Sunday, September 10, 2017

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On #Harvey, #Irma & #EquifaxBreach

 Photo credit: Charlie Riedel/APtion

It has been quite a weekend in our midst as we have been witness to the nature's fury in Texas, the Caribbean and Florida and the Equifax Data breach.

Our team received this primer courtesy of the team at Global Citizen that we wanted to report on on how all around the World Can help as we will feature this on all our properties:

The devastation we've seen in Houston, and now in Florida and the Caribbean, is unimaginable. Relief teams estimate it will take more than a decade to repair the destruction. Thousands are now living in shelters or completely homeless in parts of the country where many already live under the U.S. poverty line.

For those already struggling to make ends meet, Harvey will continue to wreak havoc on their lives for years to come.

At Global Citizen we work to end extreme poverty around the world through calling for systemic change against the systems that keep people poor. We also believe that strong community spirit is an essential pillar of our mission. And in times like these, there's something each of us can do to help our brothers and sisters in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean as they work to rebuild their lives.

Donate now to one of these organizations that are helping people directly on the ground. Give what you can — and together, our donations can make a big difference in the lives of Texans, Floridians, and beyond.

We are holding all those impacted in our thoughts and prayers.

Hugh Evans (CEO), Liza Henshaw (COO) and the Global Citizen Team

One America: A newly created fund created by President Jimmy Carter, President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, and President Barack Obama. You can donate here.

American Red Cross: This longstanding relief organization is establishing shelters, distributing food, and providing emergency medical services throughout Texas. You can donate here.

Catholic Charities USA: This Catholic relief group is working to address short and long-term hurricane damage. You can donate here.

Save the Children: This emergency response team is dedicated to assisting children and families affected by the hurricane. You can donate here.

Please also see this very crucial primer on the Equifax Data Breach that we hope all take advantage of--we understand that folks in the United Kingdom are even affected--although this is geared towards the 145 Million affected in the United States only: 

  •  Assume you are affected. Equifax and other credit reporting companies can collect information about you from credit card companies, banks, or other financial institutions without your knowledge. 
  •  Freeze your credit reports with all three major credit reporting companies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Freeze FAQ page for guidance on how to freeze your credit. 
  • Set fraud alerts with all three agencies. For guidance on how to set fraud alerts, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Place a Fraud Alert page. 
  • Monitor activity on your credit accounts and reports carefully. Consider checking your credit rating regularly by asking for free credit reports from your bank or other credit service companies. Please note that while Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for those affected by this breach, there are reports (not confirmed by USC) that you may be opting out of your ability to join any class action lawsuits against the company if you sign up for Equifax’s credit monitoring. 
  • Be aware of tax return fraud. Criminals sometimes use stolen social security numbers and other personal information to file fraudulent tax returns and redirect tax refunds to their own accounts. For more information on how to protect yourself, see the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft. 

As this is a major and well-publicized breach, identity thieves and other criminals are likely to send out phish emails appearing to come from Equifax or other credit reporting agencies. It is important that you do not click links in any emails asking for your personal information or login details, no matter how legitimate the emails may appear. Instead, open a new browser window, navigate to the company’s website by manually typing its official URL in the location bar, and conduct any required business there.

(Update: We end with this courtesy of the Code for America with this link on the #IrmaResponse):

Help Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma

You may have heard about the great work done by Sketch City, Code for America's Houston Brigade, organizing volunteers to map shelters, coordinate rescues, and clean out flooded homes in Houston during and after Hurricane Harvey. Check out Harvey Needs to see what they built.

The Brigade, alongside volunteers around the country, is shifting focus to Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma. Working with Code for MiamiCode for Fort Lauderdale, and Code for Orlando, the volunteers have created Irma Response, repurposing many of the tools used in Houston, including a hurricane shelter map and resources for volunteers looking for ways to help.
Want to help right now? Take a look at the Irma Tech Volunteer Onboarding guide and spread the word by sharing it with anyone you think can help as well.

Want to connect with other volunteers? Join the Irma Response Slack channel.

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