two of first county bank's female business owners and the fcb logo

First County Bank Supports Women-Owned Small Businesses

First County Bank is committed to working with growing female-run businesses in the Fairfield County area. But don’t take it from us. We’ve recently spoken to five women whose businesses bank with us, and asked them to share their story.

two of first county bank's female business owners and the fcb logo

The participants include:

  • Abby Knott and Lindsay Hurty, the co-founders behind the Darien based Community + Coworking company, Everwell
  • Deborah Casey, Partner and Chief Client & Operating Officer of Milk, a Marketing Communications and Advertising agency in the heart of South Norwalk
  • Francisca Bogdan, Founder of Wilton based Creative Video Corporation
  • Carol Landsman, Executive Director of Fairfield County’s Rehabilitation Associates, Inc.

Before we get to their stories, let’s get to know each company.

Women-Owned Small Businesses in Connecticut

Everwell is a membership-based multipurpose workspace and social community with highly curated programs and events that support and inspire all aspects of women’s lives—both personally and professionally.

Outside of the 3,000 square foot multipurpose workspace in Darien, members can now experience Everwell’s programs and events from anywhere with their new virtual platform.

Milk is a Marketing Communications and Advertising agency located in the heart of South Norwalk, which has been helping clients build their brands for almost 20 years. The agency specializes in Brand Building.

Creative Video Corporation in Wilton specializes in production, post production and digital marketing with a goal of helping businesses promote their value proposition. They’ve been in business since 1997.

Rehabilitation Associates Inc. has provided one-stop comprehensive outpatient services to a birth to geriatric population for over 40 years with multiple locations throughout Fairfield County.

All services at Rehabilitation Associates Inc. are provided onsite so that patients do not have to search for interventions needed in a variety of settings. Their team is fully certified within their specialties and provides one-to-one individualized treatments for the entire appointed time.

Running a Small Business as a Woman

Deciding to open your own small business, especially as a female, is not the easiest decision. But as Landsman told us, there has been progress in this area.

“When we started 41 years ago it was difficult to rent space, open credit cards and receive loans or credit lines. Things have changed for the better, but there is still a way to go. Salary parity is still not where it needs to be. We all have to work together to continue to advocate for gender equality in business.”

Despite the difficulties that men may not share, such as juggling work and family, our female business owners would do it all again regardless of the hurdles they faced. Landsman shared the following advice for future female leaders.

“Plan to work long hours and grow slowly to develop and maintain the quality control needed along with the best and most qualified employees you can find. Quality and excellence in whatever you do is the only thing that will keep you going over the long term. There are no shortcuts.”

Positive Experiences Working With First County Bank

First impressions are important when deciding who you trust handling your finances and at First County Bank we do everything we can to earn that trust right from the start. Knott and Hurty confirmed this was why they chose to do business with us when they said the following:

​​”Since our first meeting with First County Bank, we knew we had found our financial partner, a common-sense lender who works every day to support their customers and our community and a true ally who has our back as small business owners.”

But that’s not all. Sometimes banks don’t want to do business with those starting a new business. Bogdan had a difficult time receiving rejections before visiting us.

“In 1997 no bank took me seriously. I was discouraged and upset, because I realized that banks and investment money was only provided to people that were already established, and with means. I was young and thought the system catered to just one type of person. Then I walked into First County Bank. I still remember how I felt. I felt welcomed, they took the time to listen, they cared, I didn’t hear a no, and received no judging faces. At First County Bank I only saw smiles, and received consistent recommendations on how to proceed. I presented my business plan, and the rest is history. For 22 years First County Bank has been right there helping me grow my business.”

Running a business can bring about many challenges and when they occur you want a partner you can rely on. Casey shared some pitfalls of running a small business and how First County Bank helped.

“First County was incredibly helpful when applying for a PPP loan. They kept an open line of communication on how to process the paperwork, deadlines and changes as they came. We were so fortunate to be with First County during this time because to them all clients matter and because of that we were able to access a PPP loan. I don’t believe this would have happened if we banked with one of the national banks.”

Bring Your Small Business to First County Bank

First County Bank has been supporting women-owned small businesses for decades, and we’re proud of what these businesses have accomplished.

We’re always looking forward to working with local business owners, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Whether you currently work with a Big Bank or another local bank, and don’t feel that you are being supported as well as you could be, we’d love to speak with you and tell you what we can do differently for you.

person holding cell phone and credit card

Avoiding Telephone Scams

person holding cell phone and credit cardAvoid “Tech Support” Telephone Phishing Scams

Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from a trusted company. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request personal information such as a debit/credit card and even possibly your social security
    number so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter debit/credit card and other personal or
    financial information there.

Telephone Tech Support Scams: What You Need To Know

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you’re using.

Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Do Not Trust Unsolicited Calls. Do Not Provide Any Personal Information.

Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

  • A popular technology company’s help desk
  • A popular retailer’s service center or tech support area
  • A popular technology company’s research and development team

Report Phone Scams

Learn about how to report phone fraud in the United States at the Federal Trade Commission’s website
Outside of the US, contact your local authorities.

How To Protect Yourself From Telephone Tech Support Scams

If someone claiming to be from tech support calls you:

  • Do not purchase any software or service.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription with the “Service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that is it a
    legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your debit/credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from
    tech support.

What To Do If You Already Gave Information To A Tech Support Person

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account
  • Contact your bank to inform them that your accounts may have been compromised.
  • Scan your computer with a safety scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your

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man holding fraud sign in front of computer and cash

Things You Can Do To Avoid Fraud

man holding fraud sign in front of computer and cashInternational scam artists use clever schemes to defraud millions of people across the globe each year, threatening financial security and generating substantial profits for criminal organizations and common crooks. They use phone, email, postal mail, and the Internet to cross geographic boundaries and trick victims into sending money or giving out personal information.

While con artists can be clever, many can be foiled by knowledgeable — and equally canny — consumers. Here are things you can do to stop a scam.

Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to someone who claims to be a relative in an emergency (and wants to keep the request a secret).

Don’t send money to someone you don’t know. That includes an online merchant you’ve never heard of — or an online love interest who asks for money or favors. It’s best to do business with sites you know and trust. If you buy items through an online auction, consider a payment option that provides protection, like a credit card. Don’t send cash or use a wire transfer service.

Don’t respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial information, whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad. Don’t click on links in the message, or call phone numbers that are left on your answering machine, either. The crooks behind these messages are trying to trick you into giving up your personal information. If you get a message and are concerned about your account status, call the number on your credit or debit card — or your statement — and check it out.

Don’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are responsible for the checks you deposit: When a check turns out to be a fake, it’s you who is responsible for paying back the bank.

Read your bills and monthly statements regularly — on paper and online. Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants sometimes bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services you didn’t authorize. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

In the wake of a natural disaster or another crisis, give to established charities rather than one that seems to have sprung up overnight. Pop-up charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity. Click here to learn more.

Remember there’s no such thing as a sure thing. If someone contacts you promoting low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, guarantees of big profits, promises of little or no financial risk, or demands that you send cash immediately, report them to the FTC.

Know where an offer comes from and who you’re dealing with. Try to find a seller’s physical address (not just a P.O. Box) and phone number. With VoIP and other web-based technologies, it’s tough to tell where someone is calling from. Do an internet search for the company name and website and look for negative reviews. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau.

If you believe you have been scammed, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653- 4621.

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typing on keyword in the dark

Beware of Phishing Activity

typing on keyword in the darkThere is a new type of Internet piracy called "phishing". Phishing refers to thieves who are fishing for your personal financial information. They are trying to obtain your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number, and other confidential information.

We have been informed about phishing activity that could infect personal computers. If you see an unusual web page requesting personal information, DO NOT PROVIDE YOUR INFORMATION. Update & run anti-virus protection software immediately to protect yourself.

For more information on phishing and how to protect yourself against identity theft, please visit the website of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400.

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person holding phone with an empty email inbox

Beware of Fraudulent E-Mails

person holding phone with an empty email inboxSometimes consumers receive e-mails that appear to be from a legitimate financial institution. The link in these e-mails appears to be the website of a financial institution, but it is in fact a phony site. This phony website will ask you for personal information. If you provide the information, thieves can have access to your bank accounts, credit cards or even steal your identity.

Please be aware that First County Bank will:
• Never ask you to share personal information other than through secure areas of our website
• Never ask you for your PIN, account numbers, social security number or any other personal information through e-mail

For more information on “phishing” and how to protect yourself against identity theft, please visit the website of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400.

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person holding credit card

Identity Theft and You

person holding credit cardIdentity theft, also known as identity fraud, is the unlawful capture and use of another's personal identifying information (name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, account information, mother's maiden name, or other family identifiers).

For more detailed information regarding identity theft, please go here. This website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. While there are no guarantees about avoiding identity theft, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk and minimize the damage if a problem occurs.

Fraud Victim Alerts

A fraud alert is an alert that the three major credit-reporting companies attach to your file. When you, or someone else, attempt to open a credit account the lender should contact you by phone to verify that you want to open the new account. If you cannot be reached by phone, the credit account should not be opened. Based on the type of alert, however, a creditor is not required by law to contact you if you have a fraud alert in place. Please contact: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for more information.

Security Freeze

A notice placed in a consumer's credit report, at the request of the consumer that prohibits the credit rating agency from releasing the consumer's credit report or any information from it without the express authorization of the consumer. A security freeze will require you to plan ahead for all your credit applications, as you will need to contact the reporting agency to temporarily lift and then replace the freeze (a fee is typically involved). Please contact: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for more information.

Free Annual Credit Report

The federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act) will allow you to get one free credit report annually. A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. But there's only one online source authorized to do so. That's Beware of other sites that may look and sound similar. An alternative for people concerned about identity theft/fraud, but who are not victims, or people who are victims but have not resolved the problem, is a credit monitoring service.

For additional information you may also visit the President's Identity Theft Task Force website.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400.

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New First County Bank Commercials

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