Recognize Fraud BEFORE it Happens

Sophisticated scammers. Yep – they exist! They are getting smarter and continually looking for ways to get you to trust them.

Scammers want access

No matter what any scammer says on the phone, no matter what any scammer texts, and no matter how much time a scammer gives you – all they really want is access. Access to YOUR money. And access to your personal information.

Pay attention to red flags and follow these tips to recognize fraud before it happens.

  • Never let anyone pressure you into sending money
  • If a scammer tells you to purchase gift cards as payment, don’t do it.
  • Scammers will try to threaten to send law enforcement to your house – never true.
  • Don’t wire or transfer money or send a check as payment to anyone you don’t know.
  • Never trust a buyer or seller who refuses to talk on the phone or in person.
  • If you don’t remember entering a contest, but you get notified by text or email that you won, it’s too good to be true. Use common sense and just ignore it. Don’t click any links!

Monitor all your accounts frequently and use automated alerts, so that you get notified about any suspicious activity.

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Have you been Pwned?

With so many of us working remotely from home, and kids doing online schooling, the need to extend online security encompasses all of us.

We practice good hand washing habits and use hand sanitizer to help protect us from germs and diseases. So, why not practice good online habits to keep us safe?

Here are three common mistakes that can compromise your information:

1. Don’t reuse passwords! Especially if the password was leaked in a data breach. Use this site to see if any of your accounts have been involved in data breaches: https://haveibeenpwned.com/.


2. Be cautious when using FREE pubic WiFi! Yes, it’s free, but a hacker could be lurking just a few feet away who is hoping you connect with no password or protection. They can easily setup a device that looks like your favorite coffee shop or airport connection, but as soon as you “login,” they can view everything you do on your device.


3. Update your smart device! Don’t ignore the messages that your computer or your cell phone send you to update your system. Software updates are useful, because they add new features and update possible security flaws already in place. And don’t forget about other smart devices, such as your TV, home security system, speakers, printer, and even your garage door opener.

Here is a great option to store and use strong passwords: https://1password.com/. Be aware and don’t think “that would never happen to me.” Protect your passwords, update your systems, and stay on top of the game, so that the bad guys don’t out smart you!

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Officer Safety During Riots

Riot gear, helmets, and shields. These are some of the protective equipment that police officers use to help keep them safe during large scale rioting, such as what took place recently at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Fueled by passion or alcohol or just those who want to get in on the action, peaceful protestors can become violent. And crowds can assemble anywhere and anytime they want. Of course, there are permit procedures to follow, but the gathering itself is protected by the constitution of the United States. So, law enforcement officers must be prepared for the worse when they are in the line of duty. They have the unruly and difficult task of doing their best to control crowds.

Formations of officers in uniform, who move in a trained manner, can be quite effective in separating or moving a crowd. With a limited number of resources how should they focus their energy? Strategy or tactics or neither of these. Ask yourself, what would you do? How would you handle the crowd? I would have done this, or I would have done that. Easy to say and judge, but would feel completely different when in the moment.

It’s a scary time in our world right now. Between COVID-19 and political forces, coupled with financial strains, education challenges, and all of us doing our best to keep our heads above water, law enforcement officers are here to help keep us safe. Let’s do our best to support them. Even the most seasoned and trained officers make mistakes.

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Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season!

The Public Safety Assistance Foundation would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We are grateful for the work we get to do every day in helping to protect law enforcement from the exposure of their personal information online.

Holiday Hours

We will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, along with limited availability during these holiday weeks. We appreciate your patience and will reply to your messages as soon as we can.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support!

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Home Security Camera Warning

Home security systems – many of us have them because we believe they will help protect our families from criminals. Well now they seem to be the latest interest of hackers who are exploiting them in a really terrifying twist.

Hackers have been taking over home security cameras to scare and torment families. The FBI is saying these cyber-crooks are even sending police to unsuspecting family homes which is creating confusion and chaos that could be deadly.

Five steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you:

  1. Make sure your username and password are not been floated out on the dark web. If you have been part of a data breach, your information is most likely compromised.
  2. Search online at haveibeenpwned.com. Just plug in your usual username and if it comes up red, it’s time for a new username.
  3. Update your camera’s firmware
  4. Use a unique, lengthy, and complex password
  5. Use two-factor authentication

Creating emergencies that don’t exist
It’s called “swatting.” Where someone calls in a fake emergency to trick law enforcement officers into responding to another person’s address. It’s deceiving, it’s a harassment technique, and it can be a treacherous crime.

Dangerous Prank
Hackers are breaking into home security cameras that are connected to the internet and then watching the swatting unfold in real-time. Hackers can even access camera speakers and are shouting profane and racist slurs at the police.

This is a major safety issue. Especially with Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner. It’s not just home security cameras that can be hacked. Any device that is connected to the internet, where hackers can take over and control the devices, is vulnerable – a doorbell camera, web camera, even smart toys.

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Protect Yourself from Online Shopping Scams

Shopping online has become increasingly popular. And ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has become even more prevalent since most of us are staying home. We are shopping not just on our home computers, but on mobile devices as well.

We no longer need to go to our offices to be able to get fast internet speeds anymore, so online shopping is so much easier than it was even a year ago. Sadly, Cyber criminals are ready for us to shop online. They are savvy and taking advantage, so buyer beware!

Cyber criminals targeting three primary areas:

1. Email – We all get spam emails, but criminals are sending emails with shopping deals that are simply too good to be true. And they will be directing you to websites that say “click here,” so that you can get incredible savings. DON’T BELIEVE IT. They want to redirect you.

2. Shipping Confirmations – Text messages are super popular right now. So, beware of texts that you receive about shipping confirmations. The text might indicate that the shipping company can’t reach you and is trying to make a delivery. It might ask you to click a link or call a number or even worse, provide some personal information. Please, please, please, don’t fall into this trap. Simply delete the text and block the number.

3. Order Confirmation – Again, texts and emails are the primary way companies are sending order confirmations these days. Clicking links could take you to a website that asks you to enter payment information or personal information.

All three of the methods above are going to drive you to click a link.
Those links might open the window to spyware being installed on your device. Or you might end up providing your address or phone number to a criminal looking to steal your information. All of these things can be very risky.

Ignore the link in the text and instead make an account with a shipping provider, such as FedEx or UPS. This will allow you to login and check the status of your real package. Be smarter than the criminal and protect your online information.


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Daniel’s Law

Daniel’s Law – a landmark state law in New Jersey – makes it a crime to publish the personal information of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers online, including where they live. It comes just months after the son of Federal Judge Esther Salas was killed by a gunman at their family home.

How this moment arrived
This law was named for 20-year-old Daniel Anderl who was shot and killed in July this year by a gunman disguised as a delivery driver. When the doorbell rang, Daniel and his father Mark went to the door. Mark was shot multiple times, but survived. Sadly, Daniel did not.

The gunman, who intentionally won’t be mentioned here, later took his own life. He was a self-described anti-feminist lawyer and was able to compile Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about Judge Salas, a Judge that he once appeared before.

Privacy for Cops
There is a now a push to expand Daniel’s Law beyond New Jersey. For now, these privacy protections are offered through Privacy for Cops in California, Colorado, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Utah, and Nevada.
https://privacyforcops.org/

The hope is to expand these protections nationwide
This is a step, but it’s not the last step. The bill also prohibits government agencies, individuals, and businesses from knowingly publishing on the internet. Further, immediate family member’s names and their PII must also be protected. If a removal request is made in writing, the business or individual is required to remove the information within 72 hours.

Daniel’s legacy to protect others, will live on.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Privacy for Cops

Privacy for Cops will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so that our employees can enjoy this special time with their families. We will have limited service availability during the week and appreciate your patience during this time.

We thank you for your support and wish you a wonderful holiday season!

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Happy Veteran’s Day to our Heroes!

Veteran’s Day is a day to reflect and remember that our freedom isn’t guaranteed. It’s protected by the men and women in our Armed Services.

The Public Safety Assistance Foundation is proud and honored to celebrate all who served and continue to serve this great nation.

We are thankful to our Veterans for the risks they take and the sacrifices they make and are proud to call you our heroes.

Please celebrate a Veteran by simply saying “thank you for your service.” It will not go unnoticed.

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Fraud is on the rise – Ways to help prevent it.

The safety and security of your online personal information should always be a priority. Ever since COVID-19 began, criminals started using these difficult times to come up with schemes to gain access to our very private and personal information. They impose themselves on our daily lives by making fraudulent phone calls, sending fake emails with links that cause spyware to be installed on our devices, and even send hard copy mail in an attempt to get us to give them any spark of information.

So, how can you protect yourself from fraud?

  1. Be wary of fake voter calls and registration websites claiming to be part of a political campaign. Don’t donate to them. Don’t give them the time of day.
  2. Stay alert. Don’t give out your social security number, don’t give out your credit card number, don’t give out your driver’s license number, don’t give your date of birth, JUST DON’T.
  3. Don’t click on links in emails or text messages that you don’t recognize.
  4. Don’t respond to text messages from people that you don’t know. Block the number and delete it.
  5. Hang up on robo-calls!
  6. Ensure your laptop and cell phone are updated with the latest software.
  7. Use two-step verification, which requires a unique security code each time you access your accounts.

Stay vigilant and don’t fall into the trap of giving unnecessary information about your self to a stranger. It’s too risky and times are uncertain. Better to be safe and protect your identity.

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