Sentinel Grove Cottage | Build a digital defense against video chat platforms


Over the past two years, many people have taken crash courses in the use of video communication systems. Personal apps such as FaceTime and Skype have made it easier to connect with friends and family during COVID times. Other services – such as Zoom, Teams and Google Meet – were lifelines for schools, businesses and community groups.

Just because most of us are back at school or at work doesn’t mean bad actors aren’t trying to use those video communication systems to scam your bank account yet.

Here are some reminders on how to stay safe:

  • Be sure to research what security settings are available – and enable them – for all platforms you use.
  • Whenever possible, avoid connecting your apps or video communication systems to your social media accounts.
  • Do not accept calls or chats from unknown people or numbers.
  • Review the privacy policy and terms of service for the app or service before using it. Check regularly for updates and grant the app or service only the minimum number of permissions necessary.
  • Know exactly what type of data the app or service collects about you and how it stores, shares or sells that information.
  • Make sure group calls are password protected and confirm participants’ identities before proceeding.
  • Be sure to leave or end the call each time. Don’t rely on the host to do this.
  • Password protect your account and use multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Check your visual background or use a virtual background. You may disclose personal information about yourself or others.

If you are the victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at or call your local FBI office.


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