A New Year

Happy 2020 to all! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  I certainly did, but I admit, I do enjoy the socially slower pace that comes with January and February.  
I hope that these consumer fraud and scam newsletters are helpful for you.  You are welcome to share the information or forward the newsletter to your friends and family.  If there are topics that you would like us to include, please feel free to click on the hyperlink and email your suggestions or questions to: Director of Community Engagement.
I have to admit, I am still adjusting to writing 2020 on all my documents.  It turns out that writing out the entire year is an important safety tip.  Typically, I have always “abbreviated” the year as: 1/15/20.  However, those missing digits leave room for tampering.  An ill-intentioned person could easily post or predate a check or a document by simply adding two numbers. A document dated 1/15/20 could be easily changed to 1/15/2022.  As we try to remember what year it actually is, take the opportunity to train yourself to write out the entire year.

Smart TVs- How Smart is Too Smart? 

My boyfriend asked me why I spoke so softly around the house.  I said I was afraid Mark Zukerberg was listening.  He Laughed.I Laughed.Siri Laughed.

As wonderful as it is to watch your favorite shows on a Smart TV, that Smart TV is also watching you.  The FBI has addressed the question many people have asked: Can hackers get in to Smart TVs?  The simple answer is YES.   
In order for your Smart TV to be, well, smart, it needs to learn your viewing habits which is sent to programming services (like YouTube and Netflix).  That information allows the programmers to push relevant program choices to you. And, as with any internet-connected device, if it’s connected, (Smart TVs are), it’s hack-able.  
Hackers probably don’t care about what your are watching, but they do like to get every piece of information about you in any way they can.  Remember, not only are Smart TVs connected to your internet, many have microphones and cameras.  A trifecta for hackers! Hackers can watch you, hear you and if they are good enough, they can get to your other internet-connected devices. Think about it, if programming services can collect your viewing habits, which they do, hackers can collect information as well.  If your TV is unsecured, a hacker has the ability to take control and possibly do real damage. 

“Hey Alexa, Siri – Are You Spying on Me?” “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Would you like to know today’s weather?”

Consumers are always looking for convenience.  When Alexa and similar speakers hit the shelves, the consumer market was all a twitter with these new toys. Now people are beginning to wonder just how often and how much of our lives is being captured by these smart speakers and are they always listening? 
Read these two articles about how to change your privacy settings and the possible security risks. these devices may pose.  
Here’s how to change your Alexa privacy settings so Amazon can’t listen

Have Amazon Echo privacy fears? Here’s what you can do