Cam­bridge Po­lice Chief speaks about per­sonal se­cu­rity, fraud

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VIC­TO­RIA WINGATE vwingate@ches­pub.com

— On Fri­day, Feb. 3, Cam­bridge Po­lice Chief Dan Dvo­rak spoke to the Cam­bridge Woman’s Club about en­sur­ing the se­cu­rity of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Just in time for Safer In­ter­net Day on Tues­day, Feb. 7, Dvo­rak warned of var­i­ous ways scam­mers and thieves tar­get vic­tims and steal prop­erty or in­for­ma­tion for ne­far­i­ous pur­poses. Ex­am­ples in­cluded tele­phone calls, email links, social me­dia, and more.

“You can be­come vic­tim­ized so quickly just by a tele­phone call,” Dvo­rak said. “They can be so con­vinc­ing. There are a lot of bad peo­ple out there who want to prey on in­di­vid­u­als of all age groups, but what I see, mostly, is the land­line as one of the premier ways to be­come a vic­tim of fraud.”

One scam Dvo­rak has en­coun­tered sev­eral times is a caller that threat­ens the safety of a loved one un­less

money is given. A guest at the meet­ing said she had ex­pe­ri­enced a ver­sion this with some­one pre­tend­ing to be her grand­son. In this sit­u­a­tion, he said, it is al­ways best to call 911.

“Email is an­other dif­fi­cult one,” Dvo­rak said. “It’s so easy to get an email that’s not from who you think it was. Peo­ple try to say ‘We need to re­set your ac­count on­line. Can you please en­ter your user­name and pass­word?’ The lo­gos that they put in the email are so re­al­is­tic, that you want to be­lieve it.”

His tip was to al­ways log into your ac­count di­rectly through the web­site of the com­pany try­ing to con­tact you, and check your se­cure ac­count for alerts, as op­posed to click­ing on a link in an email.

A se­cure web­site is iden­ti­fied by ‘https’ pre­ced­ing the web ad­dress near the top of the page.

Face­book and other social me­dia Dvo­rak re­ferred to as a dou­ble-edged sword. While it is a valu­able form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, es­pe­cially when try­ing to reach younger gen­er­a­tions, se­cu­rity is a risk when shar­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on­line.

“I have en­joyed Face­book. As the chief, I’ve been able to put out a lot of in­for­ma­tion,” Dvo­rak said. “I have 5,000 peo­ple who fol­low what I say on Face­book, and I have an­other 1,000 peo­ple on Twit­ter. It’s a nice com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool.”

Dvo­rak also an­swered ques­tions about the risk of theft of phys­i­cal items and pro­tect­ing your home from break-ins.

He sug­gested set­ting up a web-en­abled cam­era to record at the front door, and get­ting to know your neigh­bors.

“When you get in­volved and know your neigh­bors, you know when some­thing is wrong,” Dvo­rak said.

The Cam­bridge Al­liance of Neigh­bor­hoods is a pro­gram in the city that is ac­tively work­ing to bring neigh­bor­hoods to­gether in aware­ness by re­cruit­ing block cap­tains and start­ing neigh­bor­hood watch groups.

Nextdoor.com is a free, on­line ser vice that con­nects you with neigh­bors to share mes­sages and keep an eye out for one an­other. As po­lice chief, Dvo­rak has spe­cial ac­cess and is able to share in­for­ma­tion –such as fraud or weather safety alerts – with any­one in the city who is signed up for the ser­vice.

“My mes­sage to you is if you think some­thing doesn’t look right, call us,” he said. We’re happy to re­spond. If any­thing is fishy, call 911 and get an of­fi­cer to help you ver­ify the in­for­ma­tion. We have good tech­nol­ogy, so take ad­van­tage of it.”

CHIEF DANIEL DVO­RAK

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