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Swift 911 Text Alert Program in Action

On August 6, 2019, there was a campus wide power outage at Charlestown. Once Security had an idea of what had happened, a text message was sent through the Swift 911 Emergency Text Alert Program, advising residents and staff that the power was out throughout Campus, and they were seeking answers to the problem. Later we were advised that BGE was onsite and working on the problem, then that it was partially restored, and so on until all power was back.

If you have opted in for Swift 911 emergency text messaging and did not receive a text message on Tuesday, Aug. 6, please contact Security and Emergency Services at 410-737-8806. If you have not opted-in, please note that a cell phone (if it is charged) will work during power outages. Residents may chose to list a cell phone number for “Swift Reach only” (but not for listing in a public Charlestown phone directory.)

Recently, General Services has added the Swift911 Text Alert Program that allows them to notify you via text message (chat) in emergency situations, if you have a smartphone. Send a text message to 443-947-3474 by typing add.  You will receive a text message reply: Swift911: Thank you for registering for Charlestown Emergency Alerts.

One important preparedness step is to write down the information you need to contact your loved ones. Then, when your cell phone is drained of power and/or another electronic source of contact information is not available, you will be able to rely on your printed list.

Charlie Eichenlaub
Resident Council Communications Committee

No, Miscrosoft is Not Calling You about a Virus

Charlestown’s Security & Emergency Services Department has received many calls about a scam alert that involves someone contacting you claiming to be from Microsoft, Apple or another well-known tech company. The caller tries to convince you to allow them remote access to your computer. Do not allow them access. Read more information below taken from an AARP Scam Alert.

Scammers pretending to be from computer companies rely on successful tech support scams to steal your money, gain access to your computer, or both.

How It Works:

~You get a call or see a pop-up message on your computer warning that you have a virus (the caller will claim to be from Microsoft, Apple or another well-known tech company).
~They convince you to provide remote access to your computer so they can show you the ‘problem’ – and then pull up benign data that looks threatening to convince you to pay them to fix it.
~While on your system, they could install software that puts your computer and the information you store on it at risk.
~In the end, they will ask you for your credit card number to charge you for the repair, and will try signing you up for a worthless maintenance plan.

What You Should Know:

~ An urgent call from a supposed tech company warning you of a virus is a scammer.
~ Rely on on-screen messages from your software security that will prompt you to do things like install updates to your security system.
~A follow-on scheme involves the tech company calling you back one day to claim it’s going out of business or it’s offering refunds for some other reason, and they will ask you for your bank or credit card information to process your refund.

What You Should Do:

~Hang up on anyone claiming to be from tech support warning of a virus on your computer.
~If you get a pop-up alert that appears to freeze your computer, don’t follow the instructions. Just shut down your computer and restart to get rid of the phony ad.

If you are concerned about the security of your computer, go to someone you trust for help. Don’t do an internet search for “tech support” as you may end up on a scammer’s site

Resident Review of New Emergency Pendant

A resident happy to show off her new emergency pendant shared her review of it.

The new pendant costs $105.00, which can be added to your bill. I bought it from Nancy Lyles, the dispatcher in the Security Office. The pendant is waterproof for shower use, but maybe not the pool. It vibrates when activated. There is a magnet with it that you can use to deactivate the pendant if pressed accidentally. A lot of people ask if it improves the locator. It does not. It uses the same system already established.

However, we have been told that new “repeaters or responders?” will be placed on campus that will zero in more closely to the whereabouts of the person. That will improve finding the resident and will work for all pendants, new or old (except the Continuing Care Pendants since these are a completely different system). Stay tuned for more information.

August 2018

Electronic Mobility Vehicle (EMV) Rules of the Road

Pedestrians always have the right of way. EMV’s are to be used for accessibility and mobility, not speed.

Vehicles should not be operated faster than an average resident’s walking pace. Pass with courtesy, use your horn/bell, and ride on the right side of the hallway.

Stop at all intersections, adhere to all warnings/ instructions. Never drink and drive!

Always report accidents and violations.


Be On the Lookout for Telemarketing Scams

The elderly are frequent targets of telemarketing frauds and sweepstakes scams. This type of fraud can include identity theft, fake check and wire transfer scams, investment and credit card fraud, and bogus online charitable solicitations.

Your Charlestown Community has had several recent incidents of these attempted crimes. Fortunately, the would-be thieves were unsuccessful! You are encouraged to report suspicious activities to the Security and Emergency Services Dispatch Center 24/7/365. An Officer will take the report and we can block the suspicious number communitywide. We also follow-up with local, State and Federal law enforcement and related agencies.

Some helpful tips for you:
*It’s shrewd, not rude to hang up on a suspicious caller.
*Do NOT give personal information to people you don’t know, unless you initiated the call.
*Don’t let yourself get pressured into a verbal agreement or signing a contract.
*Be skeptical of online charitable solicitations, insurance claim payments, sweepstakes/ lottery winnings, or unusually low-cost purchase offers. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
*Never agree to pay for unsolicited products or services in advance.
*For reporting purposes, record as much information about the caller as you can:
>Call-back number
>Date/time of the call(s)
>Individual’s name
>Company name
>Specific information about the offer

Source: FBI, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National Crime Prevention Council