Stop. Think. Connect: Friends Newsletter – March 2014 (DHS)

Stop.Think.Connect. Blue Header

Friends Newsletter – March 2014


  • Be Aware of Online Fraud
  • Travel Smart During Spring Break
  • Partner Spotlight:
  • Federal Spotlight: DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
  • Stop.Think.Connect. at the RSA Conference 

Online Fraud

Be Aware of Online Fraud

Online fraud is big business for criminals. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), jointly run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, reported receiving over 289,000 complaints in 2012, which resulted in more than $525 million dollars in losses. Many long-running telemarketing and mail fraud techniques are now being used on the Internet, with criminals preying on people’s trust to bilk Americans out of millions of dollars. In addition, some criminals target older Americans or small businesses with specific scams.

Common online fraud scams include:

  • People selling items, such as automobiles, that they do not own. These transactions can take place over sites like Craigslist or eBay, with the buyer transferring money electronically and receiving no product in return.
  • Phishing and spoofing, where criminals pretend to represent a legitimate company or agency and request personal information from their targets. These attempts can include a legitimate-looking email or website. In these cases, the criminals have “spoofed” a real company’s site.
  • Nigerian letter scam, where people are offered to share in a large sum of money if they can help place this money in overseas bank accounts. Victims give criminals their bank account information and send money to the criminals to help pay for bribes and taxes with the promise of repayment.

So how can you protect yourself? Follow these tips from the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA):

  • Think Before You Act. Be wary of “too good to be true” deals. Free money, cheap iPads, cheap cars – if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out. Do not click on links or emails that seem suspicious or are from unknown, unsolicited sources.
  • Shop Only at Reputable Online Retailers. Look for the padlock symbol or for URLs that start with “https” or “shttp.” For auction sites such as eBay, check the seller’s reviews.
  • Use Safe Payment Options. Use a credit card if possible. Credit cards have higher protection measures than debit cards. If you do become a victim of fraud, credit cards offer a better chance that you will not be liable for fraudulent charges.

If you believe you have been a victim of online fraud, file a complaint with’s online complaint form at or with IC3 at

Girl on cell phone during spring break

Travel Smart During Spring Break

This spring break, students and families will step away from school and travel to warmer locales.

Before you jet to your spring break destination, don’t forget to pack your passport, sunscreen, and these mobile safety tips from Stop.Think.Connect.:

Keep a Clean Machine. Ensure all devices that connect to the Internet, including smart phones, tablets, and laptops, have the latest mobile security software, web browsers, and operating systems. This is the best way to defend against viruses, malware, and other online threats. 

Protect Your Personal Information. Keep your phone securely locked (with a passcode) and in your possession. Disable geotagging features on your phone and applications so that your movements are not tracked and broadcast. Only give your phone number to people you know, and don’t share your friends’ numbers without their permission.

Connect with Care. While conducting online banking or shopping, look for websites that begin with “https.” These sites have taken extra measures to secure your information. Also, be wary of using public Wi-Fi or Internet hotspots to conduct sensitive online activities, such as banking and shopping.

Be a Good Online Citizen. Think before you upload photos or videos. What you put online can have consequences in the future. Ask your friends’ permission before uploading photos of them as well.

For more cybersecurity tips for those on the go, download the Stop.Think.Connect. Mobile Safety Tip Sheet

Partner Spotlight:

Stop.Think.Connect. National Network partner is dedicated to helping consumers avoid fraud in all forms – from health care scams to identity theft and Internet fraud. A project of the National Consumers League, is committed to educating consumers about fraud and helping them avoid becoming a victim. offers:

  • Education about common types of fraud and the latest scams.
  • Tips on how to spot fraud.
  • An online incident report form where people can file complaints. operates the Fraud Alert System, where complaints are automatically forwarded to over 90 law enforcement partners. recently released tips on how to prevent or respond to potential tax-related identity theft and Internal Revenue Service impersonators. Read their tips to protect yourself this tax season.

Visit to learn more.

Man at computer in large office

Federal Spotlight: National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center

Critical infrastructure is important to maintaining the health, economy, and safety of the United States. Protecting this infrastructure is one of the main missions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In 2009, DHS created the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, or NCCIC, to be the central coordination point for federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, private sector, law enforcement, intelligence, and defense entities that play a role in operational response to cybersecurity and communications threats and incidents.

One of the unique features of the NCCIC is its watch floor, where representatives from all partner entities have dedicated space to work and coordinate with each other.

The NCCIC includes four branches:

United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

US-CERT is the 24×7 operational branch of the NCCIC, collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about cyber incidents and threats to the Nation’s critical infrastructure. US-CERT focuses on network analytics, threat analysis and information sharing, digital analytics, operations, communications, and international operations.

Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT)

ICS-CERT focuses on reducing risk to the industrial control systems that operate much of the Nation’s critical infrastructure. ICS-CERT monitors threats and issues timely alerts and advisories to critical infrastructure owners and operators and other partners. It also provides on-site incident response assistance and analytics.

National Coordinating Center for Communications (NCC)

NCC helps lead and coordinates the initiation, restoration, and reconstitution of national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications services or facilities under all conditions. As part of this mission, the NCC continuously monitors national and international events, from man-made incidents to natural disasters that may affect emergency communications.

NCCIC Operations and Integration (NO&I)

NO&I is the planning and coordination arm of the NCCIC. Bringing together all NCCIC capabilities, the NO&I focuses on information sharing, analysis, and response.

For more information on the NCCIC and its operations, visit

Stop.Think.Connect. at the RSA Conference 

The RSA Conference is an annual gathering focused on information technology (IT) security. With over 25,000 attendees from industry and government, the RSA Conference is a great way for the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign to spread the cybersecurity awareness message to those interested in IT security and privacy. This year, DHS and the Campaign traveled to San Francisco, California to participate in a variety of events at the RSA Conference:

  • The National Cyber Security Alliance hosted a luncheon where participants discussed the importance of public-private partnerships in cybersecurity. Attendees included Dr. Phyllis Schneck, DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity, and Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President.
  • The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign hosted a Twitter Chat that focused on “Capitalizing on Collective Intelligence.” Participants included the RSA Conference (@RSAC), the National Cyber Security Alliance (@NCSA), and DHS Cyber (@cyber). Read a transcript of the chat to learn more about ideas for partnership and collaboration in spreading the cybersecurity message.
  • Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, moderated a panel discussion titled “The Sixth Man: How Cybersecurity Awareness Programs Strengthen Our Defense.” Bobbie Stempfley, DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C) Acting Assistant Secretary, participated in the panel and discussed the impact of the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign. Other panelists included online safety and security representatives from Facebook and Microsoft.
STC resource guide

In addition to participating in these events, the Campaign debuted its updated Toolkit at RSA 2014. Toolkits and promotional materials were made available to all conference attendees at the DHS CS&C booth in the RSA Expo Hall. Attendees also received a Stop.Think.Connect. pin in their conference welcome bags.

The updated Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkits will be available soon to all partners and Friends of the Campaign. We encourage you to distribute these resources to stakeholders at your own events.

Stop.Think.Connect. feedback information


Stop.Think.Connect. Resources 




Twitter: @cyber, @dhsgov, and @STOPTHNKCONNECT 

Updated: March 8, 2014 — 7:52 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 20th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural Missouri, just a few miles from the Big Muddy. Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.