Tag Archives: Citibank

Roundup: Mars Robot, COVID Testing, Citibank, More

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The tagline says “06880: Where Westport meets the world.”

Today, it’s “where Westport meets the solar system.”

When Perseverance — NASA’s $2.7 billion robotic explorer — landed successfully on Mars yesterday, it got a boost from a 2012 Staples High School graduate.

Alexandria Rosa spent more than 2 years helping source one of the spacecraft’s arms. She’s a mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

Nice to know there’s now a little bit of Westport on the red planet!

Alexandria Rosa

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The St. Vincent’s/Hartford Healthcare testing on Long Lots Road — a very popular location for several months — now operates only Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (8 a.m. to noon).

On March 1, it will close permanently as a testing site.

The scene at St. Vincent’s Medical Center on Long Lots Road, a few days before Christmas. (Photo/Randy Ford)

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Another closure: Citibank’s Post Road East branch — the one by Walgreens — will officially close on April 30. It has been shut for a while, during COVID.

An email to customers says “we assure you that you will receive the same great service, now at a new location.”

The email does not explain where that “new location” is. It does, however, say that “it may be convenient” to use the 399 Post Road West branch.

Many banks have closed branches during COVID. For example, none of Bank of America’s 3 Westport locations are open.

The Citibank branch, in the Walgreens plaza.

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Greg Naughton’s new film, “The Independents,” will be released virtually to art house cinemas on February 26. The wider on-demand release comes March 9.

But there’s a special screening — with Q-and-A afterward — at Fairfield’s FTC on Saturday, February 27.

That’s close to here. But the film has an even closer connection: Some of it was shot in Westport.

“The Independents” is a comedy/drama about 3 solo artists who collide at the same crossroads and discover harmony. They share a rollercoaster ride across America for a shot at musical glory.

The film stars (and was inspired by) the real-life folk-rock Sweet Remains. The Hollywood Reporter called it “an extremely engaging film (that) subverts all the clichés of the star-is-born story and proves there are plenty of offbeat ways to satisfy audiences without hewing to formula.”

Naughton — a longtime Westport resident — had quite a bit to do with “The Independents.” In addition to writing, directing and producing, he stars in it.

Click here for tickets and more information. Click below for the trailer.

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Today’s New York Times carries an obituary of Bruce Blackburn. The graphic designer — famous for creating both the NASA “worm” logo and the American bicentennial star — died in Colorado, at 82.

He also designed the logo for the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Weston, of which he was a longtime congregant, the Times says.

However, the logo appears only once on the church’s website: on the home page.

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And finally … happy 58th birthday to Seal!

Scammed! (Part 3)

In 2012, “06880” profiled Larry Perlstein. The longtime Westporter wanted to make a difference, in an uncertain economy.

The next year, with continued difficulty finding a job, he formed a consulting practice. In 2014 he added teaching duties at Pace University.

Life stabilized. But in February 2017 his wife Jacquie Marumoto — just 49 — suffered a stroke. When she returned home after 6 months in the hospital, Larry became her full-time caregiver, and parent to their 10-year-old daughter. He took on small paid and pro bono projects.

Larry Perlstein and his wife Jacquie Marumoto.

Last August, he received an email from a firm like those with whom he’d done focus groups and market research. The offer was simple: Help Western Union evaluate their operations at 2 nearby locations.

Perlstein would receive instructions and a check by mail. He’d take out his fee, send a Moneygram to 2 people, then complete a survey on his experience.

Perlstein is well educated, and tech savvy. He knows about financial scams and cybercrime.

But this request was well executed. The instructions were professional. He texted with the contacts offering the work.

Still, he was uneasy when he got the first package, with a $2700 check. He told a Citibank teller the check might bounce. She suggested calling customer service.

A representative told him the deposit had cleared. Perlstein completed the tasks. He was pleased: He figured he made $300, for an hour’s work.

Four days later, he got a letter from Citibank. The check had been returned as “Fictitious.” He was out $2,700.

The Post Road West branch manager told him that endorsing a check releases the bank from any liability.

Perlstein reported the scam to the FTC, FBI and state government. An attorney said that recovering the funds from the bank would be futile.

Undeterred, he sued Citibank in small claims court. The case is scheduled for June 29. Perlstein will argue that the bank had a responsibility — if not a legal liability — to protect its customer’s interests. They betrayed that trust by not advising him of the vagaries of check deposits — even when told twice of concerns about the check’s validity.

He hopes that telling this story will raise awareness of the scam. After writing about it on Facebook, he heard several similar tales. All but one person had been too embarrassed to tell anyone of their loss.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is,” Perlstein notes.

“Don’t rely on any institution to protect your interests. Educate yourself. And if you fall prey, don’t beat yourself up. Scammers are sophisticated. They take advantage of any vulnerability.” You can visit the FTC website for more scam information.

Perlstein suffered another blow earlier this month: His 87-year-old father died suddenly.

These days, Perlstein is focusing on his family. And — at a time when he needs it — he thanks everyone who supported a GoFundMe campaign covering his wife’s medical and rehabilitation costs.

Don’t Bank On It

A 2-hour hunt — involving Westport police, state troopers and dogs — ended in the arrest of a man and woman following an attempted larceny at the Citibank across from Sherwood Diner today.

The suspects attempted to withdraw money from an account that had insufficient funds.

Perhaps Citibank needs to hire the same sunglass-wearing security dudes posted in front of Bank of America.

Or not. The rent-a-cops are there only part time.

You don’t have to be Jesse James to see them at one branch, and move on to the next.