risk management of using such things as online banking and bill pay, everyone must be diligent.  I am confident the same was said of using dollar bills instead of gold pieces, checks instead of dollar bills, mail instead of hand delivered payments.  Give careful consideration to learning to use the internet for your banking needs.  I use a colleague’s example.  His son is in his 30’s and has lived all across the country, including New York City.  He has been with the same bank since college, and he has never set foot inside a brick & mortar building.  (By the way, did you know you can open a checking account online and apply for a mortgage online!?) Change is hard – yet, it is all around us.   

    You have heard me share some of the positives of moving to online banking & bill pay – the most precious to me, is the time I have back in my life.  I also just got a discount on my personal car insurance by moving to electronic statements – one less piece of mail to track.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me excited.  And yet, change is, indeed hard. 

  • Practice Safe Holiday Shopping

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    The holiday shopping season is in full swing!  Are you ready?  Do you still have lots of shopping to do?  Have you already shopped on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or all three?  Chances are that many of us still have plenty of shopping left to do before Christmas and that will be inter-mingled with work and family gatherings as well as travel both short and long trips.

    In the middle of all of this activity, it’s very important to keep track of your holiday spending habits especially when shopping online and travelling over the holidays.  Doing so will help protect your money and reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions occurring.

    Following these guidelines can make your holiday shopping and travel more financially secure:

    • Use a low limit credit card for online shopping.  Your liability is $50 on fraudulent charges using your credit card.
    • Know who you’re shopping with.  Be leery of unknown or obscure shopping websites.  Stick with well-known shopping sites from reputable retailers.
    • If it’s too good to be true…it probably is.  Don’t fall for incredibly cheap or free deals commonly seen on Facebook.
    • Look for the padlock and https on your Internet browser window.  Secure online shopping sites should use the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology for securing online transactions.  You should see a padlock icon at the bottom or top of the browser status bars that you are using and https in the address bar.
    • Make sure that computers and smart phones used for online shopping are patched with the most up to date software.
    • Try not to conduct online shopping on public WiFi networks.
    • Use anti-virus / anti-malware software on your PC and smart phones and make sure they are updated.  This can help prevent a virus infection if you happen to end up on a bogus shopping site.
    • Make sure you use online banking to check your shopping activity and don’t wait for a mailed statement to arrive to verify online shopping activity. By the way, have you signed up for MutualBank’s online banking?  Learn how to get started.
    • Use your statements, MutualMobile or MutualBank’s Personal Online Banking to review transactions…are you signed up for eStatements yet?  Get your statements quicker via email!
    • View your cleared checks to make sure they were not altered in any way to change the payees or dollar amounts.
    • If you swipe your card, check the card reader especially on gas pumps, ATMs, and other self-service payment terminals for card skimming devices…see ABC News “Credit Card Skimming Tips To Protect Yourself” for more information.  It is simple…just lightly tug on the card reader to ensure that it’s secure before swiping your card.  A card skimming device will easily pull off as it’s usually taped or lightly glued on top of the existing card reader.  If the reader pulls off do not use the machine and report it immediately to authorities. 
    • Travelling over the holidays and planning on using your MutualBank debit card?  Make sure you Call Before You Travel to ensure uninterrupted debit card use!

    Remember that you are the best defense against online shopping fraud!  If you suspect that you have been scammed please call MutualBank Customer Support at 800-382-8031. Also please report any online fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    Have a safe and happy holiday season from MutualBank, helping you live a better life!

     

    This post is written by John Mickle, Risk Management and Compliance at MutualBank

  • Email Phishing - Protecting Your Home and Small Business Computers

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Whether you own a small business or use your home computer for financial activities, you need to be aware of Email Phishing which can ultimately lead to identity theft and corruption of your small business and home computers. 

    What is Email Phishing?
    Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent website that appears legitimate. – United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

    Common forms of Email Phishing
    Phishing emails are becoming very personalized posing as your cable company, utilities, credit cards, mobile phone carrier, banks, and many more entities that you do business with on a regular basis.  The most common threat of Email Phishing right now is malware.  If you click on a link inside of an email that was intended for phishing; your computer can become infected with malware.  The malware will attempt to steal your personal information, usernames and passwords to systems such as online banking.

    Trigger events that can lead to Email Phishing
    Here are some trigger events that fraudsters may try to leverage with Phishing Emails.

    • Natural disasters (Hurricane Sandy, Southern Indiana tornados)
    • Political elections
    • Holidays
    • Economic conditions
    • Tax season

    Here are some steps to take in order to protect you against Phishing.

    • Make sure that email spam/junk filters are turned on and configured properly.  Consult with your email provider or IT specialist for assistance.
    • Do not click on links or open attachments in suspicious looking emails.  Delete them immediately and tag them as spam/junk within your email system.
    • Log into your known sites from your web browser to verify if an email is legitimate as the links in emails can be easily spoofed to go somewhere other than where it looks like it will go.
    • Be leery of unsolicited emails asking for personal information or presenting links to click on in order to update account information, track orders, overdue bills, cancelled ACH/Wire transactions, etc.
    • If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
    • Do not email sensitive information in email unless it is encrypted.  Banks and other businesses should provide secure email systems to communicate regarding account information.
    • Do not store usernames/passwords, account information, SSN numbers, or other personal information in your email systems as if you do become infected with malware it will attempt to scan your email for this information.
    • Make sure that you have anti-malware/virus programs installed on small business and home computers and they are always updated and perform frequent scans.
    • Make sure that you keep other programs such as Java, Adobe programs, Internet browsers, and other online programs updated with the most current patches.

    More information about Email Phishing and Cybersecurity
    Here are some good web sites to obtain more information about email phishing.

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt127.shtm
    http://www.us-cert.gov/nav/report_phishing.html
    http://www.dhs.gov/cybersecurity

    Information about anti-malware programs
    MutualBank does not endorse the products listed below and are provided as examples of free anti-virus/malware detection and removal tools.

    http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials
    http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools.aspx

    Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concerns for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.

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