SMP CyberSAFE

  • As part of the district's continuing efforts to help parents, students, employees, and community members stay safe online, the Technology Department offers weekly suggestions that we hope help maintain Secure Access For Everyone to online applications and content.  

     

    SMP CyberSAFE Secure Access For Everyone

CyberSAFE Posts

  • SMP CyberSAFE: May 2022

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 6/3/2022

    Dubbed the “Fifth Season” by local meteorologists and internet memes, Hurricane Season is here. If you’ve been a resident of the Gulf coast for any amount of time, you’ve probably started doing a little storm prepping – stockpiling extra water and batteries, checking your generator, making sure you have important paperwork in a safe place, etc. We do these little tasks each year to prepare for the “what ifs” of storm season. But, as Colleen Tressler of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states in her article, “threats from hurricanes don’t just come from wind and rain.” We need to prepare for the possible scammers that arrive after the storm has passed. Tressler’s article, How to Prepare for Hurricane Season 2022 and Avoid Storm-related Scams, gives valuable resources on ways to avoid and report storm-related scams.

    Below are some of the tips from the FTC:

    • Be Skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and debris removal.
    • Before you pay, ask for IDs, licenses, and proof of insurance.
    • Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, or in cash.
    • Never make the final payment until the work is done.
    • Guard your personal information including your credit card, bank account, and Social Security Number.
    • Know that FEMA doesn’t charge application fees.

    For more information, visit Dealing with Weather Emergencies | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov).

    Comments (-1)
  • CyberSAFE Spring 2022

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 5/5/2022

    Cyber-attack Safety

    Although we are half a world away from the unfolding events in Russia and Ukraine, it’s more important than ever to stay cyber-safe. There are steps you can take to protect your home and work devices from malicious cyber-attacks.

    We should always be on the lookout for possible phishing attempts and malware attacks. Be cautious of opening emails from unknown senders or clicking links from unknown senders – when in doubt, don’t click.

    The Federal Trade Commission provides many resources on protecting yourself from phishing scams and information on how to report possible scams.

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  • CyberSAFE January 2022

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 2/24/2022

    Cryptocurrency Scams 

    You may have heard the term cryptocurrency before, but what is it? Cryptocurrency is digital money that bypasses conventional monetary authorities, such as banks and governments.  

    We know scammers are always looking for their next payday and cryptocurrency frauds are on the rise. The latest crypto scams involve “an impersonator, a QR code, and a trip to a store.”  

    Cristina Miranda, Division of Consumer and Business Education with the FTC details the scam, and what to look for to keep your money secure.  

    Comments (-1)
  • CyberSAFE Winter 2021

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 1/13/2022

    Federal Student Loan Scams

    Scammers never take a break, not even during the holidays. Federal student loan repayments are set to begin in January 2022 and the scammers are ready to take advantage.

    Emily Wu, attorney with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Division of Consumer and Business Education has some helpful tips to avoid being scammed. Her article, ’Tis the season for student loan scam calls | FTC Consumer Information has all of the details, but here’s a quick overview:

    • Never pay an upfront fee.
    • Never give out your Federal Student Aid ID.
    • Don’t sign up for quick loan forgiveness.
    • Scammers use fake seals and logos to lure people in.

    Possible scams can be reported to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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  • CyberSAFE November 2021

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 12/17/2021

    Smishing: Silly Name. Serious Problem.

    What is Smishing? This is the term for those pesky text messages, or SMS messages, that scammers use to try to get your personal information. It may appear to be a text from your cell phone provider or a package delivery company, but most likely, it’s a scam.

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some helpful tips and tricks so that you can recognize these scams and report them.

    Example of a scam text message.

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  • CyberSAFE Fall 2021

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 10/19/2021

    Stimulus Payment Scams are Still Circulating

    Have you received a text message or phone call concerning your stimulus payment? Chances are, it’s a scammer trying to get your information and your money.

    Becca Kelly Slaughter, Acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some words of caution and advice in this brief video.

    Three signs of a scammer in action:

    • The government will not ask you for payment to receive your stimulus funds.
    • The government will not call, email, text, or message you on social media to ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number.
    • The government will not ask for payment through money transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrencies.

    Possible scams can be reported to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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  • CyberSAFE August 2021

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 8/2/2021 7:00:00 AM

    Stimulus Payment Scams are Still Circulating

    Have you received a text message or phone call concerning your stimulus payment? Chances are, it’s a scammer trying to get your information and your money.

    Becca Kelly Slaughter, Acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some words of caution and advice in this brief video. Three signs of a scammer in action:

    • The government will not ask you for payment to receive your stimulus funds.
    • The government will not call, email, text, or message you on social media to ask for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number.
    • The government will not ask for payment through money transfers, gift cards or cryptocurrencies.

    Possible scams can be reported to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

    Comments (-1)
  • CyberSAFE Article June 2021

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 7/6/2021

    Family Emergency Imposter Scam

    Scammers will do anything to get your money. One scam is known as the "Family Emergency Imposter Scam." Scammers call potential victims and pose as a friend of a family member in distress. 

    Lisa Lake, an FTC Consumer Education Specialist gives three easy tips to avoid being scammed

    • Resist the urge to act immediately.
    • Call or message your loved one using a trusted contact number.
    • Never send payment. 

     

    Watch on YouTube.

     

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  • CyberSAFE Article May 2021

    Posted by Lee Ann Hepler on 6/22/2021

    It has been over a year since COVID-19 made its first appearance in our area. In response to the virus, we have adapted to new daily routines to help stay safe and healthykeep your distance, wear a mask, and wash your handsA few months ago, several vaccines became available, and the scammers of the world saw an opportunity. Because of these quick-thinking scammers, our new daily routines should also include keeping a watchful eye on our bank accounts and personal information and making smart decision when it comes to sharing personal information.  

     


    Man holding laptop.  “Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of significant world events. The COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding rapid digital acceleration brought about by stay-at-home orders is a global event unrivaled in the online age,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion 


     

    According to Colleen Tressler, the scammers’ newest attempt to swindle your personal information involves sending phony vaccine surveys. Ms. Tressler is with the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education and in her article, she states that these opportunistic scammers are sending emails and text messages with links to surveys. These surveys appear to be legitimate, but it is all an elaborate ruse to steal your personal data. Her advice to avoid being scammed is simple 

    • Do not click on any links or open attachments.  
    • Do not call or use the number in the email or text.  
    • Do not give out your banking account, credit card, or personal information.  
    • Report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.  

    In the same way that we are vigilant in protecting our health, we must also be vigilant in protecting our financial and personal information. Just like viruses, scammers are out there looking for a weak spot to capitalize on – inoculate yourself against these scammers by keeping your information private.

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