Citizen Virtual Patrol, Alexa Over-Shares, and a New Angle in Robocall Scams

Published on: June 07th, 2018

FEELING a little like Gladys Kravits, from Bewitched, or Kramer from Seinfeld?   You’re going to love Newark, New Jersey’s new “Citizen Virtual Patrol.”  If you’re willing to register your computer with the Newark police department, you can have access to the new camera system and not only watch the streets, but even be encouraged to report any criminal activity you witness.  Gladys would have loved it!

What does eavesdropping and gossiping have in common?  Alexa, the voice-activated assistant. You have to read the story to believe what happened to a Portland, Oregon couple.

This week’s Tech Talk closes with information on what appear to be local-based robocalls.  We want you to be informed so you can avoid the scams.


Big Brother (Sister, Mother) is Watching You, City of Newark, NJ

“Citizen Virtual Patrol” has been rolled out in the city of Newark, NJ. Pairing technology with humans’ natural nosiness, Newark law enforcement is hoping to enlist the public’s help “to immediately act upon any suspicious or criminal activity while it’s occurring.”  Participants’ computers are required to be registered with the Newark PD’s website.  If you think this is a one-off program, you’re wrong – Newark is not the first, and will likely not be the last to keep an eye on the streets in this way.  Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “public assistance.”

Be an eye in the sky here

Candice Lanier,


Alexa, I Did Not Tell You To Do That!

Imagine getting a call from an employee who states that they just received an audio recording of a private conversation that took place at home between you and your spouse…..

This actually happened to a couple – their Alexa assistant activated and not only listened to their conversation, but recorded it, and while listening for the next command, it interpreted what it heard as a command to send a copy of the recording to a person in their address book.  It happened to be an employee.

Read the incredible story here

Heather Kelly,


More on the Robocall Epidemic

As a follow-up to a recent blog post on phone scams, today we bring you up to date on the robocalls that appear to becoming from a phone number in your area.  If you have Caller ID you probably don’t pick up calls from unrecognized area codes, but more and more often those darned calls are coming from our local Area Code and fool us into answering.  The downside to that is the more often you answer those calls, the more scam calls get directed to your phone number.  Read below for the story and arm yourself against the scammers.

Don’t be fooled into answering scam calls!

Kari Paul,


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