Whenever there is a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, we all want to do our part to help affected communities recover. Here are some tips to help make sure your good deed and your dollars don’t get stolen.
TWO QUICK TIPS
• Only donate to charities that you know are legitimate.
• Avoid clicking on links on social media platforms or direct messages. Not all charity messages are legal.
HOW TO KNOW IF A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION IS LEGITIMATE
• Research! Visit the charity website, check sites such as GuideStar, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
• Check the email address before you click. Most nonprofit websites end in .org NOT .com
• Never give out your social security number or bank account information. Nonprofit organizations won’t ask you for detailed personal information.
• Check the IRS website. They can reveal whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
Finally, avoid making donations through text messages or in cash. Use a secure service and remember to keep records of your contributions.
According to experts, the first six months of 2022 were marked by a significant increase in cyberattacks. They ranged from hacktivism (hacking to promote a political agenda or social change) to terabit attacks (a multiple of the unity bit for digital information or computer storage). It can all be so mind boggling and confusing unless you are a tech savvy person.
What is a cyberattack anyway?
“A cyber attack is any offensive maneuver that targets computer information systems, computer networks, infrastructures, or personal computer devices.”
What can a cyberattack do?
A cyber attack can completely disable, disrupt, destroy, and control a computer system. It can also alter, block, delete, manipulate, or steal the data that is held within these systems.
Who can launch a cyberattack?
Any individual or group can launch a cyber attack from anywhere. They are generally called cyber criminals.
What are the top threats to cyber security?
• Insider threats
• Weak passwords
• Phishing attacks
• Malware attacks
Why are cyberattacks on the rise?
There is a lot of speculation about the cause of cyber attacks being on the rise. One known reason is simple human error. Another reason is because many companies are increasing their defenses against cyber threats. In doing so, they unfortunately put a target on their back.
What are 4 things you can do today to keep yourself cyber safe!
1. Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts and make it significantly less likely you’ll get hacked.
2. Update your software
3. Think before you click. More than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email.
4. Use strong passwords.
For years, the number of female police officers has been slow to increase versus their male counter parts. However, now, agencies are making a concerted effort to increase their sworn demographics.
Here tips for recruiting female officers:
- Ensure equity
- Decrease the emphasis on military preference.
- Rethink shifts and reliance on “full-time” officers:
- Change start and ending times and consider job sharing and part-time.
- Implement strong policies against harassment and ensure there are strong policies prohibiting discrimination.
- Create policies that support those raising children:
- Allow nursing mothers – especially those on patrol – flexibility in their schedules to accommodate expressing breast milk in designated spaces.
- Recruit at non-traditional events/locations
- Participate in women and minority law enforcement associations
A department that is trying to create opportunities will want to set an example and do everything in its power to help women feel welcomed from all cultures.
[Police Magazine – June 2022]
For any officer looking to carry a concealed firearm while off duty, the first step is to check with your department regarding requirements and guidelines. They may or may not have any say in it. If they do, they might require you to use a similar weapon to your on-duty firearm, so that all of your training and qualifications can carry over to the same type of firearm. This will help develop familiarity. Not to mention the muscle memory that you automatically build up going to the range for training.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What weapon should I carry?
- Do I want a gun that’s thick or thin?
- What holster should I use to secure it?
- What amo should I use?
- Where will I conceal my weapon?
No matter where you carry your concealed weapon, it should be easy to access yet easily secured as well. You want it to be comfortable, so that you want to carry it every day.
You also want to be able to draw that gun and react under pressure. The best way to get comfortable doing this is for an officer to commit ample time to train. Training is everything and you’ll be better for it in the end.
Digital money transfers. They’re convenient, easy, quick, and for the most part a safe way to send and receive money. In fact, most of us have either sent or received money via a wire transfer, Zelle, PayPal or Venmo. The one big caveat is that the funds can be hard to trace and recover, so it’s important to know exactly where you are sending the funds before you click ‘send.’
Five Safety Tips
1. Never wire money or do a digital wire transfer to anyone asking you to send money to yourself. It sounds odd, because it is.
2. Never send money to anyone claiming your account has been compromised.
3. Never send money to a stranger or a telemarketer who is trying to sell you something
4. Never allow remote access to your computer unless you are the one who has initiated contact to the company through a verified phone number or website.
5. Finally, setup 2 factor authentication on your digital devices, which is a more secure way to identify yourself. If you suspect that one of your accounts has been compromised, immediately change your password.
How many of you go online and look at reviews before you go to a new restaurant, hire a new hair stylist, get a pet groomer for your dog, or in this case, look for medical help like a doctor or dentist? Well, recent statistics report that at least 70% of us start with an online search. But beware – the five-star rating you see may not be what it appears.
Fake online doctor reviews are on the rise. Who knew that was a thing right!? It’s a sad reality. And even more frightening is the fact that doctors and offices are hiring people to write fake reviews, just so they can make more money.
The scope of the problem is massive and there seem to be a lot of Facebook groups who are devoted to buying, selling, and trading fake online positive reviews. It’s an open marketplace!
So, what makes these reviews suspicious? Yelp reviews have been found to be written by people using the exact same words, written by people in different cities, and written by the same people on different days.
• If you read a review the keeps referring to the doctor as “she,” but the doctor is male.
• Look for identical reviews. Particularly, look past the stars and skim the text to see if the details make sense for that business.
• Beware of a large number of five-star reviews following a negative one
Other things to look for:
• Look for the section of reviews on Yelp that says “… reviews that are not currently recommended.” It lists one-star ratings first. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see it.
• Take the time to really look for a new medical professional and thoroughly read the reviews.
Last year Yelp closed 85,000 user accounts due to potentially fraudulent or abusive behavior. Maybe we should go back to the word-of-mouth method. Just ask a friend!
If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, walks and talks like a rat – IT’S A RAT! Scammers are continuing to find new ways to target you in a more personal way. Now they are coming for you through text messages and posing as companies we trust, such as FedEx and UPS. Text messages and emails might look real, but are in fact fake.
The text messages say that you have a delivery coming, but that there is a problem with it. Scammers want you to call or click on the link embedded in the text. Once you click on the link, it takes you to a fake site and starts asking you for personal information (including your credit card). Once you input your card, it’s all over – they just got you and will steal your money.
Crooks are contacting consumers posing as the police, the IRS, your bank, the courts, even federal agents. The way they pray on honest hardworking people is sickening. Especially people over the age of 60. This group of individuals are being scammed more than any other age group. If you are in this age group or have a parent or grandparent in this age group, talk to them. Make sure they are aware of the dangers lurking on their cell phones.
3 things you can do to protect yourself:
- Stay away from free trial offers
- Look for grammatical errors in texts or emails
- Report scams! Contact the FTC at https://www.ftc.gov/
Despite rising gas prices, many families are getting back out on the road to travel for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Here are 5 quick tips to keep you safe on the road:
1. Before you get on the road, rest up! Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep the night before. That goes for the primary driver and anyone else that plans to pitch in driving as well.
2. Gas up. It’s better for your car if you are driving on a full tank of gas, and it will be better for you, so that you don’t have to make frequent stops to fill up.
3. Try to avoid cell phone distractions. It’s okay to use your phone for GPS maps and even taking phone calls (hands free), but turn off the alerts for text messages and social media. Give your undivided attention to the road.
4. Leave some space between you and the cars in front of you. Driving too close is an accident waiting to happen. Especially on the freeway. If someone is driving fast and wants to pass you, let them. Better to be safe!
5. Keep an emergency kit in the car. It should include a flashlight (with extra batteries), water bottle, bandages, and jumper cables.
Have fun, brings snacks, and play games along the way. Road trips make the best memories!
What you need to know to protect your money and your heart!
For years, people have been looking to get rich quick. And it seems like scam artists have always been there ready to answer the call. And now with cryptocurrency, it’s even harder to trace.
What is cryptocurrency anyway?
Let’s try to break this down. A cryptocurrency, aka crypto-currency, or crypto is:
- A digital form of currency
- It’s a digital data string that converts to money.
- The money is instant and practically untraceable.
- It’s designed to work as an exchange of funds through a computer network.
- Not monitored by any central authority, such as a bank or the government.
- There are more than 17,000 different types on the market
Can you see why it’s attracting scammers in a big way?!
Inside track on a real-life scam story and red flags you can’t afford to ignore!
When a single man went on the dating app Tinder to find companionship, he was swindled through a sophisticated crypto investment scheme. He started communicating with a female who quickly advanced her interest in him and convinced the man to leave Tinder. Instead, they started talking through instant text messages. The conversation quickly turned to money and she persuaded him to invest his money with a legitimate crypto site. Eventually, she encouraged him to move his money from the legitimate site to a different website (where she provided the link). Many months later, he realized that the profits he thought he was making – weren’t real.
Sadly, this scam is becoming more common. You might see earnings, and even be able to withdraw money at some point. But when you want to withdraw the entire balance – and can’t – that’s when people are realizing that they’ve been a victim of a scam.
If someone asks you to make a crypto deposit at an ATM, don’t do it. No reputable company is going to ask you to make a deposit using just crypto. They will always have other options for submitting payment.
If you think it will never happen to you, you’re wrong! It can absolutely happen to anyone.
You’ve probably seen the videos caught on tape of unprovoked attacks on innocent people. They’re all over the news. Recent reports show violent crimes, including car jackings and assaults are on the rise all over the country. It’s all so shocking! A woman in Philadelphia was simply driving and sitting at a light when a person in another car pulled up next to her, opens her door, pulls her out of her car, and takes off with her vehicle. In another incident in San Jose, California, a person was sitting in their car in a parking lot when a man walks up, breaks the window on the passenger side, steals a purse, and runs off. What has come of this country that we don’t even feel safe while driving or sitting in our cars?
Here are some simple tips to help you avoid being the target of violence:
- Park close to locations. Especially if you are by yourself. At nighttime, park next to a lamp post. Bad guys don’t like to be seen, so they are less likely to target you in the light.
- Look at your surroundings and have your car keys ready before you leave the store. Don’t put them in your purse, because if someone snatches your purse, they have your keys too. If you just came out of the mall or a store and are loading things in your car, always look around. See if anyone is following you or watching you a little too closely.
- Don’t Fight! If someone approaches you and wants your wallet, your phone, or even your car – give it to them! Your life is more important.
- Never ever walk away from your car while it’s warming up! It’s an invitation for a thief to take your car.
- Wear only one earbud/earphone while walking. Bad guys like people who are distracted, so make sure you can hear what’s going on around you. If you are out running or walking and want to wear both earbuds, turn the volume so far down that you can hear well and even hold a conversation with someone next to you if needed.
- Lock your car door (even while driving). And make sure your windows are up high enough that someone can’t reach in.
If you are parking at the mall, park near the security booth. It’s a little extra assurance that someone is looking out for you.