Scam-uary!

Consumer beware! 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.

In fact, new numbers from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows that they received nearly 1.7 million fraud reports in 2019. The most common type is when criminals pose as someone else. YIKES! And their number one fraud complaint – social security scammers who call and claim there is a problem with your SSN, threaten you, and demand payment.

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.

Head the warning and don’t fall for tricks.

FedEx issued a nationwide alert tweeting that they do not send unsolicited texts or emails requesting money, packages, or personal information.

Somethings 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/

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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Border Patrol Safety

Border Patrol agents face dangers every day. Just like any other type of law enforcement officer, they put their life on the line for the good of our country.

In areas such as southwest New Mexico, agents have to worry about traffickers, border crossers, wild life, weather, and more.

A Little About Them:
A Border Patrol Agent typically works alone. Horseback and ATV agents, however, work in pairs. They can work for 10+ hours and never see another person or even animal wild life for that matter. In general, it’s a much slower paced working environment and much more solitary than other working spaces. The distances to patrol are much broader in scope than traditional agents working suburban areas.

Disturbance of the Earth:
Agents look for anything out of the ordinary, especially changes to the appearance of the desert ground. Border crossers and smugglers sometimes try to cover their tracks, but the disturbance of the dirt is a red flag. A trail of disturbed earth often leads to footprints.

The Desert is Unforgiving
In an unforgiving environment, how do agents stay safe? They might be tracking a group of people (at night), and have to worry about snakes, coyotes, even the weather. One can’t control the climate of the desert, nor the temperatures. They are highly skilled, trained, and well prepared to face whatever comes their way. They are always on guard and always in communication with the nearest headquarters.

Make no mistake about it – this job is dangerous, and Agents are always on alert. Thank goodness they have our back!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

In order to give our staff time to spend with their families during the holiday season, Privacy for Cops will be closed December 25, 2019 and January 1, 2020.

Support Options Limited

Beginning December 24, 2019 to January 2, 2020, support options will be limited. We appreciate your patience during this time.

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Holiday Scam Warnings

From gift card fraud to malicious cyber campaigns, holiday hustlers are coming up with new ways to scam shoppers online and take their money.

The newest scam – emails or calls asking for payment in gift cards via a call from a fake IRS agent collecting back taxes. Or an urgent email from someone offering to fix your computer.

The Federal Trade Commission says anyone who demands payment by gift card, is ALWAYS a SCAMMER. Sadly, there have been $74 million dollars in gift card related scammers already this year. So, how can we protect ourselves from being a prime target?

Here are 10 reminders to help you preserve your holiday spirit, so that you don’t get ripped off:

  1. Inspect gift cards before you buy them. Make sure the packaging is in tact and the pin number is still covered.
  2. Save your receipts. That can be huge in the event you receive a card that doesn’t work.
  3. Treat gift cards like cash! Once they’re used, they’re gone.
  4. If you are shopping online and looking at a website that asks for your personal information before you even decide to purchase – STOP and exit the site. It’s likely a scam. Don’t give them any information!
  5. Don’t fall for phishing emails. Emails posing as prominent emails retailers are just trying to get you to hand over personal information or download a malicious program.
  6. Check the source email address. If you are not sure if its real, call the retailer directly (not the phone number in the email).
  7. Never click links in an email you are unsure of. Once you do that, you’ll open yourself up to the possibility of spyware.
  8. Social media shopping platforms are a popular target. Check the price and compare it with other sites.
  9. Check ads for spelling or grammar mistakes. Those are often indicators of fraud.
  10. Porch pirates are on the rise. Set delivery alerts so that you know when your package ships and when it arrives. Cameras at your door are always a good idea as well.

Finally, when you are deciding how best to purchase (cash or credit card), cash is king for small purchases. But credit cards (not debit cards) are really the way to go for large purchases, because they have purchase protection.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

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5 Tips to Reduce Stress for LEOs

The life of a law enforcement officer can be incredibly stressful. When faced with challenges, consider the following five tips for increasing health benefits. They can help lower blood pressure, provide better coping mechanisms, and improve a lifespan overall:

  1. Eat Healthy and Exercise. It reduces stress, wards off anxiety, and boosts self-esteem
  2. Set Goals for yourself (work and personal). Having something to focus on long-term, will improve your overall mood.
  3. Be positive. Easier said than done, but if you surround yourself with those who encourage you, you’ll be better for it in the end.
  4. Focus on your future. This will give you something to look forward to rather than just going through the mundane tasks of your home and work life. Set goals as mentioned earlier and take action.
  5. Make time for yourself. Focus on the little things and let things that you can’t control go. It’s not worth it.

Keep you head up and keep it movin’!

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Closed for Thanksgiving

Privacy for Cops will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so that our staff can spend time with their family and friends. We will have limited service availability during the week of Thanksgiving and ask for your patience during this time.

We will return to normal business hours on Monday, December 2.

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Information Sharing Websites Targeting Officers and Officials

There are many potential dangers when it comes to using the internet. And while many of us are familiar with the term identity theft, doxing is another hazard that has evolved over its short history. It is the act of researching and posting personally identifiable information about a personal without their permission.

The information is gathered from social media sites and other legitimate sites who are posting addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other information. The information is then posted on information sharing websites with details as to why you should be targeted.

Law Enforcement Officers and Public Officials are at an increased risk of being targeted or hacked by information sharing websites. By posting images of yourself online wearing a uniform that displays a name tag or listing your police department or agency, further exposes the safety of you and your family.

While eliminating your information from every online source is nearly impossible, there are steps that can be taken to minimize your risk in the event that you are targeted.

  • Beware of suspicious text messages, phone calls, or emails from people phishing for information or pretending to know you. This is an extremely effective method that is used to trick you into divulging confidential information.
  • Turn on all privacy settings on social media sites and refrain from showing images of your affiliation with law enforcement.
  • Be aware of your home computers and the settings setup on your wireless networks.
  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicle to restrict your driver’s license and vehicle registration information.
  • Contact your local county and request that real estate and personal property records be blocked or restricted from their online database
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Privacy for Cops Sends Well Wishes to California Families

As fires continue to burn across California, Privacy for Cops would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the families who are affected by these dangerous conditions. Please stay safe.

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Stop Police Suicides

Police Officers are always giving help to other people. And they need to know that it is okay to get help for themselves. Think about the stress and the cumulative trauma that they see on a daily basis. From shooting scenes, to murder scenes, to interviewing sexual assault victims. It’s shocking! And no one really talks about it.

Just about a week ago, a New York City Officer took his own life, bringing the total death by suicide in the NYPD to a record 10 active duty officers this year.

What are police departments doing about this?

The New York Police Department (NYPD), who has the nation’s largest police force, are  working with a world renowned medical center to offer help to their Officers. The mental health program that has been implemented, will allow an officer to call (anonymously) and get help without it being recorded in their file. It’s confidential and at no cost to the officer. A database will be kept from an outside source (not affiliated with the agency), so they won’t know who anyone is, rather just the number of people who are going through the program.

Internally there seems to be a stigma from Officers who need help and are considering taking their own lives. This tragedy reaches far beyond NYC and is a national crisis. According to an organization called Blue Help, at least 184 officers have taken their own lives this year. The organization tracks nationally the number of officer suicides.

When our officers suffer, we all suffer.

Sidelining any officers who do reach out for help and needs counseling would be an outright heartbreak. No one’s career needs to be destroyed because they need support.

For everyone out there and anyone reading this who might know of an Officer who needs support, please seek help!

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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