What is a robocall?
A robocall is a phone call that uses a computerized dialing service to deliver a pre-recorded message (like a robot – hence the word “robocall”). They are used to reach a lot of people at once and deliver the same message. Scammers use them, because they want to try and deceive as many victims as possible.
Are all robocalls illegal?
Not all robocalls are illegal. For example, a message from your child’s school might be sent to deliver a message about a school closure or a schedule change. This is completely acceptable. But, unsolicited calls that are trying to sell you something are illegal.
How to know if a robocall is a scam!
• Is there silence at the beginning of the call? If yes, it’s because the call system is waiting for you to speak.
• If the message is a pre-recorded sales ask, it’s likely a scam.
• If a call is about extending a warranty on your car, but you don’t have a warranty, it’s a scam.
• If the message seems a bit too urgent, it’s a scam. For example, the call says something like “we’ve been trying to reach you to let you know that your social security number has been compromised. Please call us back right away or press 1 now.”
If you don’t recognize a phone number:
1. Don’t answer!
2. Don’t respond!
3. Don’t click!
4. Don’t press any buttons!
5. Don’t say “yes.”
6. Don’t provide any personal information!
7. Screen your calls. Filter unknow senders
8. Silence unknown senders
9. Sign up for the national Do Not Call Registry.
10. Report phone numbers to the Federal Trade Commission. You can do this on the Do Not Call Registry website noted above.
Apps that can help deter robocalls:
• Mr. Number
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act recognizes that law enforcement officers and their supporting agencies NEED and DESERVE assistance with their well-being. Just as regular everyday people seek help with their emotional health, so do police officers.
When officers don’t manage stress well, it spreads to other people in the community. It spreads in the form of acting out physically or verbally when making arrests. It spreads to how officers respond to their own co-workers. It spreads to the way officers respond to their friends and families. And it’s simply not healthy for anyone, particularly the officers themselves.
Here are 8 tips that officers can use to help manage stress:
1. Have a support system!
Emotional support is critical when it comes to dealing with obstacles in life.
Pump up the endorphins in your brain by doing something physical. Walk, run, bike, hike, play pickle ball, anything. Physical exercise has been proven to improve moods.
3. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is powerful in reducing stress! It helps us concentrate and sharpens decision making.
4. Don’t just be your job. Diversity your narrative.
Surround yourself with people and activities outside of work that make you – YOU. If your job is all you are, it will be all you focus on. Think outside the box and start a hobby or spend quality time with your family and friends.
5. Get out of your own head!
Don’t be too arrogant. Confidence is key, but there is no need to think you are better than anyone else. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
6. Talk to a professional.
It’s okay to seek psychological help! Who cares what other people think. Put yourself first.
7. Make healthy eating choices!
We all know the saying … “you are what you eat.” Think healthy and focus on veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. When you are in a hurry and on the go, grab a smoothie. A mixture of nuts is a great snack on the go and so is a small deli sandwich.
8. Communicate with your boss.
Level up and be honest about your needs. A force is more valuable to you than without you, so they will be more likely to get you the help and support you need than risk losing you.
If you are going to be traveling for the holidays or even later on this year, don’t advertise your vacation! Do it afterwards. People don’t need to know your every move. It’s okay to share your trip later. Here are a few other security basics you should be aware of for the holidays and beyond:
• Alert your neighbors! Let someone know that you are going to be out of town. Exchange phone numbers and ask them to keep an eye out on your house.
• Hire a house sitter. Someone who can check in on your house once a day.
• Test your alarm. Make sure all systems are working. Also make sure your cameras are working properly and facing the right direction.
Here are some things you can do to deter burglars:
- Lock your doors and windows. May seem obvious, but a lot of people forget to check.
- Set an alarm and make sure your doorbell camera is secure and working.
- Don’t have packages delivered during this time. This will only invite potential thieves.
- Make sure it looks like someone is still home. Meaning, leave some lights on or put some lights on timers, so that they come on at the same time every day.
- Leave a radio on. They play music and talk, so it’s a great deterrent.
- Motion lights are also a great thing to put up.
- Trim your bushes. You don’t want to give anyone a place to hide.
Whether you are staying home or traveling, protecting your loved ones should always be the number one priority. Crimes can happen any time.
Have you ever been suspicious about a person you are talking to online and think that they are not at all who they say they are? That maybe they are trying to lure you into a relationship, whether it be romantic or as a friend? That’s catfishing. The fish is a predator and is deceptive in nature. They create a false identity on a social media site and lure a victim into their world. They lead a victim to think they are talking to someone who might be the same age as them or even look a certain way — when it’s someone totally different. Someone awful who lies and is completely manipulative.
Recently in the news, a man in Virginia was reported to be communicating online with a teenage girl who lived in Riverside, California. The man was portraying himself to be a much younger age (17) than his actual age of 28. And it turns out this man was a former Virginia state trooper. He drove more than 2,000 miles to the girl’s house, where he murdered three of her family members and then set the house on fire. Thankfully some Sheriff Deputies tracked them down and the man was killed in a shootout.
This is a wake-up call for everyone and another horrific reminder that predators exist online.
Here are 7 signs that you are getting Catfished online:
- They won’t pick up a phone call.
- They are using someone else’s photos. You can typically find out if they are using someone else’s photos by doing a simple Google reverse image search.
- They make plans with you, but constantly cancel.
- They ask you for personal information, but don’t share personal things about themselves.
- They ask you for money.
- They seem to fall for you way too quickly. Something feels off.
- Everything just seems to good to be true.
Trust your instincts and know the warning signs, so that you can protect yourself. Be smarter than the perpetrator and never ever in any circumstance give out your personal private information!
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!