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Colorado State Publications Blog

Business Identity Theft

Identity theft doesn’t just target individuals — businesses are also vulnerable to these types of crimes. Hijackers can steal financial information from businesses in order to pose as that business to establish lines of credit or make fraudulent purchases. How can your business protect itself from identity theft and cyber crimes? Three Colorado state agencies – the Secretary of State’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – have teamed up to bring you several helpful resources that can increase awareness and protect your business.

The Business Identity Theft Resource Guide was developed by the three partner agencies to aid businesses in protecting themselves from identity theft as well as to offer guidance to victims. Use the resource guide to learn how to monitor financial activity, safeguard your records and financial information, and protect your customers’ personal information. You can also find more at their Protect Your Business website, and in this brochure.

The Attorney General’s Office, along with the Federal Trade Commission, has also published a separate guide, Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business, which provides numerous helpful tips and resources for planning and protecting businesses from identity theft and fraud. Additionally, the CBI has a helpful website about identity theft and cyber crimes, and the Attorney General’s website also offers information on how to protect your customers, along with other identity theft resources.

For more resources on identity theft, including information on what to do if your individual identity is stolen, visit our library’s online catalog.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Transportation Network Companies

How does the State of Colorado regulate digitally-networked transportation companies like Uber and Lyft? The Colorado Legislative Council has just published a new Issue Brief that explores this topic. Here you can learn about the many differences between transportation network companies (TNCs) and traditional taxicabs, including driver requirements, safety inspections, and how the companies set their rates. For more information on rules and regulations for transportation companies, see the Colorado Public Utilities Commission website.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Tips for Flying Drones in Colorado

Whether for fun or for business, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, are a hot new tool that’s growing in popularity. But before you set your drone in flight, you should be aware of safety precautions, laws and regulations, and insurance information.

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s website contains a helpful webpage, Fly UAS Responsibly. Here you’ll find tips, resources and FAQs for all types of users, including recreational and commercial, as well as tips and information for airport personnel.

Drone users should have insurance. If your drone crashes into someone’s home, you are responsible, according to the Colorado Division of Insurance. Check out these five tips from the Division about how to get your drone covered.

Situations may differ depending on where you’re flying your drone. You can find helpful tips from the Colorado Department of Agriculture in their video Flying Drones in Rural Areas.

For a summary of state laws and regulations on UAS, see the Colorado Legislative Council’s Issue Briefs on Unmanned Aircraft System Regulation and Drone Use and Regulation in the Public Sector Finally, see these safety tips from the Colorado Department of Public Safety. You can also learn more about drones at Colorado State University’s Drone Center.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Tips for Avoiding Cyber Scams

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. What can you do to avoid being a victim of cyber crime? Criminals are increasingly using the internet to target victims, either to steal their identities or scam them out of a lot of money – or both. Below are some common types of cyber fraud, and tips to avoid them. You can read more about these scams on the Colorado Attorney General’s Digital Fraud website.

  • Click bait scams. These are scams where criminals will create an intriguing post on social media with the purpose of tricking the victim into sharing personal information or even installing malware. Tip: when clicking on social media posts, if you receive a suspicious-looking popup asking you to update your video player or scan your computer for viruses, this may be a scam to install malware on your computer or device. But before you even click on the post, hover your cursor over the link to make sure it’s taking you to a safe and familiar website. Even if the post appears to be from someone you know, cyber criminals will often hack into users’ accounts – so if a link looks suspicious or unfamiliar, verify it is legitimate before clicking.
  • Internet auction and classified ad sites. These kinds of scams use legitimate websites to lure customers into false purchases or which cheat sellers out of goods without paying for them. If you’re selling items on an internet auction site, a fake “buyer” might pay for the item with phony checks or money orders. Other types of scams include fake advertisements for property rentals, where an interested renter clicks on a phony ad and is made to fill out a long “application” divulging all kinds of personal information. Also common are fake ticket scams. You send in money to buy tickets for an event, but the tickets never arrive. Tip: For sellers, don’t ship items until you make sure the payment is legitimate. For buyers, do your research on a company by checking sites such as the Better Business Bureau. Don’t give personal information such as social security numbers. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • “Money Flipping” Scams. These are essentially “get rich quick” schemes that advertise over the internet, promising that if you invest a small amount of money you can “flip” it into a larger amount. Tip: Always do your research on a company before sharing any personal or financial information. Your research might reveal complaints. Also, as with click bait scams, sometimes it might look like one of these money flipping deals is coming from someone you know – but it’s possible their account may have been hacked, so always verify first. And again, trust your instincts. If it’s too good to be true…
  • Negative Option Scams. These are scams that send you products you didn’t order and then bill you for them. Or, they trick you into thinking you are ordering something once, only to be added to an “automatic delivery” over and over – again, sending you the bill. “Free trials” that collect money up front can fall into this category. Tip: Once again, do your research to make sure you are doing business with a legitimate company. Also, read the fine print. If you give your credit card number to get a free trial, be certain that the company won’t automatically start billing you after the trial period is over, and be aware of their cancellation policies.
  • Tech Support Scams. These are common scams where you either get a phone call, an email, or a popup pretending to be from your company’s IT department, or from your device’s manufacturer or carrier (e.g., someone claiming to be from Microsoft calls and tells you your computer has a virus). They either trick you into revealing personal/financial information, or gain access to your computer and install their own viruses, spyware, and malware. Tip: Never give a stranger access to your computer or device. Keep your computer or device updated with the latest security software. Don’t click on any suspicious email attachments, and do not respond to suspicious emails – just delete them. And if you’re not sure, contact the company directly and ask them if a call or email you received is legitimate.

These are just a few of the many types of cyber scams. The Colorado Attorney General’s Digital Fraud webpage includes more details on these and other scams, as well as tips on internet browsing safety, online shopping, smart phone security, and how to reduce spam. You can also use this website to report fraud. If you’re a victim of identity theft, be sure to check out the AG’s Identity Theft Repair Kit and other resources on their website.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Computer Science Resource Bank

There’s no question that computer science is becoming an increasingly important subject in today’s schools. If you’re a computer science teacher, be sure to check out the Colorado Department of Education’s new Computer Science Resource Bank. Here you’ll find “a variety of materials for computer science educators, including standards, curricula, and materials for professional educator development.” The resource bank can direct you to scholarships, cybersecurity resources, competitions, professional associations, teaching tools, learning environments, and much more. All of the suggested resources are coded for elementary, middle, and high school, making it easy to find what you need. Free resources are also highlighted. In the ever-changing environment of computer science, teachers can keep up with what’s new by using this handy resource.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Open Educational Resources

Good news for students and professors! On Monday Gov. Hickenlooper signed HB18-1331, a bi-partisan bill that encourages “expanding the use of open educational resources at public institutions of higher education.”  Open educational resources, or OERs, are “high-quality teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits free use or repurposing by others and…[are] available to students for free or very low cost.”

OERs have gained popularity due to both the rising costs of textbooks and to professors’ desires to adapt and create content for their classes using a variety of mediums, such as streaming videos, software, online course modules, etc. The expanded use of OERs not only helps students save money on textbooks, but may help them academically, too — “research…indicates that, because of the cost of textbooks and other materials, students often do not buy [them], resulting in poor academic performance…Other studies indicate that students take fewer courses or drop courses because of the cost of textbooks and materials, extending the time to graduation,” according to the bill’s Legislative Declaration.

So what are those studies that the bill is referring to?  During last year’s legislative session, SB17-258 created the Open Educational Resources Council, which included representatives from higher education institutions and academic libraries across the state. The council issued their Report to the Joint Budget Committee in November 2017. This report cites the studies used to develop the reasoning for the new legislation. The bill signed this week continues the OER Council until at least 2021. It also provides for a new grant program “to support the creation and use” of OERs in Colorado public colleges and universities, helping save students money and giving teachers new options.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Digital Learning Day

Governor Hickenlooper has declared today, Friday, February, 16, as Colorado Digital Learning Day.  This day highlights the important role of technology in today’s learning landscape.  The proclamation states in part that “Digital Learning Day will encourage teachers, students, schools, parents, policymakers, and the public to participate in activities that promote discussion about innovative learning practices.”

To find out more, see the Colorado Virtual Library’s blog post about Digital Literacy & Learning Resources.  Our library also has many helpful resources on digital learning and educational technology; search our online catalog for titles such as

The Colorado State Library Professional Collection also has numerous resources on this topic, available for check-out.

 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Student Data Privacy

The Colorado Department of Education takes many precautions to protect students’ privacy and limit the availability of personally identifiable information.  To learn more, check out the following resources outlining the steps CDE is taking to ensure your children’s privacy:

Also, be sure and visit the following CDE webpages for updated information:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Online Schools

Are you considering enrolling your child in a K-12 online program?  If so, there are many resources from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) that you can use to find the right school for your child’s needs.  CDE’s Blended and Online Learning webpage offers a wealth of information on the topic, including lists of programs, FAQs, research studies, technical assistance, and other information.

Our library also has many resources on the topic.  Some helpful publications include:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Judicial Learning Center

The State of Colorado’s judicial branch offers a fun, unique way for all ages to learn about the state’s judicial processes — the Judicial Learning Center.  Developed in partnership with the Colorado Supreme Court Library, “the Learning Center is a 4,000-square-foot museum-style space that is full of interactive, fun, and informative exhibits,” according to their website.  The Learning Center’s website also contains a number of helpful educational resources, including curricula information for schools, lesson plans, and more.  Some of the Learning Center’s interactive exhibits include an animated wall demonstrating the development and application of the Constitution; video interviews of judges; demonstrations of the legal process and court hierarchies; games where the visitor can be the lawyer or the judge; and a touch-screen map of Colorado where visitors can select counties, districts, water divisions, or tribal lands. The Judicial Learning Center is a hands-on, experiential way to teach kids, visitors, new Coloradans, and anyone else about the Colorado court system.

The Learning Center is located in the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center and is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. 

The Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center is located a 2 E. 14th Avenue (on 14th between Broadway and Lincoln) in downtown Denver.  Photo courtesy Colorado Judicial Branch.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

October 10 is Electronic Records Day!

This coming Saturday, October 10, is Electronic Records Day, where we recognize the importance of preserving our digital heritage and making our history more accessible online.  Aside from recognizing the benefits of preservation and access, Electronic Records Day also promotes the preservation of the electronic records themselves, which can deteriorate or become unreadable over time as computer programs change and develop.  Just because a document has been placed online doesn’t mean it is permanent — be sure to keep your records accessible by updating them as computer programs advance.  Don’t lose your personal or community history by neglecting to preserve your electronic documents!

You can search through thousands of Colorado state government documents at our library’s digital repository.  Other helpful repositories containing digital documents, particularly those from state colleges and universities, include the Digital Collections of Colorado repository, a consortium of Colorado public universities hosted by Colorado State University; the University of Colorado’s CU Scholar; and the University of Northern Colorado’s Digital UNC.  There are many others, so search your local library or university library’s website for digital documents.  Be sure to also check the Internet Archive for electronic documents
from libraries across the United States.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Data Breaches and Identity Theft

Several high-profile data breaches of retailers have occurred recently, so this holiday shopping season, be aware of how to protect yourself and your money.  Several state publications can help you prepare or recover from data breaches and/or identity theft.

What should I do if a data breach occurs at a place I have shopped or done business?
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has prepared a fact sheet, Tips Following a Data BreachHere you can find out about who to contact, whether you should opt for a credit freeze, and what kinds of suspicious activity to look for.  You can also find out more about credit freezes in CBI’s fact sheet How to Place a Freeze on Your Credit.

What can I do to protect myself from identity theft?
Carefully monitoring your credit and bank accounts is the best way to detect identity theft.  The CBI suggests you obtain and check your credit reports annually; they explain how in their Credit Reports fact sheet.  Also be sure to monitor your bank statements and your credit card transactions for any suspicious charges or withdrawals.

I own or manage a business.  How can I protect my customers’ or clients’ information?
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has published two helpful guides on identity theft for businesses:  Protecting Personal Information:  A Guide for Business and the Business Identity Theft Resource Guide.

My identity has been stolen.  Now what?
The Identity Theft Repair Kit from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office gives step-by-step instructions for what to do if your identity is stolen.  The kit is available online in both English and Spanish and can also be checked out in hard copy from our library.  The AG’s office has also issued a new website, www.stopfraudcolorado.gov, which includes an Identity Theft page with links and steps to take if you have been victimized.

How do I protect myself when doing business online?
The Stop Fraud Colorado website also includes a page on Digital Fraud, where you can find information on how to know if your account is in jeopardy; protect yourself against phishing and other email scams; protect yourself on Facebook; reduce spam; report digital fraud; and secure the data on your smart phone. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Go Code Colorado

Got an idea for an app?  Then the State of Colorado’s new Go Code Colorado contest is for you.  Sponsored by the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Secretary of State, the competition “is an apps challenge designed to make public data more accessible and user-friendly.  Teams of developers and entrepreneurs across the state will compete to solve business problems and grow our economy, by building apps that will help Colorado companies thrive.”  To learn more about the competition or to participate, go to the competition website, http://gocode.colorado.gov/.  The site also has helpful links to other State of Colorado datasets under its “data” tab, so be sure to check out these resources as well.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Byways Mobile App

Next time you travel aroud the state by car, be sure to download the new Colorado Scenic Byways Guide mobile app, available now from the Colorado Tourism Office.  (You can download the app here.)  The app can be used to find the locations of official Scenic and Historic Byways around the state, as well as for learning more information about them as you drive through, including facts about the history of the area.  If a mobile app is not for you, however, you can also check out one of several printed guides available from our library.  Or, for more information, visit the Colorado Dept. of Transportation’s Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways website.  On this site you can also find out how to request a free map.  Also be sure and view the Colorado Tourism Office’s full-color illustrated tourist guide, Life Along the Scenic and Historic Byways.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado History Exhibits – Online

Did you know that you can visit the History Colorado Center’s exhibits without ever leaving your chair?  They have set up an Online Exhibits website where you can go to view exhibits on Colorado History which tie in with the actual exhibits in the museum.  The online exhibits are fun and interactive, and while geared primarily toward students they can be enjoyed by all ages.  Right now you can view exhibits on the Amache Japanese relocation camp; Bent’s Fort; and Tribal Paths, a history of Colorado’s Native Americans.  Keep checking back because more exhibits, including Mesa Verde, Lincoln Hills, and Keota, are coming soon. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Internet Speed Test

The State of Colorado’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is offering a new tool for Colorado residents and businesses to test the speed of their broadband internet connection.  The speed test will allow the OIT to determine and help improve internet speeds across the state.  By taking the test, you can put your part of the state on the map for determining broadband speed and availability.  For more information and a link to take the test, click here.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Beware of New Cell Phone Phishing Scam

A new scam involving calls to Colorado cell phones has been identified.  The scam is a “phishing” scam whereby the caller pretends to be from the person’s financial institution and asks for account numbers and passwords.  The calls originate from a California phone number.  If you receive a call like this, DO NOT give out any personal information.  For more information on this scam, click here.  If you believe you have received this call and gave out personal information, alert your local police.  For helpful information on identity theft recovery, see the Colorado Attorney General’s Identity Theft Repair Kit, available from our library.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

New Resource: No DUI Colorado

Several state agencies have teamed up to offer Coloradans a new resource, No DUI Colorado (www.noduicolorado.org).  This helpful site is divided into three sections: 

  1. Preventing a DUI
  2. I got a DUI.  Now what? 
  3. Resources

The site also includes basic information on what constitutes a DUI or DWAI; DUI statistics and surveys; news; and a handy blood alcohol level calculator.  The State of Colorado has provided this resource to help all drivers make smart choices and avoid driving under the influence so that everyone stays safe on the road.  No DUI Colorado is especially helpful for new young drivers or for those who have had drunk driving problems in the past. 

The website is sponsored by the Colorado Dept. of Transportation, the Colorado Dept. of Human Services, the Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving, the Colorado Judicial Branch, the Colorado Dept. of Revenue, and the Colorado State Patrol.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Digital Citizenship Day

Today, April 22, has been designated as the first-ever “Colorado Digital Citizenship Day,” as recognized by the State Board of Education.  “Colorado Digital Citizenship Day will focus on the important issues facing children and their families in our 24/7 digital world,” according to the State Board’s resolution.  This includes children’s internet safety and privacy issues, and how families, schools, and students can work together to keep everyone safe online.  For resources on children’s internet safety, see the Colorado School Safety Resource Center’s “Internet Safety & Digital Responsibility” page; the Colorado Attorney General’s Safe Surfing brochure; and Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety from the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.  For more information on Colorado Digital Citizenship Day, see the Colorado Dept. of Education’s press release.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Digital Learning in Colorado

The Colorado Dept. of Education (CDE) and the Colorado Children’s Campaign have teamed up to study the effects of and opportunities for K-12 digital learning in Colorado, as required by HB12-1124.  The result is Digital Learning in Colorado, which examines the benefits of digital learning and how it affects student achievement and academic growth.   The study also looks at ways to expand opportunities for high-quality digital learning experiences to all Colorado students.  For more of the latest research on digital/online learning in our state, see the CDE Office of Online and Blended Learning’s reports page.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Service Outage: CoSPL Online Catalog

There will be a service outage for the Colorado State Publications Library online catalog (Pandora) this afternoon (August 28th) from 4:00 – 8:00pm. Our server will be undergoing maintenance. This outage will not affect access to digital state publications, but our bibliographic database of print and digital publications will be offline.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.