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Caution Ahead – COVID-19 Scams



As an information technology security professional, I feel the warnings about cybersecurity and online scams are plentiful.  However, all bets are off during a crisis.  A family member asked about a specific website that was tracking the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  I coached my family member to ensure the site they planned to visit for information is reputable. They suggested I share the information with others. 


Does the world need another warning about cybersecurity and scams? Yes, especially during a time of crisis.  Unfortunately, some people seek to profit from disasters and turmoil.  Here are some essential tips for online safety. 


Only visit reputable websites like .gov or a brand name .com or .org.  Visit known news outlets or hospital sites.  Some sites are created to collect information about the user or leave malicious programs on your computer or mobile device. 


Buy from reputable sites.  Consider the refund and customer satisfaction policies of the e-commerce site.  If you can, use a credit card that provides purchase protection.  If you don’t have a credit card, then use a debit card tied to an account with just enough funds to cover your purchases.  Ensure the debit card does not accept requests above the amount in the account.   


Although we in the United States live in a capitalistic economy, and scarcity does drive price, be suspicious when prices are outside the norm for the products you want.  Is the price too high or too inexpensive?  Although some price increase may be warranted, we frown upon price gouging.  Pricing that is too low may hint at an inferior or knockoff product. The adage goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”


Be suspicious of new products and remedies.  Criminals prey on fear.  The United States has the benefit of controlled testing procedures, whether through the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Drug Administration, or other agencies.  Don’t fall prey to fake charities and donation requests. Do your research.


Be careful about the amount of information you share on social media platforms. The terms of the usage are found online or before installation, which you must accept before installation. Sadly, application providers count on the fact that most users never read the end-user license agreement. The cost of free computer and mobile applications is usually your privacy.


Finally, be cautious of any website that promises to do something free, for a price.  Be careful of promises to move you to the front of the line.  The CARE Act Small Business Relief was recently signed by the President.  Watch for scams that promise a guarantee of loan approval.  These are usually scams. 


Information security is a broad topic. There are many more things we can do to protect ourselves against cyber threats, but these tips are focused on the type of risks that arise in times of significant uncertainty.  It is stressful to navigate this virus.  Don’t let concerns turn to panic because panic blurs judgment.  Review the tips above.  Slow down before you click on a link.  Ask a professional.  Stay safe.

Clifford Clarke to Deliver APCO Tuesday Keynote

Clifford Clarke, in his role as CIO for Public Technology Institute, will deliver the January 26, 2010 keynote at the Association of Public Safety Communications Officers (APCO) winter conference.
The APCO conference is an excellent place for Public Safety Communications professionals to see the latest tools and share best practices, but how do departments choose their next technology.  Clarke will deliver his message "Governance and Management of Technology: Evaluating the Next Technology" to avoid chasing technology.

Wash Your FaceBook, Strengthen Your Linked In, and Ensure Your Tweets Repeat

Security on Today’s Social Networks

With rapid utilization of social networks to stay connected with family, friends, and business associates; find employment, and remain atop of your professional development many have plunged right in with some unfortunate consequences.

Join other business professionals for this informative non-technical presentation that is sure to have benefits for both those employed and seeking new opportunities.  Learn how the latest legal ruling could affect you and what you post. We will review the do’s and the don’ts of social media, October 7, 2009, 6:00 PM, graciously hosted by Aptera, 201 W. Main Street, Fort Wayne, IN

You should attend if you are a business leaders or professionals that use social media like Linked In, FaceBook, and YouTube as part of their marketing strategy.  Click here for more information.



Leveraging Social Networking
while Protecting Your Assets

Social Networking, Security, and Corporate Systems
When to hit the Panic Button?!

With rapidly increased utilization of social networks employers and business leaders are wondering how to proceed.  Should we open FaceBook in our network? Can I manage what is being said about my company?  Is there a legitimate business use of social networking that I can leverage?  Should my company be concerned about recent legal rulings?  This presentation will assist business owners and leaders in navigating these questions, share best practices, and develop policies for their organization.

Join other business owners and leaders for this informational non-technical presentation, October 7, 2009, 7:30 AM, at the TQM Network Leadership Learning Center, 825 Barr Street, Fort Wayne, IN.

You should attend if you are a small or medium business owners or leaders who wants to understand the risks and rewards of social media like Linked In, FaceBook, and YouTube and how it may affect their organization. Click here for more information.

Note: C2 IT is a periodic email communication for business leaders of emerging businesses about current Information Technology topics.  It is written in an easy to understand manner without technical jargon, so non-technical senior business leaders can use the information to make critical business decisions.  We will not fill your in box with lots of sales material.

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