Connect and Protect: Internet Safety

We live in the digital age. As such, we spend a large part of our daily lives sitting in front of our computers and hunched over our smartphones. We work, connect with friends, shop, and share our lives on the web. However, amidst the conveniences of ordering ahead for food, swiping through our favorite social media platforms, and playing hours of addictive games, potential dangers lurk. The concept of Connect and Protect is something we should all take to heart. What does it mean? It’s easy, it means taking steps to enhance our online security to protect ourselves against viable threats like phishing and spoofing and identity theft. In addition, we should also focus our safety lens on areas we don’t always consider as a viable threat, doomscrolling. Think of Connect and Protect as a mantra to repeat anytime you’re online.

GrantWatch strongly supports the concept of Connect and Protect. In fact, since today marks Safer Internet Day, we have important information for you with regard to protecting yourself online and when searching for grants. And finally, we offer our subscribers a list of dynamic grants that address computers, technologies, accessibility, and connectivity.

Phishers and Scammers, and Thieves, Oh My!

Phishing and Spoofing: Don’t fall for hook, line and cyber sinkers! Ever get an email and text message claiming to have money for you in exchange for your bank account number? Phishers and Spoofers tend to take on the persona of trusted sources to gather information from you in bits and pieces until they have what they need to access things like your finances. Now, stop and consider for a moment, that these scammers can also infiltrate our favorite social networks too. What’s the ultimate goal? It’s to steal your identity for monetary gain.

Connect and Protect: Your best defense? Trust your instincts before clicking anything that seems off. Always be skeptical of unsolicited emails or messages asking for sensitive information. Legitimate organizations won’t request your password or credit card number out of the blue. Additionally, hover your curser over suspicious links to reveal original URLs, and double-check the sender’s email address. You might also consider taking it a step farther and protecting your online identity. Use a handle and lock up your privacy settings. Also, don’t participate in innocent seeming games, quizzes, and surveys. Yes, they are amusing, however, many contain malware that gather personal identifiable information.

Navigating the Abyss of Endless Content

The Abyss Looking Back: Let’s change gears for a moment and consider safe internet usage from a different perspective. Is it possible, do you think, to get too much of a good thing? Enter doomscrolling, the habit of endlessly scrolling through negative news online, fueling anxiety and stress. What’s more, you may not even actively seek out negative streams. Comment sections are littered with negativity and it’s easy to fall down an unhealthy rabbit hole. According to the National Academy of Sciences there is a connection between doomscrolling and a sharp decline in mental and physical health.

Connect and Protect: The best means to avoid doomscrolling is knowledge. It’s a fact, knowledge is power. Begin by limiting your screen time. Simply put, take breaks. In addition, avoid stressors. Yes, this means certain topics, no matter how invested you are, should also be be limited. Take control of the information you consume and balance it with different perspectives and topics. Finally, take a regular inventory of your emotional well-being. Recognize negative feelings before they spiral and make a plan. Take a walk, call a friend, watch  some truly awful tv—whatever it takes to protect your well-being.

What’s This Got to do With Grants?

Grant Funding: So, what does this have to do with grants? That’s an interesting question. Picture this: you open an email that promises to give you access to unlimited grant funding—even though you never applied. Or, let’s say you receive a call from someone who says they are a government official, and guess what, they have a grant for you as long as you confirm some vital details for them. Both opportunities sound like a dream, right? Nope, you guessed right, they are scams, and potentially disastrous ones at that.

Connect and Protect: Don’t fall for fake websites, emails, and phone calls that guarantee you grant funding. There is never a guarantee when it comes to grants and you must always apply. Also, delete or quarantine strange emails without opening them if you can and certainly never engage with the sender. In addition, it’s best not to answer or even acknowledge texts and calls from names and numbers of people you don’t know. The biggest reason not to respond has to do, once again, with information gathering, and more importantly, consent gathering. Legitimate businesses allow you to opt in and opt out of services, but scammers can use underhanded means to obtain your consent. Once your verbal consent is obtained, they have the means to commit fraud against you.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, the World Wide Web is a exciting space to inhabit, but it also requires skepticism and caution. Connect and protect by staying vigilant, educating yourself, and taking steps to ensure you are protected online. To that end, GrantWatch has prepared a list of grants that we hope will help

Grants, Contracts, and Funding Opportunities

  1. Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Grant (SaTC): Grants to colleges and nonprofits for projects related to cybersecurity.
  2. Women’s Legacy Fund: Funding for organizations for programs benefiting women and girls and addresses internet safety.
  3. Forward Turn Grant: Grants of up to $1,500 to nonprofits, government entities, and schools to educate teen users about internet safety.
  4. 2024 Federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP): Grants to nonprofits to enhance organizational physical and cyber security.
  5. Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program IV: Contracts for services to hospitals and healthcare providers for technology-based projects.

Additional Opportunities and In-Kind Donations

  1. Grow Your Business Online Grant: In-kind support to businesses to help an array of activities including initiating internet security measures.
  2. Championing Inclusive Communities: Grants to charities and nonprofits for initiatives addressing inclusivity. Funding also addresses cybersecurity.
  3. Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP): Grants to nonprofit and faith-based organizations to improve organizational cyber security measures.
  4. Connect for Success: In-kind donations of technology and internet service to schools and colleges in multiple states to advance digital equity for students.
  5. E-Commerce Grant Program: Grants to women and minority-owned small businesses to develop marketing through internet commerce projects.

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