Town of Nahant

 

Internet and Email Safety Tips For Parents and Children

The Internet and the invention of the personal computer are perhaps the most significant creations of the 20th Century, offering unprecedented communication tools that link families and friends around the world. It provides users access to an incredible volume of information and is an invaluable tool of the academic and business world.

The Internet can also be a seedy and dangerous place for people of all ages, especially children and teens.

“Internet users enjoy anonymity and that is something that predators crave, a child doesn't always know with whom he or she is interacting and that is why it can be so dangerous. Unless its a school friend or a relative, they really cant be sure.”

Considering that 25 percent of kinds online participate in real time chat and 13 million use instant messaging (IM), the risks of such children interacting, either knowingly or unknowingly, with a predator is alarming.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 89 percent of sexual solicitations were made in either chat rooms or instant messages, and 1 in 5 youth (ages 10-17 years) has been sexually solicited online.

“It’s easy to think of pedophiles as loitering in playgrounds and other places where children play, but because of the way the Internet works, children can easily be interacting on their home computers with predators posing as children.”

The Police Chiefs of Massachusetts wish to offer these safety tips to parents and children and urges parents to report any suspicious activities:

Tips for Children and Teens:
-Never give out personal information (such as name, age, address, phone number, school, town, password, schedule, your picture) or fill out questionnaires or any forms online. This includes chat rooms, instant messages, email, surfing the Net and event entering contests or registering for clubs online.
-Never meet in person with anyone you have met online without Mom and/or Dad’s presence
-Do not enter a chat room without Mom and/or Dad’s presence or supervision. Some “kids” you meet in chat rooms may not really be kids; they may be adults with bad intentions. Remember people may not be who they say they are.
-Be suspicious of anyone who tries to turn you against your parents, teachers or friends.
-Don’t give out your password to anyone except your parents – not even to your friends.
-Follow your family’s rules for online safety at home, at school, at the library or at a friend or relative’s house.
-Do not engage in an online conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Log off and tell your parents. If you get such a message, DO NOT respond. Instead, show it to your parents and let them handle it.
-Never respond to or send an e-mail or instant message to a stranger, or accept e-mails, enclosures, links, URLs or other things online from people you don’t know. Talk to your parents first so they can check it out.

Tips for Adults:
-Place your computer in an area of your home where you can easily monitor your child’s Internet activity.
-Teach your children not to give out personal information to anyone they do not know in the physical world.
- Teach them never to give out any personal information while they are in a chat room with friends, because there may also be others in the chat room that they do not know.
-Supervise your child’s chat-room activity and only allow your children in monitored chat rooms.
-Block instant/.personal messages from people you and your child don’t know. (Check to see which IM services have this feature.)
-Set time limits and monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem.
-Regularly ask your kids about their online friends and activities.
-Be present in room so you can monitor the screen and your child’s IM.
-Do not permit your child to have an online provirtual, which serves as a lightening rod for predators. With this restriction, he or she will not be listed in directories and is less likely to be approached in chat rooms where pedophiles often search for prey.
-Be aware that when anyone enters a chat room, their email can end up on a spammer’s list. This means that participating in chat rooms can increase the likelihood that you will begin receiving unsolicited pornographic e-mail.
-Consider investing in protective software. As your Internet service provider or local software retailer for suggestions or visit an Internet search engine and conduct a keyword search for “blocking and filtering software.”

The following websites provide useful information to aid parents in educating themselves and their children in safe Internet practices: www.protectkids.com, www.safekids.com, www.missingkids.com/cybertip, and www.getnetwise.org.

Sincerely,
Robert C. Dwyer
Chief Of Police

Work-at-Home Scam Alert for Mail Assistants: Internet Independent Workers
The latest scam to hit the Internet has just arrived from Nigeria: Jobs for people seeking part-time positions—called “mail assistants”— for work done at home. Vacancies are posted on Craigslist.com under the name of ABS Consulting. Based in the country of Luxembourg, ABS purports to have facilities throughout Europe, referred to as “Forward Luxembourg.” It claims to be a leading global provider of risk-management services.

Job seekers—typically college students looking for summer work—are told they will provide mail forwarding services for expatriates, international travelers, and seasonal workers around the world. They are asked to perform simple tasks:

        Receive mail at home.
        Scan the front of each envelope received.
        E-mail scanned images to the company.
        Ship accumulated mail biweekly, using prepaid UPS or FedEx postage labels provided via e-mail.

After two weeks on the job, assistants get an e-mail promising an $800 paycheck, plus an extra $200 bonus. But to test their “integrity,” they’re told they’ll get a check for $2,800—and must mail a check back to return the extra money.

The $2,800 check may look legitimate but—big surprise—it’s bogus. So instead of getting paid, the college student now has to pay the bank the full amount. Worse, the scammer now has access to the student’s checking account. And the student is committing a criminal violation by scanning victims’ mail.

The Postal Inspection Service is working to quickly shut down this scheme by attacking the problem from several angles. If you have information on this or similar scams report it online at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ or call 1-877-876-2455, option 3.

Email Spoofing: (Posted February 2009)

            The residents of Nahant should be aware of an increase in attempts to gain access to their personal identity information and or financial institutional account information.  These attempts are being perpetrated using the internet and email systems.  This type of scam is not new, but is becoming more frequent due to the affordability of computers and their additions into more households.
            The terms applied to these scams are “Email Spoofing” or “IP Spoofing” where a pirated, copied, or forged email header logo is attached to an email, so that the message appears to have originated from popular commercial related web sites such as Visa, Master Card, Discover Card, eBay, America Online, and PayPal - cited as only a few examples.
            The potential victims are advised that it is possible their account information has been compromised, or that several attempts have been made by off shore internet addressed to access the victim’s accounts.
            The recipient will then be directed to click on an enclosed link located within the email. 
            If this link is accessed the potential victim of fraud will be transported to a web site in order to ‘update’ their account information for “security reasons”.  These sites will look exactly like the legitimate web sites they profess to be.
            Once a victim enters his / her user account or personal information into one of these ‘spoofed’ sites, the information is quickly used to open fraudulent credit card or bank accounts to commit fraud by identity theft or to drain money from the accounts.
            In the case of on-line auctions, accounts may be hijacked and passwords changed.  The fraudulent user can then offer for sale high end items such as electronic or computer equipment. Unsuspecting buyers bidding on the items will make the payments, but never receive the equipment, opening up the legitimate owner of the auction account to face the initial fraud related charges.
            Most victim’s of this scam do not know that they are victim’s until much later, after receiving a credit card bill having never opened an account, or after receiving their bank statement listing charges the victim did not make.
            In recent days several Nahant residents have reported to the Nahant Police Department that they received these ‘spoofed’ emails.
            Here are two example of these emails:
 (1)
“Dear U.S. Bank account holder,
We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your U.S. Bank Internet Banking account may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party. Protecting the security of your account and of the U.S. Bank network is our primary concern. Therefore, as a preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to sensitive account features.
 
To restore your account access, please take the following steps to ensure that your account has not been compromised:
 
1. Login to your U.S. Bank Internet Banking account. In case you are not enrolled for Internet Banking, you will have to use your Social Security Number as both your Personal ID and Password.
 
2. Review your recent account history for any unauthorized withdrawals or deposits, and check your account provirtual to make sure not changes have been made. If any unauthorized activity has taken place on your account, report this to U.S. Bank staff immediately.
 
To get started, please click the link below:
    (Link Removed)
 
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciate your assistance in helping us maintain the integrity of the entire U.S. Bank system. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,
The U.S. Bank Team
 
Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered. For assistance, log in to your U.S. Bank account and choose the "Help" link in the header of any page.”
 
 (2)
  “Recently there have been a large number of identity theft attempts targeting Citibank customers.  In order to safeguard your account, we require that you update your Citibank ATM/Debit card PIN.
 
This update is requested of you as a precautionary measure against fraud.  Please not that we have no particular indications that your details have been compromised in any way.
 
This process is mandatory, and if not completed within the nearest time your account may be subjected to temporary suspension.
 
Please make sure you have your Citibank ATM/Debit card and recent statement at hand.
To securely update your Citibank ATM/Debit card PIN please go to:
    (Link Removed)
 
Please note that this update applies to your Citibank ATM/Debit card - which is linked directly to your checking account, not Citibank credit cards.
 
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and thank you for using Citibank!
 
Regards,
Head of Citi Identity Theft Solutions
 
Do not reply to this email as it is an unmonitored alias.”
 
            Notice that some of the wording in the emails is slightly off.  Some of these scams have originated in countries outside of the United States.
            In most cases anyone receiving an email like this will ignore the message and delete the email.  Please be very careful about answering emails.  Never provide personal information or personal account information to anyone unless you initiated the correspondence or transaction.

 
 
     
   

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