Car warranties, student loan debt forgiveness, threats from the IRS. Have you gotten phone calls or voicemails from people asking you about any of these topics (and more)? They’re just a few of the countless methods cyber criminals employ to steal your personal information. Some of us have grown accustomed to the “spam” calls on our phones because our friends will text instead of call. However, some of us simply don’t know these scams even exist. Our confidence stands little chance against the urgent voice we hear on the other end of the phone saying they are a distressed member of the family.
My mother fell prey to a scam when someone hacked into her email and sent a message to her address book. The message said my mother had her purse and wallet stolen while she was travelling abroad in Africa, and she needed friends to wire transfer some money to her so she could get back home. The key flaw was that the scammer said my mother was in Africa, which is someplace she has never visited — and thankfully plenty of her contacts also knew that fact. Some, however, were so distraught that they called and emailed my father, afraid that something dreadful had happened. That was 20 years ago.
Now, hackers and scammers are more intelligent and more motivated than ever before. They take advantage of wide-spread disinformation campaigns, and our inherent trust in others is being exploited. I would wager that everyone has either experienced firsthand or heard about someone who has been a victim of cybercrime, and until we can destigmatize and normalize conversations around these topics, we will continue to fall for the scammers’ tricks.
Kent Memorial Library is joining forces with Suffield Police, Suffield Senior Center, Suffield Youth Services, Suffield Housing Authority, and Suffield Community Aid to form a taskforce to educate and inform our residents. We will be offering multiple programs on the topic, including how to avoid certain scams and how to help protect friends and loved ones. The series will kick off at the end of September, and I encourage you to keep your eyes out for more information at Suffield on The Green.
Please continue to contact us by phone – 860-668-3896, email – firstname.lastname@example.org, and through social media on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. For up-to-date information, please visit our website at suffield-library.org