April 2020

Beware of increased scams

Thursday, April 23, 2020

in News

The Department of Justice recently announced that it continues to disrupt hundreds of online COVID-19 related scams, through public and private sector cooperative efforts. As of April 21, 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received and reviewed more than 3,600 complaints related to COVID-19 scams, many of which operated from websites that advertised fake vaccines and cures, operated fraudulent charity drives, delivered malware, or hosted various other types of scams.  To attract traffic, these websites often utilized domain names that contained words such as “covid19,” or “coronavirus.”  In some cases, the fraudulent sites pretend to be run by, or affiliated with, public health organizations or agencies.

The FBI offers the following tips can help protect individuals and businesses from being victimized by cyber actors:

  • Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.
  • Check the websites and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID-19.  Be aware that scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating.  For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting your personal information for medical purposes.  Legitimate health authorities will not contact the public this way.
  • Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.
  • Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is operating and up to date.  Keep your operating system up to date as well. 
  • Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment.  Remember, if a vaccine becomes available, you will not hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch.
  • Check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies.  Avoid companies whose customers have complained about not receiving items.
  • Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving any donation. Remember, an organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos on its materials.  For online resources on donating wisely, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
  • Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail.  Do not send money through any of these channels.

If you think you are a victim of a fraud or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or email at disaster@leo.gov.  If it is a cyber scam, submit your complaint through https://www.ic3.gov.

For example, the cooperative effort has disrupted:

  • An illicit website pretending to solicit and collect donations to the American Red Cross for COVID-19 relief efforts.
  • Fraudulent websites that spoofed government programs and organizations to trick American citizens into entering personally identifiable information, including banking details.
  • Websites of legitimate companies and services that were used to facilitate the distribution or control of malicious software.

Multiple federal agencies have worked to analyze the complaints, investigate ongoing fraud, phishing, or malware schemes, and assemble vetted referrals.  Agencies have sent hundreds of these referrals  to the private-sector companies managing or hosting the domains.  Many of those companies, in turn, have taken down the domains after concluding that they violated their abuse policies and terms of service, without requiring legal process.  Domain registrars and registries have advised the department that they have established teams to review their domains for COVID-19 related fraud and malicious activity.  Cybersecurity researchers have also made important contributions by developing sophisticated tools to identify malicious domains and refer them for mitigation.  Law enforcement is actively reviewing leads, including those referred by private firms, to verify unlawful activity and quickly pursue methods for disruption. 

As a further example, shortly after the IRS notified the public of web links to apply for the COVID-19 related stimulus payments, the FBI identified a number of look-alike IRS stimulus payment domains.  These look-alike domains are often indicative of future phishing schemes and in order to minimize the potentialfraudulent use of the these domains, the FBI alerted numerous domain registries and registrars to the existence of these look-alike URLs.
“The department will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement and private sector partners to combat online COVID-19 related crime,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “We commend the responsible internet companies that are taking swift action to prevent their resources from being used to exploit this pandemic.”
“Working alongside our law enforcement partners and the private industry, the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch is taking action against all manner of COVID-19 consumer scams,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Disrupting Internet-based fraud schemes is an important part of our effort to protect consumers from financial loss and health-related harms.”
“The FBI is proud to work alongside our federal law enforcement and private sector partners to protect the American public from COVID-19 related scams during these difficult times,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Terry Wade.  “We believe our collaborative efforts are the key to quickly reducing the threat from COVID-19 scams while allowing the American public to focus on protecting themselves and their families from this pandemic.”
“Keeping pace with the growing threat of cyber-enabled COVID-19 scams requires an alliance between the private sector and our law enforcement partners to safeguard our Nation from this sort of nefarious conduct,” said Director James M. Murray of the U.S. Secret Service.  “The Secret Service is thankful for these trusted partnerships which demonstrate a proven model for identifying, investigating and prosecuting these criminals.”
The Justice Department is also working to provide COVID-19 related training and technical assistance in other countries through the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program.  In one Justice Department-supported action, a state prosecutor in Brazil took down a fake site purporting to belong to a leading Brazilian brewery.  The website publicized the distribution of free sanitizer, but in fact was infecting the computer systems of numerous Brazilian consumers with malware.  The ICHIP-mentored prosecutor further requested that the site’s U.S.-based registrar suspend it and preserve any account and transactional data linked to the site.  The investigation is ongoing, and the ICHIP continues to mentor the prosecutor remotely on this case and on best practices for engaging with U.S. registrars and providers.  Similar activities are planned in other regions with ICHIP attorneys.  Learn more about the Criminal Division’s ICHIP Program, jointly administered by the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, here.
Numerous Justice Department components are working to combat COVID-19 related crime nationwide.  For a list of department efforts, visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus/news.   
The FBI’s Cyber Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit (CIRFU) and National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, and the U.S. Secret Service field offices are coordinating these efforts.  The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Food and Drug Administration also have been collaborating in this effort.

To find more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus

Family Update

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

in 2020 visitor updates

Dear residents and families,

I hope this email finds you all healthy and content. We know this was a particularly difficult time for many families, as it is also emotional for us to be away from our own families at a time when we usually gather together. We appreciate you all very much. Thank you for all the acts of kindness you have shown to staff and residents alike – email, cards, social media comments, lunch for staff, face masks, art, signs – all your acts of love have brought us joy and has refreshed our spirit. 

Please sign up to receive these updates by email
We urge all family members to sign up to receive email so we can keep you informed. In order to keep everyone up to date in the fastest, more comprehensive, eco-friendly and cost-effective way we will now only communicate these updates by email and by posting them to our web site, available at jenningsohio.org/coronavirus . Family members who have not signed up for email will get an automated call to alert them that there is a new post. Please encourage your family member to sign up at jenningsohio.org/families .

Current precautions
Keeping everyone healthy and safe is a priority for Jennings. As a reminder, we have been taking precautions since early March to do all we can to prevent COVID-19 in our residences.To minimize risk, we continue to restrict all visiting, staff members stopped traveling between buildings, and we identified staff members who are not involved in direct care and now work remotely instead. We have eliminated non-essential outgoing doctor appointments, and physicians do not come to our buildings; instead we arrange telehealth appointments. For residents and staff alike, we continually educate about the importance of handwashing, keeping hands away from your face, and other precautions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The environmental services team has been cleaning and sanitizing, giving extra attention to high touch areas several times each day, and sanitizing deliveries that come to Jennings.

We screen staff members each day for signs and symptoms; staff may not enter the building with any symptoms (i.e., fever 100 or higher, cough, etc.) or risks such as close exposure to someone with symptoms or positive test for COVID-19. All staff members wear face masks, and we maintain safe physical distance with the exception of necessary close proximity for direct care. 

As you know, residents in assisted living and long-term care remain mostly in their suites engaged in private activities with small exceptions such as certain hallway activities where they can be socially connected but 10 feet or more apart — exercising, playing Pokeno or creating art — as well as those needing assistance to eat. Residents may choose to wear face masks, particularly during times when they are not alone in their suites. You are welcome to provide homemade masks with a cheerful fabric pattern for your loved one. We take their temperatures twice each day, and we evaluate each resident in our health care settings daily for symptoms. Those individuals living independently have been asked to eliminate their visitors, reduce their activities to only essential trips and cease non-essential visits from providers such as home health care who travel among multiple buildings.

Critical Plans
Please know that all three Jennings healthcare campuses have had plans in place should we have a resident who shows signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive. Jennings continues to follow the protocols outlined by the respective county health departments,CDC, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). We have been working with our medical director and also have COVID-19 test kits on site for any person who is indicated. Any individual living independently in apartments and villa or cottage homes who has symptoms should follow guidelines of living at home, beginning with self-isolation. 

As we have communicated previously, we have a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) that includes additional masks, goggles, face shields, caps, booties and gowns in addition to important equipment such as disposable thermometers and hand sanitizer that would be necessary in the event of caring for someone who has symptoms of COVID-19. The graphic below shows the types of PPE necessary for three stages of direct care. 

source: Ohio Department of Health, coronavirus.ohio.gov

You can count on us to communicate to family members if we know there is a Jennings staff member or resident who tests positive where your loved one lives. If you have any questions or a particular concern about your loved one, please feel free to contact us by phone or email. A list of common extensions is available on our web site at jenningsohio.org/phones .  

Independent living residents
We have urged residents who are living independently in Jennings’ apartments, villa homes and cottages to continue taking precautions outlined by Governor Mike DeWine and the CDC to help prevent COVID-19. We encourage them to discontinue any non-essential home care professionals, who are typically moving between many area buildings, to prevent the spread of illness even by those who show no symptoms. We also encourage the use of alternate shopping and support methods. Instead of going to the store for supplies, it is likely safer to use new pick-up and delivery services such as InstaCart. These services can minimize the risk of exposure to illness. Jennings staff can help with the technology to have essential items delivered.

A few reminders

  • Schedule a video chat with residents in long-term care or assisted living. We know how important it is to see your family member, and we look forward to connecting you by FaceTime or Skype. Visit jenningsohio.org/video-chats for instructions and tips.
  • Follow our stories in social media! You can find us at JenningsOhio and NDVillageOhio on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where we post photos and videos.
  • Jennings continues to connect residents to Mass; although they cannot physically attend, they can watch it on televisions.
  • Gift Shoppe purchases for residents at the Garfield Heights campus or Jennings at Brecksville:
    Certain greetings and gifts, as well as some daily necessities, may be purchased online for delivery to a resident. All item costs include delivery to the resident suite; items are available while supplies last. Jennings can accept online orders 24 hours a day. Orders placed by 5pm will be delivered the next Gift Shoppe day: Tuesday through Saturday. Visit jenningsohio.org/gifts for details.

Thank you for all your wonderful gifts and gestures! Please click through the gallery to see some of these gifts.

Be well,

Allison Q. Salopeck
President and CEO, Jennings

Spirituality and You: Hope

Monday, April 20, 2020

Easter remains a source of great joy and hope – hope of life eternal for all.

This Easter season is certainly different from anything we have experienced during most of our lifetimes. The coronavirus, stay-at-home orders from the government, isolation, hand-washing and social distancing have certainly impacted our daily lives. Despite all of this, the [more…]

Read the full article →

Independent Living Request

Monday, April 6, 2020

Recommendations April 4, 2020

We urge independent living residents in our apartments, cottages and villa homes to continue taking precautions outlined by Governor Mike DeWine and the CDC to help prevent COVID-19. These include the following:

Caregivers and visitors: Please discontinue all
non-essential support. We know several residents receive support from outside
caregivers. These professionals see many people in [more…]

Read the full article →

Lake Catholic student makes PPE for Jennings

Monday, April 6, 2020

We are abundantly blessed and grateful! Lake Catholic junior John Olenik put forth his time and talent when Jennings President and CEO Allison Salopeck put out the request for personal protective equipment (PPE). John made 600 face shields for Jennings – at cost – for Jennings staff. Personal protective equipment is extremely limited right now, [more…]

Read the full article →

Spirituality and You: A Message of Hope

Monday, April 6, 2020

Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which
is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you.
You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing.
It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a
time to choose what [more…]

Read the full article →