News from the desk of Sheriff Potter


“Securing Your Holidays: Defending Against Cyber Scams”

Dear DeSoto County,

As the holiday season approaches, it brings joy, festivities, and unfortunately, an increased risk of cyber threats. In this digital age, where online shopping and virtual connections have become integral parts of our lives, it's crucial to remain vigilant and proactive to stay safe through digital presence.

Cybercriminals are professionals at exploiting the holiday rush, preying on unsuspecting individuals seeking the best deals or connecting with loved ones online. By using various tactics, from phishing scams to fraudulent websites, they often aim to steal your personal information or financial assets.

Online Shopping Precautions: Before clicking add to cart, exercise caution. We advise you to stick to reputable websites with secure payment options. You can verify the website's legitimacy by checking for HTTPS in the URL and looking for secure payment symbols, like padlocks or trust seals.

Avoid clicking on suspicious links in emails or pop-up ads offering unbelievable discounts. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is! Take a close look at reviews and ratings, and avoid sharing sensitive information through unsecured platforms or public Wi-Fi networks.

Fraud and Scam Awareness: Be cautious of unsolicited emails, texts or calls requesting personal or financial information. Cybercriminals often pose as trusted entities, such as banks, government agencies or online stores, to fool individuals into providing sensitive data.

We can assure most legitimate organizations won't ask for passwords, social security numbers, or credit card details through unsolicited communications. Always verify the authenticity of the sender by contacting the organization or company directly.

Prevention Measures: Protect your digital accounts with strong, unique passwords. Enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security. Regularly update software and operating systems on your devices to safeguard against potential threats. Consider using reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to detect and prevent cyber threats. Backup essential data regularly to avoid losing critical information in case of a cyberattack.

What are the Signs of Potential Threats? Examples include unexpected charges on bank statements, unrecognized logins to accounts or receiving confirmation/invoices for purchases you didn't make. Promptly report any suspicious activity to relevant authorities or financial institutions.

This holiday season let's embrace the spirit of giving and celebration while also safeguarding ourselves online. Stay informed, stay cautious and together we can combat cyber threats and enjoy a secure and safe holiday season.

Be Kind, Be Safe, God Bless.

Sheriff James Potter