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Holiday Traveling with Personal Internet-Enabled Devices

The Internet is at our fingertips with the widespread use of Internet-enabled devices such as smart phones and tablets. When traveling and shopping anytime, and especially during the holidays, consider the wireless network you are using when you complete transactions on your device.

Know the risks

Your smart phone, tablet, or other device is a full-fledged computer. It is susceptible to risks inherent in online transactions. When shopping, banking, or sharing personal information online, take the same precautions with your smart phone or other device that you do with your personal computer — and then some. The mobile nature of these devices means that you should also take precautions for the physical security of your device (see Protecting Portable Devices: Physical Security for more information) and consider the way you are accessing the Internet.

Do not use public Wi-Fi networks

Avoid using open Wi-Fi networks to conduct personal business, bank, or shop online. Open Wi-Fi networks at places such as airports, coffee shops, and other public locations present an opportunity for attackers to intercept sensitive information that you would provide to complete an online transaction.

If you simply must check your bank balance or make an online purchase while you are traveling, turn off your device's Wi-Fi connection and use your mobile device's cellular data Internet connection instead of making the transaction over an unsecure Wi-Fi network.

Turn off Bluetooth when not in use

Bluetooth-enabled accessories can be helpful, such as earpieces for hands-free talking and external keyboards for ease of typing. When these devices are not in use, turn off the Bluetooth setting on your phone. Cyber criminals have the capability to pair with your phone's open Bluetooth connection when you are not using it and steal personal information.

Be cautious when charging

Avoid connecting your mobile device to any computer or charging station that you do not control, such as a charging station at an airport terminal or a shared computer at a library. Connecting a mobile device to a computer using a USB cable can allow software running on that computer to interact with the phone in ways that a user may not anticipate. As a result, a malicious computer could gain access to your sensitive data or install new software.

Don't fall victim to phishing scams

If you are in the shopping mode, an email that appears to be from a legitimate retailer might be difficult to resist. If the deal looks too good to be true, or the link in the email or attachment to the text seems suspicious, do not click on it!

What to do if your accounts are compromised

If you notice that one of your online accounts has been hacked, call the bank, store, or credit card company that owns your account. Reporting fraud in a timely manner helps minimize the impact and lessens your personal liability. You should also change your account passwords for any online services associated with your mobile device using a different computer that you control. If you are the victim of identity theft, additional information is available from https://www.idtheft.gov/.

For even more information about keeping your devices safe, read Cybersecurity for Electronic Devices.

Author

US-CERT Publications

 

Voting has started for America’s Favorite Crossing Guard.

Safe Kids Catawba County has nominated Officer Evaleene Fowler from South Newton Elementary.
A twenty seven year veteran of the Newton NC Police Dept, Officer Evaleene Fowler has been a crossing guard for all but a few weeks of those years. Although the pedestrian population at South Newton Elementary School is small, Officer Fowler is at her post morning and afternoon, rain or shine with the positive attitude parents and students have grown to love.

Go to https//www.safekids.org.crossing guard and search for Ms. Fowler in the search box. Go trough a series of box clicks to prove you are not a robot and provide a valid email address. Once you click on the email link the vote is counted.

South Newton stands to win $10,000 if first, $7,500 if second and $3,000 if they come in third.


Top Ten Consumer Tips

1.  Say no to high-pressure sales pitches. If the offer is only good today, walk away. 

2.  Always read contracts carefully before you sign them, and make sure all written documents match what you’ve been promised. Never sign a document that you don’t understand or that has blanks to be filled in later. 

3.  Be cautious when responding to telemarketers, door-to-door sellers, and email or text pitches. Instead of responding to unsolicited offers, decide when and where you want to go shopping.

4.  You never have to make a purchase or pay taxes, fees or other expenses in advance to win a prize. Anyone who demands an upfront fee for a prize is trying to scam you. 

5.  Never give out your Social Security Number, credit card or bank account number or other personal information to anyone you don’t know who contacts you.

6.  Be skeptical of upfront fees. North Carolina law makes it illegal to collect advance fees for some types of work, such as foreclosure assistance and debt settlement help. If an advance payment is required for other kinds of transactions, use a credit card when possible. This gives you some protection if your order doesn’t arrive or the work isn’t completed. 

7.  Do business with companies you know or that come recommended by those you trust. Check out companies with the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or your local Better Business Bureau before making major purchases.

8.  Join the Do Not Call registry to cut down on unwanted telemarketing calls.  To sign up, call 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register or visit www.donotcall.gov. Once you’re on the list, report Do No Call violators to the Attorney General’s Office.

9.  Check your credit report regularly. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each nationwide credit bureau. To access your free credit reports, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.  

10.  If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Source:  North Carolina Department of Justice 


The Newton Police Department is proud to be recognized by our corporate partner Target for dedication to the community.  Target is a proud supporter of Target @ BLUE which provides support and funding for law enforcement programs and initiatives that support the community.


Target 2



The Good News!
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

Many thanks to Old St Paul's Lutheran Church for providing lunch and a copy of "The Nobility of Policing" to our officers. Our Police Department feels so fortunate to have so much support from our commuinity!


Once again the Newton Police Department has partnered with South Newton Elementary to participate in Club Day!  Once a month officers facilitate a chess club and forensics club for interested students.

Dane club day
Investigator Dane Hoyle teaching chess
Spencer Hopkins club day
Lt. Cline and Sgt. Hopkins teaching forensics


Online Shopping Safety Tips

Top Tips for Safe Online Holiday Shopping

Before you start your holiday shopping, remember to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.: Make sure security measures are in place, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

Keep a Clean Machine: All the devices you use for shopping - including smartphones and
tablets - should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems, programs and apps.  
When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email. 

Think Before you Act: Be wary of   communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be true, implore you to act immediately - including those about a problem with an order or payment or ask you to view the website via a provided link.                                     

Get Savvy about Wi-Fi Hotspots:  Don’t share personal or financial information over an unsecured network (a connection that doesn’t require a password for access). Using the direct web access on your phone (via a 3G/4G connection) is safer than an unsecured wireless network when on your mobile device. 
Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured. For new sites, check online reviews. 

Protect your Personal Information: Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure the information requested is only that needed to complete the transaction. Only fill out required fields on checkout forms. Check the website's privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used. 

Use Safe Payment Options: Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Credit cards may have a limit on the monetary amount you will be responsible for paying. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service. 

Keep a Paper Trail: Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of email exchanges with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, call your bank and report it immediately. 

For further information please contact SatySafeOnline.org at https://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/resources/top-tips-for-safe-online-holiday-shopping/


Rabies Control and Prevention.


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services would like to highten awareness and educate the public about prevention and control.  Provided is a link to the NC DHHS website with valuable information concerning rabies and other communicable diseases. 

NC DHHS


The Good News!

We are very honored and proud to have the Good News! coming from Newton.  Please follow the link provided for a story by Kristen Hampton from WBTV about our very own Eveleene Fowler and Ken Campbell..

Newton's Finest!


IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. 

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. 

If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.