Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Happy New Year!
A new year, brings new hope to victims & families.
Keeping Hope Alive for 2012 & Beyond!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Child Quest International is proud of our direct involvement in 43 SAFE RECOVERIES in 2011, and YOU should be too! This would not be possible without your continued support. Thank you to all of YOU, our "life-changing" supporters, for the difference YOU make. We will continue reuniting families, protecting kids, and KEEPING HOPE ALIVE for those still missing in 2012 and beyond. As we work towards ending child victimization through our mission, dedicated to the prevention and recovery of missing, abused, and exploited children, Child Quest will continue to provide FREE services to assist searching families and law enforcement.

Give the gift of HOPE.

Warm Wishes & Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5 Tips for Safer Online Holiday Shopping

More and more people are doing their holiday shopping online.  It’s easy to see why: You can shop whenever you want, take advantage of special free shipping or Web-only deals, and comparison shop - all from the comfort of your home.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who would like to take advantage of all this online purchasing activity.  The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 cites that 41% of adults surveyed do not have up-to-date security software to protect their personal information online.

We want to make sure your online shopping this holiday season is fun, efficient, and, most important, safe. These five safety tips will help protect yourself, your friends and your family this holiday season.

Protect your computer.  Most malicious software or security breaches can be prevented by running a reputable and up-to-date antivirus package on your computer.  Set your antivirus software to auto-update so that you don’t have to worry about it in the future; you’ll always be protected.  If you don’t have antivirus software on your computer, we’ve listed a few software packages below.

Avoid email scams. During the holiday season we often seen an increased number of scams aimed at defrauding consumers. There is a large number of suspect offers out there, but there is also an equal number of valid offers, so it’s important to know how to tell the valid offers from the scams.
  • Avoid clickable links at all costs. We strongly recommend that you type the destination URL into your browser instead of simply clicking a link in an email.  In many of the fraudulent emails received by consumers, the link itself goes to a location other than what the link says.
  • Avoid falling into the trap of the “hurry” or “70% off” emails.  Fraudsters try to get you to act impulsively by offering huge savings and limited offers, enticing you to click quickly rather than calmly thinking it through.
  • Frequently, fraudulent emails contain grammatical errors or ask for personal information.  Reputable offers are reviewed to ensure proper grammar, and unless you are purchasing something at that moment, there’s no reason to provide credit card information.
  • Check the sender’s address.  If the email address doesn’t make sense in relation to the ad itself, be wary.
Use reputable online shopping sites. With the plethora of shopping sites online, it can be confusing to know which one is good or bad.  By accessing known and reputable retailers, such as Amazon, you can find a majority of your purchases without having to place yourself at risk.  There are also some key things to look for when visiting that website.

  • When sending credit card information, make sure you're in an encrypted session, when websites create an additional layer of security while transmitting your personal information.  Look for the “HTTPS://” in the URL of your browser.  This means it’s an encrypted session.
  • Check the validity of the site.  For IE, select “View” and then “Security Report.”  For Firefox, select “Tools” and then “Page Info.” then in the dialogue  box, select “Security.” In both browsers, make the site is what you assume it to be.
 

Use a safe form of payment. When we pay for things online we need to make sure that we are protecting ourselves accordingly.  Avoid sending cash or personal checks.  Using credit cards can provide some protection against fraud, and you can dispute a charge.  Use payment services as much as you can.  Services such as PayPal and Amazon Payments act as middlemen and prevent the sending of your credit card to potentially fraudulent retailers.

Check your bank statements. During the holiday season, we recommend that you frequently monitor your credit card, debit card, or checking account statements online to ensure unnecessary fees are not being added without your knowledge and to catch fraudulent activity quickly. 

Resources
[Source: YahooSafely]
For more information about protecting your Internet security, please visit security.yahoo.com.

*This article was written by Yahoo! Inc. Chief Information Security Officer Justin Somaini as a guest contributor to Yahoo! Safely.

Monday, December 19, 2011

THOSE WHO VICTIMIZE CHILDREN ARE USUALLY NOT STRANGERS

The recent events at Penn State University and Syracuse University serve as reminders that the sexual abuse and exploitation of children is an all-too-present fact of modern life.  Yet, millions of Americans do not believe that this problem exists at all.  Why?

Overwhelmingly, the child victims do not tell.  Leading scholars and researchers tell us that at least 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized in some way before they reach the age of 18, and just 1 in 3 will tell anybody about it.  These are America’s hidden victims.  We have made progress as a nation in attacking this problem but even today, two out of three child victims suffer in silence.  They don’t tell Mom, they don’t tell Dad, they don’t tell anybody.

Millions doubt the existence of these heinous crimes for another reason.  The offenders do not match society’s stereotype.  Most Americans want to believe that someone who would prey upon a child sexually is evil-looking, a menacing, frightening stranger.

Yet, we have learned that most often those who victimize children are not strangers to the child, they are known to the child.  They seek out legitimate access to the child.  We should never be shocked when someone who abuses a child is a volunteer or employee of a youth-serving organization, or a school, or a daycare center, or many other settings that provide easy, low-risk access to children.  That is why the leading child-serving organizations have taken bold steps to do background screening of their staff and volunteers, and then monitor and supervise the interactions between adults and children.

In monitoring sex offender treatment groups and programs, one hears a chilling word, “grooming.”  Most often, these offenders who prey upon children do not snatch their victims randomly from the streets, they groom their victims, win their confidence and trust through friendship, kindness, and then they violate it.  In so many of these cases, the child is made to feel responsible, like it is his or her fault.  And the child is often intimidated or threatened by this person of trust and authority.

Even if they decide to tell, will anyone listen to them?  Will anyone understand?  These children feel that no one will believe them even if they do speak out, and too many adults simply do not listen to or understand what children try to tell us.

The offenders are not dirty, menacing strangers, they are respectable citizens – doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, police officers.  Often they are people who outwardly show deep and enduring commitment to helping children in need.

What can you do?  What can every citizen do?  First, communicate with your children and empower them.  Make sure that they understand that you love them, trust them, believe them and that if anyone ever touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell you or a trusted adult.

Second, the first line of defense is a vigilant public.  If you see it, know about it or suspect it, report it.  Call your local police and then call 1 (800) THE LOST or report it to www.cybertipline.com, at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The sexual exploitation of children is not a problem that only happens somewhere else.  It is happening in big cities and small towns across America.  Thousands of children fall victim to sexual exploitation every year.  We need to do more.  Because every child deserves a safe childhood.

By Ernie Allen, President and CEO National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
*This commentary first appeared in the Opinion Section on FoxNews.com on 12/09/2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stopping Child Exploitation on Social Media

Child Quest International (CQI) is actively involved in protecting children by stopping child exploitation and victimization on the streets and online.  One of our goals is to help #StopPedophilePromotingProfiles on social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc).  It is disgusting that these profiles are protected on many sights under the guise of "free speech".  Pathetic.  We LOVE our freedom of speech, but it is appalling that that "right" is being manipulated and accepted by sites like Twitter which allows users to victimize and exploit children!

Social Media MUST be socially conscious and accountable in order to PROTECT KIDS!  This finger-pointing "not our problem/fault" mentality MUST STOP!  It is everyone's responsibility  to protect kids from both being exploited and being exposed to exploitation and inappropriate material.  After all, it is not like these profiles are age restricted or anything.  Even porn has age restrictions (for the most part), but yet no restrictions for pedophile promoting profiles???  That is a problem.

In light of a recent situation on Twitter, we are now proud to say we are gaining on these scum bags!  Twitter (and other social networks) has been allowing its users to promote child sex abuse with links to graphic sexual exploitation images and videos, videos that project child porn.  While Twitter will not delete these accounts (#FAIL @TWITTER), we have been able to get the external links content BLOCKED.  By working with Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the CyberTipline, and morally conscious founders at these external sites, Child Quest International got two child sexual exploitation videos blocked.  The users profile has been blocked as well, keeping further content from being posted.

Unfortunately, this is where frustration ensues!  We have reported this individuals account to Twitter (along with a number of other Twitter users and concerned adults) and still they refuse to remove or block his account.  Here is there responses to our complaints and request... they are yet to reply to our last response (which we have submitted multiple times).  Here is the email thread below:

[From CQI to Twitter cp@twitter.com Dec-15 02:27 pm PST]

Hello Twitter,
We have gotten a number of complaints from concerned individuals regarding Twitter user:


@Ambercolesdadd Profile: https://twitter.com/#!/AmberColesDadd - James Cole @AmberColesDadd "With My Family I love my wife and my 14 yr old daughter amber they mean the world to me!...Creator of #SkecherGang".

Why has Twitter not deleted his account? He post mainly (if not all) comment on his 14 year old daughter performing sex acts for money. In addition to his written post he also provides external links to possible child pornography pictures and videos.

Here are 3 post from @Ambercolesdadd that confirm my complaint:

@AmberColesDadd (James Cole) Post Dec 9, 2011
"oomf Jus came over n fucked the shit out my daughter..I wanted 2 tell him
stop but he paid already s/o 2 that nigga even tho he was $2 short"


@AmberColesDadd (James Cole) Post Dec 6, 2011
Amber Cole PT 2 twit/PRrk <http://t.co/oy7F9&gt;<https://twitter.com/#%/AmberColesDadd/status/144247637451878400>*** (Included link to possible child pornography, link broke on purpose for this post)

@AmberColesDadd (James Cole) Post Dec 6, 2011 
New Girl Karmen Full Vid!! "Givin Neck 4 Respect" #*BlindFury*<https://twitter.com/#%21/search?q=%23BlindFury&twit/Pt2Qfym <http://t.co/k2hRQPgA&gt; v (Included link to possible child pornography, link broke on purpose for this post)

Please reply as I have already contacted the external links website to get these videos blocked on their site. This predator should be blocked on Twitter as well.

Thank you,
Child Quest International

[Twitter response to CQI Dec-15 02:58 pm PST]

Hello,
Thank you for the report.
 

We do not tolerate child pornography on Twitter. When we are made aware of such images they will be removed from the site without further notice.
 

For accounts that have not posted such images, if they are determined to fall within these guidelines (http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2447 ), we do report them to the National Coalition for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC); law enforcement is then able to review those reports and determine which they believe merit further investigation.
 

As we are not law enforcement, we cannot engage in offline investigations of violations of the law. However, we do notify law enforcement agencies who can. As such, it's important to remember that simply removing accounts and/or Tweets does not result in the underlying possible criminal act being identified and prosecuted and can instead lead to the removal of evidence that law enforcement may need to determine whether or not charges should be brought and/or an investigation begun.
 

You are also welcome to file an additional complaint with NCMEC to provide them with context or more information; you'll find the link here: https://secure.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/CybertipServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US
 

Thanks,
Twitter Trust & Safety 

[From CQI to Twitter Dec-15 03:33 pm PST] 

Hello Twitter,

Thank you for your prompt response.  Unfortunately, your response does not align with what the Twitter Child Pornography Policy states https://support.twitter.com/groups/33-report-a-violation/topics/148-policy-information/articles/37370-child-pornography-policy  

According to Twitter policy: "Twitter removes content promoting child pornography. We do not tolerate child pornography on Twitter. When we are made aware of links to images of or content promoting child pornography they will be removed from the site without further notice and reported to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children ("NCMEC"); we permanently suspend accounts containing updates with links to child pornography."  That is a direct quote from the Twitter help center.

Obviously, James Cole AKA @AmberColesDadd is promoting child pornography with his twitter account content. And according to Twitter policy as stated above, once Twitter is made aware of "content promoting child pornography they will be removed from the site without further notice and reported to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children ("NCMEC"); we permanently suspend accounts containing updates with links to child pornography." 

Why has this not been done for @Ambercolesdadd's account? His content is promoting child pornography as in example from this post, "oomf Jus came over n fucked the shit out my daughter..I wanted 2 tell him stop but he paid already s/o 2 that nigga even tho he was $2 short".  This is just one of many child sex content tweets, in addition to the others I have already submitted.  Again his account states that his daughter is ONLY 14 YEARS OLD and his tweets are promoting child pornography and child sex for money (AKA Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children).

Again, we request that this user account be removed immediately as it violates Twitter's Child Pornography Policy.

Well, since we sent that reply, communication has come to a halt.  They are yet to respond (we have sent 2 additional request since this last email and still NO RESPONSE).  We'll keep ya posted on what happens next.

"All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke

5 Things You Should Know About Online Scams

  1.  Criminals use a variety of methods to trick people online. Check out this list of some of the most common online scams.
  2. “Swatting,” a new and dangerous twist on the classic prank call, involves Internet pranksters getting swat teams to surround the homes of their unsuspecting victims, like in this case.
  3. If you've been a victim of an online scam, you can report it to IC3, the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  4. Challenge your teen to test his or her Internet surfing habits with this quiz from the McAfee security company. Then, take it yourself and compare your scores.
  5. Are you planning to avoid the in-store holiday rush by shopping online? Then you may want to read this article about some common methods of identity theft and ways to protect your family.
[Source: NetSmartz.org]