Tag Archives: internet safety

Cell Phone Thefts May Not Be About Phones

21 Oct

by Ken Davidson

It appears that organized rings of criminals are perpetrating armed robberies for cell phones in northwest Indiana. First, we had the 5 Hessville armed robberies which appear to be gang related. At that time, Chief Brian Miller suggested there were similar robberies in East Chicago and Merrillville. Now an armed robbery in Schererville and reports of one in Dyer are causing great concern. According to a report issues by computer security giant Symantec, up to 50% of smart phones are lost or stolen in some major cities. The number is rising rapidly. The real question is why are these thefts on the rise and the answer may be personal information.

While there is a tremendous danger involved in the vicious armed robberies, the thefts may not be about the phones at all. Symantec reports that users are storing more data on their portable devices and are protecting it less. Bank accounts, credit cards, addresses and passwords and other personal information call all be retrieved by the savvy criminal after stealing a cell phone.

“If this was a test, mobile consumers would be failing,” said Marian Merritt, Internet Safety Advocate, Symantec. “While consumers are protecting their computers, there is a general lack of awareness to safeguard their smartphones and tablets. It’s as if they have alarm systems for their homes, but they’re leaving their cars unlocked with the windows wide open.”

Those perpetrating the robberies may not be computer geniuses but a nationwide spike in thefts of electronic devices indicates that there is a thriving market for stolen devices. You can bet the street gangs have gotten into this lucrative market and are selling phones internationally.

Experts advise using security software such as Symantec’s Norton Mobile Security 3.0 The Software allows you to erase your data remotely if your portable device is lost or stolen.

Symantec also suggests additional security tips for a smartphone or tablet:

General Security Principles for PDAs and Smartphones
• PDAs and Smartphones must be password protected, preferably with a strong password (eight digits,
• Devices must not be left unattended (while charging, for instance) – unless secured in a locked device or
room, or with an appropriate alarm6
• The wireless port on PDAs and smartphones must be disabled (to prevent transmission of confidential
data to unauthorized individuals)
• Appropriate anti-malware software must be installed and kept up to date
• Device operating systems must have the latest patches installed (which means keeping in touch with
your supplier’s Web site(s), as automatic updating is not yet a big feature of PDA and smartphone
operating system support)
• Any confidential (including corporate) information stored on a device must be encrypted, perhaps stored
in an encrypted database
• Back up regularly – by synchronizing the device with a linked computer

Sex Trafficking Victim to Speak Oct 19

8 Oct

By Barb Slade


Theresa doesn’t simply tell a story, she lived a nightmare and has survived to share her terrifying tale to millions as she is determined to abolish child slavery and exploitation.  At the age of 15 Theresa was tricked by a classmate  she had developed a crush on into accompanying him to his home, once there she was drugged, raped and the sexual  acts photographed.  The popular, trusted boy proceeded to begin a torturous, terrifying ordeal of what resulted in more than 18 months of blackmail, rape, exploitation and sexual servitude. Theresa was told if she didn’t do everything she was instructed to do that her family would be hurt, they would show the disgusting photographs to her parents, her fathers employer,  her teachers, even her priest.  To ensure her silence and cooperation they went so far as to leave dead animals on her porch as a reminder of the consequences.  Theresa began receiving nightly calls that demanded she leave the security of her home immediately and meet them, once in their car she would be driven to undisclosed locations where strange men would perform disgusting and violent acts to her body. 

Theresa’s story is one so unimaginable and terrifying that most tend to close their eyes feeling it could never happen in America.  The most frightening of all is that statistics show that in excess of 325,000 children are subjected to sexual exploitation every year.  The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry is 11 to 12 years old.  Theresa was a youth in Detroit, Michigan, not some third world country but right here in our own back yards. 

Theresa has been traveling all over the world to raise awareness of human trafficking, sharing her horrendous story with as many individuals or groups that are willing to listen.  Ms. Flores is a Human Trafficking Survivor, Author, Victim’s Advocate, Founder of S.O.A.P (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution).  Her story has been seen on The Today Show, MSNBC: “The Teen Trade”, The 700 Club, CNN/HLN, Glenn Beck’s “For the Record” as well as many local and national radio shows.  Her national rescue mission S.O.A.P. has been featured on Dateline, Nightline, and America’s Most Wanted   Human Trafficking is a growing threat to our youth, educating them as to the dangers of falling victim to these predators is the only way to stop them in their tracks. 

Hear more of Theresa Flores’s story October 19 at 1:00 PM at The First United Methodist Church of Griffith, 400 44th Place, Griffith, Indiana. Robin Reid from Indiana Protection for Abused & Trafficked Humans (IPATH) will speak at the forum, followed by nationally recognized Theresa Flores.

Write it on your calendars, invite your families, your friends, coworkers, teachers, but whatever you do this is one event you won’t want to miss.

Contributed by: Barbara Slade / First United Methodist Church of Griffith

Internet Crime Compliance Center Reports Scam Involving False Mugshots Online

20 Jul

The IC3 has received hundreds of complaints from individuals claiming they located their mug shots on 20 different websites, all of which allegedly use similar business practices. Some victims reported they were juveniles at the time of the arrests and their records were sealed. Therefore, their information should not be available to the public. Others stated the information posted on the sites was either incorrect or blatantly false.

Complainants who requested to have their mug shot removed, had to provide a copy of their driver’s license, court record and other personal identifying information. However, providing such information puts those at risk for identify theft.

Complainants were also subject to paying a fee to have their mug shot removed. Although they paid the fee, some of the mug shots were not removed. If they were removed, the mug shots appeared on similar websites.

If the victim threatened to report the websites for unlawful practice, the websites’ owners threatened to escalate the damaging information against the victim.