Information Technology

Employees in a classroom looking at a presentation on a TV.

In support of our vision - Digital Innovation through Collaboration – the Information Technology team partners with the city’s departments to identify operational gaps and deliver technical solutions that will help the city and community thrive. Additionally, we are chartered to protect the city’s data and systems through education and security infrastructure management, as well as focused on providing exceptional technical support and managing and evolving the city’s technology and radio communications infrastructure. Our team is organized into two divisions - Business Transformation and IT Operations - and an Information Security Office, with skill sets to ensure that technology-focused initiatives, data, and systems are supported throughout their respective lifecycles.

The 12 Scams of Christmas

  • Look-Alike Website: When stores sell out you may find the items online on different websites than the official retailer’s. Remember, it’s easy to mimic a real website. Some sellers will take your money and run, leaving you without a gift or money to buy it elsewhere.

    • Social Media Gift Exchange: Purchasing one gift and receiving 36 sounds like a great deal, but this seasonal scam is actually a pyramid scheme, which is illegal
  • Grandparent Scams: Seniors should be cautious if they get a call from a grandchild claiming to be in an accident, arrested or hospitalized while traveling in another country. Never send money unless you confirm with another family member that it’s true. 

  • Temporary Holiday Jobs: Retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays, but beware of solicitations that require you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to the retailer’s main website to find out who is hiring.

  • Free Gift Cards: Pop-up ads or emails offering free gift cards are often just a ploy to get your personal information that can later be used to identity theft.

  • E-Cards: Electronic cards can be great fun, but be careful. Two red flags to watch out for are that the sender’s name is not apparent and you are required to share addition information to get the card.

  • Fake Shipping Notifications: These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer to steal your identity and your passwords. Don’t be fooled by a holiday phishing scam.

  • Phony Charities: Everyone is in a generous mood during the holidays, so scammers take advantage of the with fake charity solicitations in email, on social media sites, and even by text. Check out charities at give.org before donating.

  • Letters From Santa: Several trusted companies offer charming and personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with bbb.org to find out which ones are legitimate.

  • Unusual Form of Payments: Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. these payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone.

  • Travel Scams: With busy holiday travel bargains may be tempting. Be cautious when booking through online ads, never wire money to someone you don’t know and ask for references.

  • Puppy Scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially during the holidays. You may get a puppy mill pooch with problems, or you may get nothing at all because it was a scam

 

For more information on these scams go to bbb.org

Have you ever gotten an email from someone claiming to be royalty? In their email they tell you that they will inherit millions of dollars, but need your money and bank details to get access to that inheritance. You know this email isn’t legitimate, so you delete it, yet there are many more scams being perpetrated by criminals that sound more believable and aren’t as easy to spot. Learning to identify and avoid these scams is the first step in protecting yourself from these schemes. Senior Citizens are often particularly vulnerable to some of these fraud campaigns. The world today is full of cybercriminals launching both phishing emails, and the tried and true phone scams that never fell out of fashion. Protecting not only your finances, but also your data from these scams is more important now than ever. 

Phone Scams 

Scammers who operate by phone can seem legitimate and are typically very persuasive! To draw you in to their scam, they might: 

  • Sound friendly, call you by your first name, and make small talk to get to know you 

  • Claim to work for a company or organization you trust such as: a bank, a software or other vendor you use, the police department, or a government agency 

  • Threaten you with fines or charges that must be paid immediately  

  • Mention exaggerated or fake prizes, products, or services such as credit and loans, extended car warranties, charitable causes, or computer support 

  • Ask for login credentials or personal sensitive information 

  • Request payments to be made using odd methods, like gift cards 

  • Use prerecorded messages, or robocalls 

If you receive a suspicious phone call or robocall, the easiest solution is to hang up. You can then block the caller’s phone number and register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry (https://www.ftc.gov/donotcall).

 Email Scams 

Phishing emails are convincing and trick many people into providing personal data. These emails tend to be written versions of the scam phone calls described above. Some signs of phishing emails are: 

  • Imploring you to act immediately, offering something that sounds too good to be true, or asking for personal or financial information 

  • Emails appearing to be from executive leadership you work with requesting information about you or colleagues that they usually do not request (for example, W2s) 

  • Unexpected emails appearing to be from people, organizations, or companies you trust that will ask you to click on a link and then disclose personal information. Always hover your mouse over the link to see if it will direct you to a legitimate website  

  • Typos, vague and general wording, and nonspecific greetings like “Dear customer”

Beware that many scam and phishing emails look legitimate! An email pretending to be a company might contain pictures or text mimicking the company’s real emails. If you’re unsure about an email you received, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself: 

  • Do not click links or open attachments in emails you were not expecting

  • Do not enter any personal, login, or financial information when prompted by an unsolicited email 

  • Do not respond to or forward emails you suspect to be a scam

  • If in doubt, contact the person or organization the email claims to have been sent by using contact information you find for yourself on their official website 

If you get scam phone calls or phishing emails at home, hang up or delete the emails. If you get scam phone calls or phishing emails at work, let your organization’s security or Information Technology team know so they can help protect others from these scams! Additionally, please educate your parents and grandparents on these scams, as they are becoming only more and more common. 

Resources: 

 

We're excited to share that recently all patrol agents were equipped with new mobile digital computers (MDCs). These laptops help provide the agents with vital information on calls and ultimately helps them serve the community better! To find out more, check out the City of Lakewood's YouTube page!