Protecting Yourself Against Sophisticated Cyber Scams

The Santa Clara County Library District Announces In-Person Series
Focused on Phishing Scams

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – April is Financial Literacy Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of financial education and maintaining smart money management habits. Part of this includes protecting oneself and one’s money. That is why the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) will be hosting two in-person programs dedicated to providing people with the tools to protect themselves against sophisticated fraudsters and scams.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in 2021 there were more than 847,000 complaints of suspected internet crime with losses exceeding $6.9 billion. The top three cybercrimes were phishing, non-payment/non-delivery schemes, and personal data breaches. Phishing is a tactic criminals use to get victims to reveal personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. The FBI recently reported an uptick in Romance Scammers targeting victims with fake Crypto investments. Con artists will use dating and social media networks to meet victims and pressure the victim to invest in fake cryptocurrency sites. Victims range in age from young adults to older adults. Many scams may be unreported, as victims are embarrassed or ashamed to admit they were deceived.

“Cybercrimes come with a high financial toll that can wipe out a person’s life savings, and we want to help residents avoid falling victim,” said County Librarian Jennifer Weeks. “Our upcoming programs will introduce you to topics such as “phishing” and you’ll learn what to look out for as well as ways to keep your online information safe.”

On Wednesday, April 19 at 11 a.m., the Saratoga Library will host the  first program featuring Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West. West serves as a prosecutor to REACT – Santa Clara County’s elite high-tech investigative force who has disrupted fraudulent call centers abroad and is actively working to combat romance investment scammers. DDA West will present different types of scams, and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim.

West was recently profiled in Forbes magazine, and has appeared in several podcasts to discuss her work, which includes successfully tracking and freezing stolen assets, so they can be returned to the rightful owner.

The second program is on Saturday, April 29 at 3 p.m. at Cupertino Library. Online and telephone scams are increasing, and scammers keep finding new ways to take advantage of innocent people. SCCLD is hosting a special program to talk about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Riana Pfefferkorn, a Research Scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory, will talk about common scams and how to avoid them.

Pfefferkorn is also a writer who has published pieces in The Hill and for the Brookings Institution. Pfefferkorn researches the benefits and detriments of strong encryption on free expression, political engagement, economic developments and more.

At the end of both events, there will be a Q&A moderated by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, a member of the Library District’s governing board and an advocate for privacy protection and data security.

“In my years of service, I’ve worked on legislation regarding online privacy protection, telephone record protection and data breach disclosure and notifications,” said Supervisor Simitian. “But scams evolve, so our efforts to combat them have to evolve as well. We hope to inform and educate our local residents so they don’t fall prey to these criminals.”

SCCLD is committed to hosting programs that support local community needs. Because anyone can be susceptible to scams, it is important to call attention to these important programs.

Protecting Yourself From Scammers featuring Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney, Erin West
Wednesday, April 19 at 11 a.m. at Saratoga Library
Register here

Protecting Yourself From Scammers featuring Stanford Internet Observatory Research Scholar, Riana Pfefferkorn
Saturday, April 29 at 3 p.m. at Cupertino Library
Register here