CCRA partners with Stand for the Silent

CCRA and Stand for the Silent held a partnership meeting last Thursday, to discuss how the two organizations could assist each other for October’s Cyber Bullying Awareness Month. Both organizations agreed that this partnership was an exciting movement for each other.

CCRA administration stated that the main reason for their respect in this partnership was due to additional resources now available. “We now have a place to refer victims to, where they can talk about their issues, such as bullying and depression” said Stephen Bernardoni, Vice Executive. “Mr. Smalley was also happy that his organization now has resources for those who need assistance with finding hidden suspects involved in their situation.”

As the partnership progresses, both organizations will promote one another in October and attempt to spread awareness about one another’s services and abilities.


Predator threatens minor, wants money


A recent report from an underage boy who was lured into participating in a graphic video chat online, then extorted by the stranger who recorded it on her own computer, highlights dangers that can befall unsupervised children with internet access, according to local law enforcement.

The boy, whose name and age are not publicly available because he is younger than 18, contacted the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office last week after the female predator told him she would post the video of him online if he didn’t send her money, according to a report.

The boy said the woman convinced him to participate in the graphic video chat by threatening to physically hurt his family, a threat she made more real by telling the boy she could find them using location information he had posted online. He said the woman who appeared in the video chat looked nothing like the person in the profile picture.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Megan Terlecky said the boy was courageous for finally coming forward, but that law enforcement views the situation as a cautionary tale of what not to do.

“This is what we tell kids not to do when it comes to the internet,” Terlecky said. “Don’t talk to anybody you don’t know on the internet.”

Internet users should be leery of profiles that have just been created and don’t have much of a history, Terlecky said.

In the recent Mesa County instance, the predator contacted the boy using a Facebook account under the name “Samira Dupon,” and appeared to have been created the same day she contacted the boy.

“Those are more than likely just created, just to be scams,” Terlecky said.

But no matter who users are talking to, Terlecky said the idea that internet or cellphone activity will remain private should go out the window.

“There is no such thing as privacy on the internet,” she said. “It’s really important to be aware that whatever you do put out there is going to be out there forever.”

Those who do fall victim to internet predators and extortionists should fight through their embarrassment and come forward, Terlecky said, like the boy in the recent case.

“They are counting on you not to speak up and not to step forward because you’re embarrassed,” she said. “But still, even if you made a mistake by sending a photo or by engaging in a video … you still have the right to not be a victim.”

Victims shouldn’t let their feelings stop them from reporting extortion to law enforcement, she said.

“We’re not going to judge you,” Terlecky said. “We’re here to help you.”

Nobody has been arrested in the recent Mesa County case. The deputy who responded told the boy and his parents he would “most likely not be able to locate the suspect.”

However, Terlecky said she would urge anyone who has been victimized or extorted online to come forward and speak to law enforcement by either coming to the Sheriff’s Office at 215 Rice St. or calling the department at 970-244-3500.

Parents need to talk with their children about what they’re doing online, she said. They should be aware that their children might be embarrassed or afraid of having their device taken away.

“Kids are smart. Kids are sneaky. But you really need to have that open line of communication,” Terlecky said.

Warning signs for kids being taken advantage of or even bullied online can include general emotional withdrawal, she said.

Parents should check their children’s internet use history if they suspect something is amiss

Information via Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

The Importance of Your Child’s Phone


Whatever, mom!

Let’s face it. Cell phones won’t become less popular for teenagers any time soon. Why? Because of communication and entertainment at the touch of a button! Every year, parents purchase cellular devices for their children at an even younger age than the year before. Have you ever seen a 13 year old with a cell phone? So have we.

With the communication and entertainment so readily available, it’s easy for teenagers to fall victim to scams, online predators and even online bullying. What are the chances of you seeing the events unfold? Slim to none. Teenagers today like to think of themselves as a generation that can protect themselves without the help of mom or dad. Are teenagers capable of defending themselves? Of course! But when it comes to situations regarding online predators and scams particularly, they might need that “extra hand”.

I care very much for my child; they always believe I’m spying.

As a parent, you care for the protection and reputation of your child. We’ve all seen in TV shows or movies, where teenagers are so scared and defensive to allow their parents access to their phones. It doesn’t always mean they don’t trust their parents; it’s more of a “privacy” concern of theirs. Although it’s tough to convince your child that “mother knows best”, it’s always best to explain to them why you desire to monitor them; reason being, because you care and want to prevent issues before they become a tragedy.

I normally read my child’s text messages while they sleep.

Sneaking around your child and adding spy devices won’t make the situation any better. If your child finds out you’ve installed such software, expect the rage and fight. GPS tracking is of course something you should consider discussing with your child. Explain to them that it’s nothing to do with invading their privacy and that you’d like to know where they are, should they go missing. Explain to them that many children go missing, who wish they’d have that GPS locator on them.

I’m the parent and my child will do as I say, regardless of what they want!

You have to understand that even though they are yours and shall do what you ask, forcing such things as spy devices, snooping their phone while they sleep and secretly installing GPS will only make them hide the truth. Your ultimate goal is to establish a safety relationship with your child. Talk with your child about how important safety is, the large number of predators at large and the consequences of hiding such things. If you see a news broadcast related to kidnappings, missing children, online bullying resulting in suicide and anything else that could be related back to a phone, ask them to sit with you and watch the program without their phone.

I’ve already tried speaking with them about trusting me with their phone. They end up hiding everything from me.

If you’ve caught your child hiding a safety issue, you of course have the authority to disconnect that phone from them. A lot of parents threaten to cut off services, but leave them with the phone. That does not always solve or prevent the issues. With WIFI being readily available in almost every coffee shop, mall, business, park and home, there’s always the possibility of them connecting and returning to where they left off. If safety concerns have been an issue in the past or currently are, take their phone away until they understand the consequences of hiding safety issues. Make sure of course you have a direct number to their friend, the parents of that friend and the local police department. Have them check in with you every hour or two and if they don’t make contact yourself.

With all of the crazies out there, you can’t take the chance and neither can your child. If they don’t understand the full risks, it might not be time for that cell phone privilege.

Tips to Avoid Telemarketing Fraud

It’s almost impossible to get your money back if you fallen for a telemarketing scam. Before buying anything, remember:

  • Don’t buy from unfamiliar companies. True companies understand you want more information about them before making a purchase.
  • Always request and wait for written information about offers. If you receive information about investments, ask an expert, but beware-not everything written is real.
  • Always research unknown businesses with your local Better Business Bureau. Not all bad businesses can be identified however through groups such as the BBB.
  • Take note of the sales persons information, such as name, business name, phone number, address and business license number. Take time to verify this information before starting a business transaction.
  • Before you send money to a charity, find out how much of it goes towards commissions and what percentage actually goes to the investment.
  • Do not pay in advance for services; only pay after the services are delivered.
  • Do not trust companies who wish to send a messenger to your address to collect money. This is just a way for the scammers to collect revenue from you without leaving a trace.
  • Always take time and making a decision. If the business rushes you, chances are they have something to hide that you might not be fully aware of.
  • Don’t send money for a “free prize”. If the caller says the payment is for taxes, they are violating federal law.
  • Never send money or give personal banking information. This includes banking account and routing numbers. Also, avoid giving out Social Security numbers and dates of birth.
  • Know that the information you share with a telemarketer is shared with other telemarketing companies. You should expect to receive increased contact regarding offers.
  • If you have information about fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law-enforcement.

How Protected Is Your PC?


Almost every computer today has protection, whether it’d be a firewall, anti-virus software or a self created program. It’d be silly to argue that a computer without protection is not an issue at all, especially with the rising level of threats towards technology and the high number of reported viruses.

Think of it this way: Your home has a form of protection. You already have a lock on the front door, but still, you either have a firearm, alarm system, an occupant who knows martial arts, or even a knife in the kitchen, so why take a risk with your computer? A computer without protection is an open invite to attacks, just as much as sleeping with your front door unlocked. It’s too bad we can’t do that anymore.

There are many options computer users have, many companies to choose from, ranging from the famous Norton, to Nod32, all the way to McAfee. Take time to research the options you have. Some users might find one program works better than another, which is normally the case.

But my computer already comes with Microsoft Security Essentials.

This is true for most Windows PCs. They automatically come with self-protection, such as MSE, however, those programs are not monitored and updated as frequently as a program, such as Norton. Microsoft does release updates, however, they are a corporation that deals with more than just protection, where Norton or McAfee solely focuses on protection and releases security updates, almost daily. All teams of dedicated security specialists are able to research and receive reports of new attacks and vulnerabilities.

I have Malwarebytes, which scans for viruses and threats.

Malwarebytes is a great program to use for the searching and removal of threats, however, if you’re only using the free version as most are, you aren’t receiving live monitoring, like Norton or McAfee provides, meaning you only see threats when you scan for them. Once you scan for a threat and identify one, it may be too late, as your computer might already be infected in several spots, which removal isn’t always the solution. Some viruses can literally attack files, to the point where they are no longer useful. Now you’re stuck with a computer that needs a factory reset and are at risk of losing important files.

I don’t feel I’m currently a risk. I have no enemies and I don’t download from bad sites.

It’s always important to avoid downloading movies from “free” sites, downloading “free” adult content and torrents, however, just because you don’t download these types of files, doesn’t mean you aren’t vulnerable for attack. Many computers are attacked daily, just because someone sent an email, not realizing their computer was infected and that file they sent, just happened to have the virus. Always have protection and always make sure it’s capable of scanning inbound emails.

With all of the information provided today, we hope this brings awareness to the importance of computer protection. Ensure your software is up-to-date, is a decent program and is not a free anti-virus software. Never take the risk. The one time you do, could be the last time your computer operates in normal mode.


Hazards of Sharing Sexual Images


We’ve all heard the stories, whether it came from a friend in school or maybe even a work colleague. Someone did it again – they shared a sexual image with someone who they had an attraction with. Seems like a harmless act, that many people would do to someone they like. Wrong! That image just ended up on a revenge pornography site and on multiple cell phones, as a text message.

Now it seems as if the pictured person’s life is ending, minute by minute. With many text messages being sent to the pictured party, their stress level has just shot up, like a cannon ball launching in a battle. What all can this person do to stop it? The answer is simple – not much.

Believe it or not, many cruel individuals create websites, devoted strictly to ruining the reputations of others; even those who the website owners don’t personally know. Take for instance the website You Got Posted, which was created by Kevin Bollaert. Luckily, law enforcement and lawyers were able to obtain enough evidence and place him as the main suspect in the website creation, resulting in his arrest. The website has been shut down since the arrest, however many servers still hold data that was once on the live webpage.

Although many individuals feel great about sending private photos of themselves to people who they are attracted to, this act normally always comes with a negative consequence: photo sharing. Do you think the person you sent this image to is most likely going to keep it for themselves? Absolutely not. In many surveys, individuals admitted to sending sexual images they received to their friends and colleagues. To make matters worse, those parties who received the images also sent them to additional friends and co-workers. Now that one image sent has turned into 30 copies!

What’s the best way to prevent private images from being distributed? Simple; by not sending them at all! What’s the best way to maintain  a positive reputation? Simple; by not sending private images. Many people feel their friends and lovers can be trusted, however, we can’t see into the minds of others, so we have no idea what their next move is, in fact, most who sent their images to others, didn’t even expect their photos to end up distributed. They were left with not only a helpless feeling, but a feeling of betrayal.

The Cyber Crime Response Agency recommends that no image should be taken, which is considered provocative, sexual in nature or unprofessional. Sure, you might not be sending it out to many folks, or any at all, but that doesn’t mean your device cannot be hacked, resulting in the hacker obtaining those images! The best practice regarding images is to not take any photos you wouldn’t want your family to see. Think before you send! Once you send something, you can never take it back!