Living in a digital world (i.e., internet, mobile computing and electronic media) has its benefits, but is also makes us more vulnerable to invasions of privacy, fraud, and malicious attacks. 

One estimate is that cybercrimes have cost the world $2 trillion as of 2019. While big companies suffer the biggest losses, the average consumer can experience phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, identity theft, data breaches and financial losses. 

Ways you can protect yourself:
·        Practice good password selection. A strong password is between 8-12 characters and includes upper and lower case letters, at least one number, and a unique character.
·        Protect your Wi-Fi network. 
·        Install Antivirus software if it is not included with your internet service. Keep your software up-to-date.
·        Avoid opening emails from unknown sources. The same applies to texts.  
·        Do not click on links, open attachments or download anything from a suspicious message, even if it appears to be from a friend.
·        Don’t lose track of mobile devices, and lock them with strong passwords. 
·        When shopping on-line, look for “https” – “s” means secure.
·        Never disclose personal information, to include passwords and credit card numbers, when using a public WiFi connection.
·        Do not respond to unexpected requests for your personal information. Scammers may pretend to be your bank, credit card company, or a government agency.

With regards to your children, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office offers these tips:
Parents – think SMART
Stop unnecessary sharing: Don’t allow your child to give out personal information, to include name, address, phone number, photos or school name, to strangers.
Monitor your child’s online activity. 
Assess privacy. Understand what information is being collected about your child by reading privacy policies.
Research apps. Know what your child is downloading and the features of the app. Consider controlling the password required to download apps so that you can control what your child accesses.
Teach. Emphasize to your children the importance of not downloading unknown files, not signing up for free products, not believing everything on the internet, and not meeting up with strangers.

(Source: Ohio Attorney General; www.simplilearn.com/cybersecurity-and-you-article)

Some would say that we all take a gamble on something, at one time or another, whether it be a job, a partner, or a cross country move. In many instances, our decisions are well thought out, and not all that risky.
Gambling, on the other hand, involves playing games of chance for money, or taking risky action in the hope of a desired result.  According to one source, gambling addictions in Ohio have doubled since 2012, in part because there is more accessibility to casinos, gaming and online betting. Research indicates that in 2012, 450,000 Ohioans showed signs of a gambling addiction. By 2019, that number jumped to 900,000. Like alcohol, cocaine, cannabis and opioids, gambling can lead to addictive behavior. The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio reports that 400-500 calls a month come in from people in need of help, particularly during the Super Bowl or March Madness.
Gambling involves both games of chance and games of skill.
Games of Chance include: Scratch and Win Cards, Arcade games, Raffles, Bingo, Lotteries, Internet Gambling, Sweepstakes, Rolling Dice/Craps, Roullette, and Video Lottery Terminals
Games of Skill include: Poker and other card games, Arcade and video games, pool, darts, marbles, race track betting, board games, sports
Characteristics of Responsible Gambling
·        Responsible Gamblers understand that the odds of winning are with the house.
·        Responsible gaming is done socially with family, friends or colleagues.
·        Responsible gaming is done for limited amounts of time.
·        Responsible gaming always has a pre-determined acceptable money limit for losses. 

Potential warning signs of Problem Gambling
·        Borrowing money to gamble
·        Spending a lot of time thinking about gambling
·        Restless and irritable when not gambling
·        Making larger dollar bets to increase the excitement
·        Lying about how much time or money you have spent or lost gambling
·        Gambling to escape problems
·        Neglecting important responsibilities such as work, family, or school
·        Having unpaid bills or increased debt because of gambling
Even young people can have a gambling problem. Problem gambling rates among teens and young adults have been shown to be 2-3 times that of adults. 15% of Ohio youth ages 12-17 are gambling, and 3% are experiencing negative consequences from gambling. (Source: Ohio Lottery Commission)

Sources: www.10tv.com; Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County Gambling Fact Sheet

COVID has taken a toll on people’s physical health, and their mental well-being. People are stressed. Anxiety and depression are on the rise. People are drinking more, and Montgomery County has seen an increase in drug use and drug overdoses. Sadly, it is reported that there have been more suicide attempts. Multiple factors account for these changes, some of which include: increased demands placed on parents and adult caretakers of the elderly, social isolation, loneliness, feelings of hopelessness, and financial stress.
It is important that you make time to practice self-care. Setting aside 5-10 minutes to unwind, listen to music, take a break from the kids, engage in a hobby, eat a good meal or get some exercise is vital to your mental well-being. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to talk to others about how you feel, especially, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, hopeless or suicidal. Help is available, be it a friend, family member, clergy person, coworker, or a mental health professional. Don’t hesitate to contact EAP Plus+.
Meet your new EAP Manager!

Mary Jane Kocian-Figueroa, Psy.D., MPH
Feel free to reach out to Mary Jane directly with any questions or needs at 937-528-3176. We care about your company's well-being and that of your employees.
Information in this newsletter is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to
replace the counsel or advice of a qualified health or legal professional.