APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Pennsylvania Daily Life

Dr. Ala Stanford administered a COVID-19 swab test to Wade Jeffries in the parking lot of Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Wednesday.

If you’re spending more time on social media during your quarantine, the FBI Pittsburgh bureau is warning people to pay close attention to the information you’re sharing online.

The FBI said a number of trending social media topics seem like fun games, but can reveal answers to very common password retrieval security questions. Fraudsters can leverage this personal information to reset account passwords and gain access to once-protected data and accounts.

One such example is the ongoing high school support photo trend, which encourages users to share their high school photo to support the class of 2020. Many include the names of their schools and mascots, and their graduation years — all of which are answers to common password retrieval security questions.     

Other examples include posting a picture of your first car; answering questions about your best friend; providing the name of your first pet; identifying your first concert, favorite restaurant or favorite teacher; and tagging your mother, which may reveal her maiden name.

The FBI encourages you to be vigilant and carefully consider the possible negative impact of sharing too much personal information online. Check your security settings to ensure they are set to the appropriate levels and enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication when available. Authentication is a process that requires you to prove who you are in more than one way while accessing an account. 

The FBI said there are three categories of credentials: something you know (a password or PIN number); something you have (a token used to verify that you are whom you say you are); and something you are (which could include fingerprints, facial recognition or voice recognition).

The agency urged consumers to utilize multi-factor authentication whenever possible, but especially when accessing your most sensitive personal data — to include your primary email account, and your financial and health records.

And if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, you can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

GRANTS AWARDED

Two area school districts have been awarded state grants for use in ensuring that students receive access to educational materials and related resources while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apollo-Ridge, which includes Blacklick and Young townships in Indiana County, is getting $24,500.

“These funds can be used to purchase laptops, tablets or other instructional materials that students need, including internet hot spots,” said state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Vandergrift, whose district includes parts of Apollo-Ridge. “Our school districts are facing several unprecedented challenges as they continue to adjust to remote learning, and this grant gives them the financial resources to help students continue to learn, despite being unable to attend classes in person at their school, and ensure they can stay connected with their teachers.”

Armstrong, which covers most of Armstrong County but also Smicksburg and West Mahoning Township in Indiana County, is getting $30,950.

The grants may be used for digital technology purchases, such as laptops, tablets, or hot spots; non-digital purchases, such as paper, postage, or transportation of materials; or low technology, high technology, and no-technology accommodations that increase student access and participation in continuity of education.

PERSONAL PAYMENTS

Blairsville Borough taxpayers may personally deliver payment to the local tax office beginning Tuesday.

Walk-in service will be restored, following COVID-19 related closings, from 5 to 8 p.m. April 28, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 29 and 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 30.

Tax collector Jonathan Santoro announced today that the Tuesday and Thursday office hours will continue thereafter.

Taxpayers are required to wear face masks when entering the tax office at 203 E. Market St., and to maintain the 6-foot social distancing rules when paying tax bills.

Payments may also be made by mail at that address.

TESTING AVAILABLE

MedExpress Urgent Care is now doing COVID-19 testing at designated locations in Indiana County.

Testing locations are completing coronavirus testing from individuals’ cars, if needed, to further limit exposure. Testing is only available to those who meet CDC-based screening criteria.

“We continue to adapt our approach throughout this unprecedented situation to best meet the evolving needs of our communities,” Dr. Alex Strachan, chief medical officer for MedExpress, said in a news release. “As such, many of our centers are now offering testing outside of our facility from patient vehicles. We’ve also added the option for patients to visit a licensed health care professional virtually from the comfort of their own home.”

PROJECT CANCELED

The Indiana-Midday Rotary Club has canceled what would have been the third annual Flags for Heroes project.

The project was created as a fundraiser to engage the community while reminding everyone of the true meaning of Memorial Day — a time to remember, celebrate and recognize the heroes that serve or have served and sacrificed for our freedom.

A commemoration ceremony had been scheduled for May 21.

Monica Jones, a member of the Rotary Club, said the organization will look to continue the event next year.

DEADLINE EXTENDED

Solar United Neighbors and its co-sponsors have extended the sign-up deadline for the second Indiana County Solar Co-op from May 1 to June 1.

Solar United Neighbors also compiled a guide for folks who wonder how going solar works during the pandemic.