Beware of Tech Support Scams

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You might be aware of technical support scams already having taken place around the nation. Our nation is not the only one vulnerable to these types of crimes. Unfortunately, these matters don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

It’s over before you know it. You receive a call from an unknown telephone number, stating the caller is from Microsoft or Apple or any other major technology company, stating your computer is infected and access is needed by the individual to fix your computer. This type of scam occurs more often than we’d like; in fact, almost daily.

So how do you know the technical support caller is authentic? Simple answer: they aren’t. How so? We’ve spoken with the major companies such as Microsoft and Apple, who both told us they’d never contact anyone unsolicited, alerting of intrusions to computers. Why is that? Because the technology to monitor every single computer by these companies is not real. Not only that, but these companies have so many assignments, they wouldn’t have time to go “snooping” through every single computer without the owner’s consent. Not only that, but it would be highly illegal and an invasion of privacy.

What is the best way to deal with these types of calls? Do not budge and do not allow entry to your computer. Simply reporting the telephone number, caller’s name (if given) and the caller’s intentions to the Federal Trade Commission is the best solution as of now. Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission has stated that these technical support scam callers will continue to call once they’ve made contact with you. Simply block the number on your device and hope they aren’t smart enough to find another number of yours.

Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-FTC-HELP

Man Receives Lawsuit From Suspected Predator

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI. – A young man, who spends most of his free time exposing online predators, who was linked to the arrests of several child predators is being sued by one of the men he caught on camera.

Zach Sweers, aka “Anxiety War”, posted a video stating a lawsuit has been brought about from one of the suspects he notified police about in early 2016. The suspect states that Sweers used his YouTube channel to make defaming statements, ruining his reputation and that money had been earned by Sweers for posting the video. Sweers stated in a self-created video that no money has been received for making his videos and that all donations had been refused.

“I’m being sued” Sweers said. “I really need an attorney, but these costs are large and I really need help with this financially”, he continued. Sweers has opened up a GoFundMe page and has raised over $6,500 as of now.

 

Human Trafficking: Organ Harvesting

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Mortality is absolute, it cannot be bargained with nor eliminated. Every day people are stricken with some type of illness. Everyday 22 people die due to lack of matching donor organs. People have the option to voluntarily become donors upon their death. According to donatelife.net about, “30,000 people received transplants by 8,500 deceased donors and 6,000 living donors.” It is a matter of personal choice. With so many individuals requiring  transplants, a network was created to log in donors and recipients to better serve those in need. In 1984  the Organ Transplant Act was passed. From this birthed, the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network also known as OPTN.  The goal was to provide equal grounds between recipients and transplants. One could say leveling the playing field.  Since this brought it to a national level, organs could be transported in members of a certain location did not need a particular organ for transplantation.

It comes down to supply and demand. We commonly hear about demand for liver and kidneys. In fact, it has become so common that comments of expensive items tend to cost “ an arm and a leg.”  According to the US Department of Health and Health Services  as of May 31, 2016  at 6:10 pm “102,700 people requiring liver donations. Only 77,625 make this active list.” Parameters had to be established in order to ensure the better use for organs. This is to prevent increase of rejections. To offset shortages, there is  tests that are conducted in order to find the correct “match” for recipients. Initial screenings are placed to determine who can be placed on the list. Not everyone makes it to the list and some who do are at the bottom. It is not to say that those involved do their best to ensure everyone has a fair chance but the shortage is the push behind the forced hand. People who either are not high on the list or cannot meet the list succumb to desperation.

Desperation is an emotion that drives a person to do things they would otherwise not do. Whether it is the person in need or family members, it is human to look for alternatives. Some will seek holistic and alternative medicine others will find themselves entering the underground world. The objective is to save themselves and or a loved one at whatever cost.  This increases after a transplant rejection occurs.

The black market has been the underground location to obtain goods which are illegal. However, we are not speaking about stolen electronics or medications. Human trafficking  is usually connected to prostitution and slavery, but it also involves the transportation on human beings for their organs. Living people. This has become a rising problem and open opportunity for traffickers. The National Kidney Foundation states that people in need are added every 14 minutes! Kidneys are a famous organ in the market.

Traffickers will look for prospective victims or illegal donors in many regions, commonly poor areas. Some remote locations people stand in line to sell their kidneys. Other areas require a very delicate scheme for acquisition. Those who harvest organs place monetary value on the acquisition caring not for the victim. Ruses are created in order to lure victims. Promises of a better life is very popular. Better life could be financial stability through employment or attainment of higher education. Individuals who are enticed by these, will go with the criminals voluntarily. Others are purchased from their families or worse kidnapped.  Method of transportation varies on resources and funding. However, those who go with the traffickers forced or not come to the dark reality of things. They become victims and transported like cargo. They are either sold as whole or by organs.

It is not only a problem nationally but a global issue.  Psychology Today published the article “Body Snatchers: Organ Harvesting for Profit.” Dr. Archer, the author,  explains how even children are victimized from the UK boy who’s death was ruled an accident to the “6 year old boy abandoned without his eyes.” Some willing and others against their will. If it is so risky why do people do this voluntarily? Money. People especially in impoverished areas are willing to give up an organ for compensation which will ensure family survival. Remote villages in  third world countries are famous for this. Some recipients will travel to obtain the organ, negotiate price, and have the procedure done. WHO refers to this as “transplant tourism.” The organs go to the highest bidder. There is no testing for matches or health criterion which becomes a problem. Level of sanitized harvesting can lead to complications of the recipient. Some healthcare organizations have been caught, but most are done in less than clean environmental conditions.

This becomes a cyber crime as it involved electronic data transference. Whether it is a bidding war, negotiation via telecommunications, or by transfer of monies to an account either untraceable or located in countries who are non extradition.  Traffickers will prey on  the ones seen as naive, weak, or desperate. The world wide web has managed to open doors of opportunity even for criminals. Traffickers do not have a label on their forehead to identify themselves as one. They are sly like foxes and fast as ferrets.

With summer in session  many will spend it among the social life. We are the CCRA urge to implement safe practices in your home and life in order to avoid becoming a victim. Practice safe activities and do not let yourself be alone with strangers. Always have a person to check in with. When traveling abroad, never make known that you are alone. Online interactions whether they may be of romantic, casual, or platonic nature; never disclose information or allow them to see where you live. Falling into the hands of traffickers will make it hard to be retrieved no matter where in the globe you are. As a victim in captivity, what your purpose is will be unknown until the transaction takes place. If you suspect a person to be a trafficker or have witnessed an abduction, attempt of, or some form of luring, please contact proper authorities. Organ harvest is popular whether at will or through kidnapping, people are just a dollar sign.

By understanding how something works and entering into the mind of those who seek, allows us to veer from tunnel vision. It provides a deeper understanding of how easy they become targets for criminals. How desperation basically funds underground crime and those who are victimized. Here no one wins: not the recipient, not the family, not the “surgeon,” and not the victim. They all lose and as a society: we lose.

 

 

http://www.organdonor.gov/about/data.html

https://donatelife.net/statistics/

http://www.donors1.org/patient/waitinglist/

http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/

https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/Organ-Donation-and-Transplantation-Stats

https://www.usrds.org/2015/view/v2_07.aspx

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201311/body-snatchers-organ-harvesting-profit

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/26/bangladesh-organtrafficking.html

http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/12/06-039370/en/

Sex Trafficking in our Backyards

The Sex Trade is the oldest industry in history. It has involved into the virtual world with technological advancements. Whether its to lure via chats such as Kik, Meetme, MocoSpace, Craigslist, or Backpage; the threat is real. Traffickers are opportunists and will make it a point to secure their product (you) from incriminating the pimps and from seeking aid. Intimidation and brainwashing are the keys to this success.

Every state has their fill of crime. Prostitution is common from the streets or through escort services. Masked with beauty parlors and companion “services” women and children are exploited. Some were victims of opportunity while others were desperate for survival from the harsh streets. A great amount of the prostitutes are victims of trafficking across state borders. There is a network between pimps/ traffickers where their “product” or women & children are transported. You may be sitting there saying,“that only happens in other places not here, not to my family.” The fact is that anyone could fall into Sex Slavery.

First let us explore how this occurs and who are more prone to becoming a victim. Criminals will prey on the weak. They will engage and get to know their prey (you), they will know everything about you, gain your trust which is key. They will appear to be honest and pose as a friend or “lover.” Before you know it, you become an item sold over and over and over again. Some will approach you on the street. Others linger in the internet waiting for new meat to arrive and lure in. What I have found to be common across the board international and domestic, is that the victims who appear to have initial gone willingly are given an offer beyond their wildest dreams. Offer of a better life, the idea that they are “loved,” a friend, and of course glamour. Traffickers have taken advantage of Materialism. Whether it’s a couple days to weeks or months of engaging on the internet, the trafficker will either meet or the victim will travel into harms way unknowingly. Either trust is gained in a manner that appears to be respect or violence forces obedience and submission. The fact is that many times the grass in not greener on the other side.

Forceful coercion is a common denominator is most cases if not all. Runaways, homeless, and naive girls and women fall prey and are kidnapped. In the United States we have the Amber Alert that notifies or sends a Be On The Look Out for missing individuals. Common sense would dictate that those forced into sexual servitude at any level would seek help from authorities. This is where the psychological abuse serves best. Victims will be threatened with violence upon them or their loved ones. They will be convinced no one cares and no one will come to the rescue. Victims will be made to understand that there is no one to fend for them and there is nowhere to go. In other occasions, through “gifts” and “perks” a pseudo relationship is established where the victim believes to be “in love” with their captor. Stockholm syndrome is extremely common in traumatic cases. In the documentary by producer Jane Wells Tricked, a pimp by the name of Robert Money stated “All women want to be with the number one.” This was his explanation on how women are willing to work for him. While on the other side of the tracks, in the Ohio town of Toledo two cousins were forced into prostitution and transferred between state lines by a pimp named Deric “Machiavelli” “Daddy.” They were only about 10 miles from home when they became the unfortunate victims of opportunity; who hitched a ride on their way to get ice cream.

More often than none we have seen sex trafficking glamorized in broad spectrum. In terms of the Sex-Trade, we have the film Pretty Woman which is its Cinderrella-esque storyline with prostitution as the main theme. We have the illusion of sexuality in Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana video. And lastly Big Trouble Little China which focuses on the sexual parlors in the heart of San Francisco China Town as the front for an alternative reality being. In all three, the women are presented as sexually driven and victims of chance or economic situation. According to soroptimist.org, “it is a 32 Billion annual industry… 800,000 annual women and children are trafficked.” The criminals get richer on the backs of defenseless women and girls.

Human Sex Trafficking occurs right outside our doors and inside our homes through cyberspace. Without noticing, that pop up of explicit material could be a minor with the identity masked to avoid law enforcement. It occurs in cyberspace through sites with explicit material. With advanced smartphone technology, ordering escort services or setting up appointments to exchange sexual services for payment in a matter of finger swipes.

For those familiar with the Yahoo chatrooms, it was shut down due to sexual related incidents that occurred in real time but originated online. Following, was the Adult Services section on Craigslist. In both their places, backpage.com has become the online directory and go-to spot for sex-trafficking. I had heard about this site but decided to investigate myself. I found that 90% of the massage lists were not only duplicate businesses ( same number) but the women and girls were more than likely forced. Titles with young, new, girls and innocent struck me as odd as that has nothing to do with a “massage” or at least the ones your average law abiding individual would get.

Trafficking becomes a cyber crime when the luring and selling occurs in the virtual realm. This can include usage of social platforms, chatrooms, forums, or smartphone applications to reach out to both potential victims and customers. Advertising occurs online in forms of escort service websites, pornography platforms, and or directory mass advertisements. Women and girls are sold by the service, hour, night and so on.

backpage.com

http://www.soroptimist.org/trafficking/faq.html

The Isolated World of Human Trafficking

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Hollywood has glamorized human trafficking  in a way that it becomes part of the underlying script  in action movie  such as Taken staring Liam Neelson. We also bear witness to the other forms of human trafficking  in the Hostel films centered in Northern Europe. Television shows of the crime genre covers this in some episodes. We have become immune to the fact that this occurs. Vaccinated into  believing that human trafficking only occurs in areas far from home. The FBI has broken down the forms of human trafficking to four categories:

Domestic Sex Trafficking of Adults: When persons are compelled to engage in commercial sex acts through means of force, fraud, and/or coercion.

▪ Sex Trafficking of International Adults and Children: When foreign nationals, both adult and juveniles, are compelled to engage in commercial sex acts with a nexus to the United States through force, fraud, and/or coercion. (Note: Matters of domestic juvenile sex trafficking are handled by the FBI’s Violent Crimes against Children Section.”

▪ Forced Labor: When persons, domestic or foreign nationals, are compelled to work in some service or industry through force or coercion.

▪ Domestic Servitude: When persons, domestic or foreign nationals, are compelled to engage in domestic work for families or households, through means of force or coercion.” (fbi.gov)

Human trafficking can occur in real time in the physical world and in the virtual world. In many cases, the victims are promised employment or opportunities to obtain education. Other times, families will sell their children in order to make ends meet. The worst case involves crime of opportunity which is where a person whether adults or children who have been kidnapped and sold off.

On April 4 2012 the UN published that about 2.4 M were victims of human trafficking. USA Trafficking Reports of  2002  stated that,”approximately 18-20K are trafficked.” In hopes to spread awareness a national awareness month has been created in the US. This year, May 14, 2016  is the day to educate the public and serve as a day of observance for the nation .Many will join and spread awareness through walks and fundraisers.

Cyberspace is here, there, anywhere, and nowhere. Human trafficking has extended to the internet;through escort services and usage of pornography sites. On the latter, some media  is disseminated where there is no method of tracking and spreads life wildfire. The internet is a place where initial luring occurs. There are methods to avoid such by practicing safe internet browsing.

There are many tell-tale signs that predators wish to entice a person, lure them. Many will use chatroom or dating sights, others choose forums. To avoid this, it is advised to tread with much caution. Never disclose personal information with anyone unless you know them. This includes family information, address, place of employment, and other identifiers that could facilitate a predator to locate you and your whereabouts. If you decide to meet make sure that you have chosen a place that is well light and in public. Have some friends in the vicinity in case their assistance is needed.

If they become way too friendly or push the idea to be alone, tread with caution. Lack of disclosing their true name and “story” shifting are other flags. Avoidance of law enforcement in the street and slight controls are also warning signs. Lastly, if you feel  something is “off” the best thing is to listen to your gut feeling.  If they become very aggressive hold your ground and call for help. At that point do not allow yourself to be alone with this person. Excuse yourself and or call for aid. Remember it can begin in cyber space and end in a bad situation. Where victims end up depends on the group of predators. Never come off as weak or easily manipulative. Maintain a strong will and be cautious.

For parents, always be aware of who your children are speaking with. Establish neutral grounds for  open communication. Do some research together and discuss methods to protect themselves. Children and Adults go missing every minute, only a handful are recovered. Embed  safeguards in your families cyber behavior to avoid becoming a victim. Learn to observe and watch for tell-tale signs of this occurring. If you suspect someone is involved in trafficking contact resources.

The CCRA strives to assist communities with cyber related crimes. Human trafficking has become a large problem and it devastates communities alike. In hopes to open lines of communication and talks regarding the subject. We are here to assist  in any way we can.  Modules have been created in depth to cover most aspects  of this heinous crime and how to better protect your family and home.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center : 1888 373 7888

SMS 233733  Text “INFO” or  “HELP”

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking

http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates/893

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/28225.pdf

http://www.humantrafficking.org/countries/united_states_of_america

http://redwoodcity.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/7638/2569 

Predators behind the Cyber Curtains

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With simple clicks, we are able to navigate from one area to the other side of the globe. Technology has improved the deliverance of communication. Mankind depends on constant interaction. The world wide web has allowed us to limit travel in order to be interactive. Many frequent chatrooms, and forums to fulfill the need to interact. Nowadays, more and more people are accessing sites and interacting with strangers. Whether the intentions are honest or malicious, the areas are grey. We truly cannot verify who is the person behind the webcam or dialogue box. All we see is what they wish to disclose. What can start off as a simple conversation can have two (2) alternative endings: an innocent chat or becoming the next victim to the statistics.

“OVER 75% internet crimes involve sexual solicitation of children go unreported”-MCGRUFF SAFE GUARD

The time clock starts when the we enter the chatroom and forums. In a matter of seconds one or multiple dialogue boxes will pop. At times greetings will occur within the chat. Conversations can last from minutes to weeks. Information is exchanged and sometimes we exchange too much. The person behind the screen may appear to be interested. Their photos may be attractive or appealing to our eyes. The information that serves as identifiers may appear to be legit as the person may come off as sincere. But are they? One thing to keep in mind is that predators are opportunists, they will say everything they think will create trust. Where trust exists, confiding lingers.

Before providing personal information to strangers, consider the following:
How well do I know the person?
What are the chances that this person may be a predator?
Have they been eager for new photos and more personal information?
Have they requested to meet within hours of conversation?
Have they asked me to keep a secret or not tell anyone about the conversations? online user? Or not tell my friends or parents?
Have they requested for remote access or IP address?

One should immediately rethink providing information if they fit this criterion. Charisma is widely used to gain information that will later be used for dishonest and even heinous activities. If you engage conversation with a person, and they wish to make their presence secret tread with caution. Requesting to meet in secret is also very dangerous. Think twice before providing personal information.

According to McGruff Safe Guard:
86% chat w/o parental consent
50% teens communicate with strangers
30% teen girls are sexually solicited.
64% do things they don’t want their parents to know
1:33 teens received aggressive solicitations. They requested either to meet, exchange addresses, or talked over the phone.
75% were not troubled by the solicitation.

http://www.gomcgruff.com/m/articles_facts.asp
http://www.internetsafety101.org/predatorstatistics.htm#_ftnref

Security Alert: QuickTime for Windows

According to Trend Micro, Apple will no longer be providing security updates for QuickTime for Windows, leaving this software vulnerable to exploitation.

Description

All software products have a lifecycle. Apple will no longer be providing security updates for QuickTime for Windows.

The Zero Day Initiative has issued advisories for two vulnerabilities found in QuickTime for Windows.

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to elevated cybersecurity dangers, such as increased risks of malicious attacks or electronic data loss. Exploitation of QuickTime for Windows vulnerabilities could allow remote attackers to take control of affected systems.

Solution

Computers running QuickTime for Windows will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risks from viruses and other security threats. Potential negative consequences include loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data, as well as damage to system resources or business assets. The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows. Users can find instructions for uninstalling QuickTime for Windows on the Apple Uninstall QuickTime.

References

Trend Micro – Urgent Call to Action: Uninstall QuickTime for Windows Today

Zero Day Initiative Advisory ZDI 16-241: (0Day) Apple QuickTime moov Atom Heap Corruption Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilit

Zero Day Initiative Advisory ZDI 16-242: (0Day) Apple QuickTime Atom Processing Heap Corruption Remote Code Execution Vulner

Apple – Uninstall QuickTime 7 for Windows