Police Chief's Corner - Newsletter September 2019

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Potential Hurricane Dorian Scams

Anytime, but especially during a time of disaster, beware of the scam. Scammers and Malware campaigns will try to take advantage of your sympathy and empathy following a disaster. The Bunnell Police Department warns users to remain vigilant for malicious cyber activity targeting Hurricane Dorian disaster victims and potential donors. Fraudulent emails commonly appear after major natural disasters and often contain links or attachments that direct users to malicious websites. Users should exercise caution in handling any email with a hurricane-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink. In addition, users should be wary of social media pleas, texts, or door-to-door solicitations relating to severe weather events.

Below are some links to information to be aware of to avoid becoming victims of malicious activity

Staying Alert to Disaster-related Scams

Before Giving to a Charity

Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites

Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks

Rail Safety Week

Rail safety week logo

Every year 2,100 North Americans are killed, or seriously injured, because of unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. Operation Lifesaver – which operates in the U.S. and Canada – works to prevent these incidents.

"Our goal is to get to zero incidents – zero fatalities and zero injuries. The driving force for this organization is saving lives," says Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Executive Director Rachel Maleh.

"Our 2019 Rail Safety Week efforts will be led by our State Coordinators across the U.S., with daily events to highlight crossing safety and rail trespass prevention in high-incident areas," Maleh says. "We’re coordinating with Operation Lifesaver Canada to make sure we reach as many North Americans as possible through grassroots events, social media, news media outreach and paid marketing efforts. With the help of our state programs and safety partners, these lifesaving messages will reach millions of people."

Another focal point of the Rail Safety Week observance is a unique effort known as Operation Clear Track. Led by Amtrak® Police, Operation Clear Track is the largest single railroad safety law enforcement operation in the United States. It involves more than 500 police and sheriff’s departments across the lower 48 states. Operation Clear Track will expand into Canada this year.

During Operation Clear Track, police visit hundreds of railroad crossings at high incident locations. Once, the law enforcement officials enforce grade crossing and trespassing laws. They write citations and issue warnings to violators. They also distribute cards with railroad safety tips to the public.

Bunnell Police will participate in this importanat safety event ti help raise awareness of rail tragedies.

Keeping Children Safe Online

teenagers with cellphones

What unique risks are associated with children?

When a child is using your computer, normal safeguards and security practices may not be sufficient. Children present additional challenges because of their natural characteristics: innocence, curiosity, desire for independence, and fear of punishment. You need to consider these characteristics when determining how to protect your data and the child.

You may think that because the child is only playing a game, or researching a term paper, or typing a homework assignment, he or she can't cause any harm. But what if, when saving her paper, the child deletes a necessary program file? Or what if she unintentionally visits a malicious web page that infects your computer with a virus? These are just two possible scenarios. Mistakes happen, but the child may not realize what she's done or may not tell you what happened because she's afraid of getting punished.

Online predators present another significant threat, particularly to children. Because the nature of the internet is so anonymous, it is easy for people to misrepresent themselves and manipulate or trick other users (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for some examples). Adults often fall victim to these ploys, and children, who are usually much more open and trusting, are even easier targets. Another growing problem is cyberbullying. These threats are even greater if a child has access to email or instant messaging programs, visits chat rooms, and/or uses social networking sites.

What can you do?

Be involved - Consider activities you can work on together, whether it be playing a game, researching a topic you had been talking about (e.g., family vacation spots, a particular hobby, a historical figure), or putting together a family newsletter. This will allow you to supervise your child's online activities while teaching her good computer habits.

Keep your computer in an open area - If your computer is in a high-traffic area, you will be able to easily monitor the computer activity. Not only does this accessibility deter a child from doing something she knows she's not allowed to do, it also gives you the opportunity to intervene if you notice a behavior that could have negative consequences.

Set rules and warn about dangers - Make sure your child knows the boundaries of what she is allowed to do on the computer. These boundaries should be appropriate for the child's age, knowledge, and maturity, but they may include rules about how long she is allowed to be on the computer, what sites she is allowed to visit, what software programs she can use, and what tasks or activities she is allowed to do.

You should also talk to children about the dangers of the internet so that they recognize suspicious behavior or activity. Discuss the risks of sharing certain types of information (e.g., that they're home alone) and the benefits to only communicating and sharing information with people they know (see Using Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms Safely, Staying Safe on Social Network Sites, and the document Socializing Securely: Using Social Networking Services for more information). The goal isn't to scare them, it's to make them more aware. Make sure to include the topic of cyberbullying in these discussions (see Dealing with Cyberbullies for more information).

Monitor computer activity - Be aware of what your child is doing on the computer, including which websites she is visiting. If she is using email, instant messaging, or chat rooms, try to get a sense of who she is corresponding with and whether she actually knows them.

Keep lines of communication open - Let your child know that she can approach you with any questions or concerns about behaviors or problems she may have encountered on the computer.

Consider partitioning your computer into separate accounts - Most operating systems give you the option of creating a different user account for each user. If you're worried that your child may accidentally access, modify, and/or delete your files, you can give her a separate account and decrease the amount of access and number of privileges she has.

If you don't have separate accounts, you need to be especially careful about your security settings. In addition to limiting functionality within your browser (see Evaluating Your Web Browser's Security Settings for more information), avoid letting your browser remember passwords and other personal information (see Browsing Safely: Understanding Active Content and Cookies). Also, it is always important to keep your virus definitions up to date (see Understanding Anti-Virus Software).

Consider implementing parental controls - You may be able to set some parental controls within your browser. For example, Internet Explorer allows you to restrict or allow certain websites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. To find those options, click Tools on your menu bar, select Internet Options, choose the Content tab, and click the Enable... button under Content Advisor.

There are other resources you can use to control and/or monitor your child's online activity. Some ISPs offer services designed to protect children online. Contact your ISP to see if any of these services are available. There are also special software programs you can install on your computer. Different programs offer different features and capabilities, so you can find one that best suits your needs.

Additional Information

The following resources offer additional information about protecting children online:

Talking with Kids About Being Online:




Stop. Think. Connect.:


Concerned Parent’s Internet Safety Toolbox:


Source: US Computer Emergency Readiness Team