We’re donating 250,000 meals this Thanksgiving, thanks to CREDO members

While many of us have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, many families will find themselves at a food bank in search of a holiday meal. Last year alone, the number of people facing hunger rose to 38 million, including nearly 12 million children.

That’s why we’re donating 250,000 meals through our partnership with Feeding America as our very small way of giving back this Thanksgiving.

This donation is made possible by our loyal customers who use CREDO Mobile products and services every day — at no additional cost to them — and goes above and beyond our regular $150,000 monthly giving to the causes we all care about.

We simply can’t thank you enough for helping to make this donation possible. From our CREDO family to yours, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

-The whole team at CREDO Mobile

 

How to stop annoying and dangerous spam text messages

Spam text messages — they’re certainly annoying and definitely dangerous, as scammers are using more sophisticated techniques to get your personal information and take your money.

And the number of spam texts sent to phones across the country is skyrocketing. Scammers are on track to send a whopping 86 billion spam texts this year, with a projected financial loss of $101 million to consumers.

With a little bit of preparation, savvy and trusting your instincts, you can do your part to stop these spam texts and protect yourself from scammers. Check out a few ways to keep yourself safe from these annoying texts today.

Common spam texts

First, let’s go over some common spam texts that you might receive. These can range from an offer for free perk from a cable provider, a message from an “acquaintance” who wants to meet up, a notification from a bank that your account is closing or your credit or debit card is locked, or even a request to set your FedEx delivery preferences. 

Spam texts are almost always unwanted and unprovoked messages from senders you don’t know, so be on high alert when you receive a message from someone not in your contact list. If it feels like a spam text, it’s probably a spam text.

Never, ever click the link

In the above scenarios, which are called “smishing” or text phishing, the scammer wants you to reply to the text or click a link that directs you to a malicious site, which looks like an official website, to steal your data or install dangerous software to your phone. The sender may even be using a fake phone number to look like it came from the official source or from within your area code.

Whatever you do, do not reply or click the link, unless you are absolutely certain that the sender is who they say they are. Legitimate companies will never ask for your account information over text message. If you think the message may be real, call the company directly using a phone number you know is real or from its official website (not any number provided in the text) and inquire whether the text message was authentic.

Be careful replying with STOP 

In the past, if you’ve received a text message from a business and didn’t appreciate it, you may have replied with “STOP,” the way a legitimate business will unsubscribe you from their texting program. 

But if you’ve received a spammy text, you’re likely dealing with a scammer, who is probably attempting to break the law, so it’s pretty unlikely you will be removed from the scammer’s texting list. In fact, replying to the scammer could flag your phone number as active and open you up to more spam messages.

If you are sure the text originated from a real, ethical business (Google the number it to find out), you can reply with STOP. However, if you are uncertain, your best bet is not to reply to the text at all, and jump down to the next step.

Block the number & delete the message

You’ve received a spam text. You didn’t reply or click the link. Now what? Block the number then delete the text, so you don’t accidentally click or reply in the future.

All newer phones have the option to block a phone number from contacting you. However, this can turn into a game of whack-a-mole, since scammers can switch up their phone numbers frequently, but it’s still worth blocking the number from contacting you again. Here’s how to block a number on Apple and Android devices.

Use a Third-Party Spam Call & Text Blocker

If all else fails — and it might — a third-party app to identify and block annoying spam texts is a great option.

These apps enhance the caller ID functions of your phone, employ large blacklists of spam numbers to automatically block calls and texts in real time, along with other blocking features. Some apps are free with limited bells and whistles, while the paid apps have more robust features and customer service, which also comes with a monthly or yearly user fee.

Some popular spam blocking apps include Hiya: Caller ID & Spam Blocker (Free on iOS & Android), Nomorobo ($1.99 per device, per month + a 14 day free trial), and RoboKiller ($39.99/yr + 7 day free trial).

Report the spam message

You can report the message right from your messaging app to your device manufacturer, which in theory should help them improve spam blocking, as well as reporting the message to the authorities. 

For Apple devices, if you receive a text message from someone not in your contacts, you may have the option below the message that reads “Report Junk” which will report the message to Apple, but will NOT block the number. You will still need to block the number.

For Android devices, open the Messages app > Touch and hold the conversation > Tap Block > Report spam > OK.

You can also report the spam text to Federal Trade Commission at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov.

 

How to quickly make an emergency call with your smartphone

You hope you never have to do it, but someday you might: Making a call to your local emergency services.

We all know about dialing 9-1-1 directly, yet there are a couple ways to make it even faster and more convenient right from your home or locked screen, which can be especially helpful in an emergency situation.

In this tip, we’ll show you how to be prepared today if you ever need to call emergency services in the future.

In case of an emergency, your smartphone is the best tool to call for help — and with some preparation now, you’ll be ready to make a call quickly if an emergency arises. It may also be a good idea to memorize these steps so you won’t have to think twice during a fast-moving situation.

How to make an emergency call on iPhone

From the lock screen

If your phone is locked and you are unable to unlock it, you can quickly make an emergency call from the passcode screen by tapping “Emergency.” This will bring up a keypad from where you can dial 9-1-1.

Enable Emergency SOS

Emergency SOS is a feature built into all newer iPhones that allows you to make an emergency call almost instantly by pressing two buttons simultaneously on your phone. To use this feature, make sure you are running iOS 11 or later; the latest iOS is 15, so you probably are, but read how to find out which version you’re running and how to update it.

 Now, here’s how to enable and use Emergency SOS:

  1. For iPhone SE or iPhone 8 or later: 
    • This feature should already be enabled on your phone. To make an emergency call, click and hold your side (or top) button and either one of the volume buttons until a screen with a slider labeled “Emergency SOS” appears. 
    • Drag the slider to the right to make a call. Alternatively, your iPhone will make an audible alarm and begin countdown before it automatically makes a call.
    • To turn off the countdown, go to Settings > Emergency SOS and tap the toggle next to Countdown Sound.
  2. For older iPhones:
    • Quickly press your side button five times in a row, then drag the Emergency SOS slider.

For more information and limitations of this feature, visit this help article from Apple.

How to make an emergency call on Android

On Android devices, you can quickly make an emergency call by bypassing your lock screen and without unlocking your device. It may different depending on the manufacturer or model of your phone, but with Android, making an emergency call is very straightforward:

  1. If your lock screen is enabled, tap “Emergency call” at the bottom of the screen.
  2. When the dialer is visible, dial the number for your local emergency services, like 9-1-1.

 

How to magnify your smartphone’s screen to make reading easier

Do you ever have to squint to see the fine print on your smartphone? Or is it just plain difficult to read your screen after a tiring day looking at a computer?

Fortunately, there are some useful solutions to help you to easily magnify your smartphone’s screen to make seeing it much easier.

In this week’s tip, we’ll show you how to access these features in your phone’s accessibility settings to avoid headaches and make your screen more readable.

How to magnify your screen on iPhone and iPad

With Apple’s newest operating system, iOS 15, the company added a new accessibility feature called “Zoom”  — but not the video conference one you might be thinking about. Apple’s new Zoom feature allows you to instantly magnify parts of your screen with a few simple taps or swipes. 

This is similar to how you might zoom in on a browser or the Photos app with a finger and a thumb, but with Zoom, you can magnify any part of your screen anywhere on your phone, like in your social media apps that don’t allow zooming in.

With Zoom, you can enlarge the entire screen (Full Screen Zoom) or just parts of the screen (Window Zoom). Here’s how to get started:

  1. First, make sure your Apple device is running the latest version of iOS 15, which can be found at Settings > General > Software Update, or check out this article from Apple for more information.
  2. To turn on the Zoom feature, go to Settings > Accessibility > Zoom, then turn on Zoom.

Now, to use the Zoom feature, you will want to get used to using three fingers to tap and swipe, which is how the tool is enabled. 

  1. To zoom in, double-tap the screen with three fingers, then swipe up or down to magnify or shrink the screen.
  2. You can navigate around your magnified screen by dragging three fingers across the screen to your desired location.
  3. You can also triple-tap the screen with three fingers to bring up a menu, which allows you to adjust the zoom levels, as well as adjust settings.
  4. To adjust the settings with the Zoom menu, triple-tap with three fingers, then adjust any of the following:
    1. Choose Region: Choose Full Screen Zoom or Window Zoom.
    2. Resize Lens: (Window Zoom) Tap Resize Lens, then drag any of the round handles that appear.
    3. Choose Filter: Choose Inverted, Grayscale, Grayscale Inverted, or Low Light.
    4. Show Controller: Show the Zoom Controller.
  5. To use the Zoom Controller, do any of the following:
    1. Show the Zoom menu: Tap the controller.
    2. Zoom in or out: Double-tap the controller.
    3. Pan: When zoomed in, drag the controller.

Alternatively, if you want larger text all the time on your device, go to Settings > Accessibility > Display Text & Size > Larger Text, then adjust the size of the text with the slider.

How to magnify your screen on an Android device

Android also has magnification features built into your device’s accessibility settings. Here’s how to turn it on and use this useful feature, but make sure your device is running Android 11 or higher.

  1. To turn on magnification, go to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification
  2. Turn on the Magnification shortcut.

To zoom in (instructions via Google):

  1. Tap the accessibility button.
  2. Tap anywhere on the screen, except the keyboard or navigation bar.
  3. Drag 2 fingers to move around the screen.
  4. Pinch with 2 fingers to adjust zoom.
  5. To stop magnification, use your magnification shortcut again.

To zoom in temporarily

  1. Tap the accessibility button.
  2. Touch and hold anywhere on the screen, except the keyboard or navigation bar.
  3. Drag your finger to move around the screen.
  4. Lift your finger to stop magnification.

Alternatively, just like the iPhone, if you want larger text all the time on your device, head over to Settings > Accessibility > Text & Display, and tap Font size, where you can adjust the slider to change to your preferred font size. Learn more about how to adjust fonts and display on your Android device here.

 

Fight for the Future is defending our rights online with help from CREDO members

Fight for the Future is fighting to ensure that technology is a force for empowerment, free expression, and liberation rather than tyranny, corruption, and structural inequality.

As an intentionally small, fierce team of artists, engineers and activists, they have been behind the largest online protests in human history, channeling outrage into political power to win victories. 

Thanks to our members, Fight for the Future received a $51,557 grant this April to continue their important work — and here is just a small sample of some recent victories and new projects that our donation helped to enable.

Holding Amazon Accountable

Two years after Fight for the Future began working to end Amazon’s partnerships with local police departments, Amazon announced that it would no longer allow law enforcement to privately ask Ring camera owners for video footage. This is a huge concession. They also imposed limits on geographic location, amount of inquiries per incident, and restricted video requests for lawful incidents like protests. But this policy shift does not change the fundamental dangers or racial profiling that accompanies widespread use of Amazon’s interconnected cameras in homes, mailboxes, and vehicles. So in the coming months Fight for the Future will be working to push lawmakers to protect people by banning corporate surveillance partnerships with the police, starting at the local level with city council ordinances and direct pressure on progressive mayors.

This past summer, as the one-year anniversary of Amazon’s moratorium on selling facial recognition tech to the police approached, Fight for the Future, Media Justice, the Athena Coalition, and other civil rights groups, called for a permanent ban. After groups met with shareholders and held protests in cities across the country, Amazon announced a moratorium on selling Rekognition to police ‘until further notice.’ This is a big victory but the groups are still calling for Amazon to completely divest from facial recognition technology.

Banning facial recognition surveillance in retail stores

Fight for the Future led a coalition of 35+ organizations to launch the first major campaign to ban facial recognition surveillance in retail stores. In just a few weeks, its scorecard campaign has resulted in 19 major brands like Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s and CVS to say they won’t use facial recognition in their stores or on their employees. 

But Macy’s has doubled down on its use — it’s actually the only retailer that has confirmed it uses facial recognition and tried to justify its use — which is why Fight for the Future targeted the department store in a back-to-school action. The group  rented a mobile billboard and drove it outside Macy’s downtown D.C. location to draw attention to the company’s use of facial recognition, especially on kids. Now Fight for the Future is working to build a list of small and local businesses that have pledged not to use facial recognition and endanger customers and workers in their stores. This strategy follows other private-sector facial recognition campaigns, like those against festivals and college campuses. The group is continuing to pick sectors where the threat is real, and where they think they can make headway with interrupting the spread of facial recognition as we continue to fight for legislative bans on the technology.

If you’d like to learn more about Fight for the Future’s important work defending our rights in the digital age, please visit their website and take action on a recent campaign, or follow them on Twitter or Instagram.

CREDO funding helps NDWA fight for the rights of domestic workers

At the National Domestic Workers Alliance, we believe that domestic work makes all other work possible.

NDWA works for the respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections of domestic workers, the majority of whom are immigrants and women of color. Driven by the lived experiences and aspirations of domestic workers, we employ five main strategies to transform the domestic work sector:

  • Organizing domestic workers and developing leaders by providing a space for workers to share information, build skills with training and resources, access benefits, get support, and organize to win rights
  • Developing policy solutions and deliver wins through economic recovery, immigration, caregiving, survivor, and essential worker advocacy
  • Changing the story by leveraging the power of popular culture to shift key narratives and elevate character-driven stories of domestic workers
  • Innovating by using technology to solve for equity and dignity and to find new ways to make work better for domestic workers
  • Mobilizing underrepresented women of color voters because we know that when women of color vote, we build a better world.

Thanks to the leadership of nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers, we are on the cusp of winning historic investments in caregiving and immigration through President-elect Biden’s Build Back Better plan.We have the opportunity to accelerate policies that protect workers and raise standards at the state and city levels in part due to partnerships advising on cash assistance, new policy, reopening guidelines, and pivots from relief to recovery. 

Along with our coalition partners, we will also continue to seize the opportunity created by the current visibility and appreciation for essential workers to uplift domestic and home care workers’ inherent value and dignity. 

With your vote and CREDO’s support, NDWA will continue to forge new pathways to make every job into a good, living wage job with benefits by 2030 and to create a multi-racial democracy where women of color are supported to lead.

Preventing Climate Catastrophe and Building a Better Future with Earthworks

Communities First

At a time when so many people around the world are facing so many threats, should we really be putting ourselves at risk in the name of dirty and unnecessary fossil fuel production?

Fossil fuels pose risks at almost all stages. From the moment oil and gas is pulled from the ground to final consumption, these fuels threaten our health, environment, and climate. Technologies like fracking (hydraulic fracturing) poison our water, cause air pollution, and scar our landscapes.

Earthworks has been working at the intersection of dirty energy and climate change for years. In 2014, we started using Optical Gas Imaging cameras to expose the invisible methane venting from oil and gas wells. And for years we’ve been exposing the harm, advocating for better regulation of existing infrastructure, and stopping new fossil fuel development.

And now, we’re working to transition to a clean, just, and equitable energy future by ensuring that the minerals we need for new renewable technologies are responsibly sourced and don’t harm communities or the environment.

Oil and gas producers burn off excess gas when they are unable to transport it to customers. This “flaring” releases significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

Case Study: The Permian Basin

To head off climate catastrophe, fossil fuel production and consumption must decline steeply and rapidly. The opposite is happening in the Permian Basin, a vast expanse of land across west Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

The region is experiencing a fracking boom. Oil and gas production has more than quadrupled in the past decade and is projected to grow even more aggressively in the coming decade. Weaning America and the world off oil and gas will be much harder if production keeps growing. Yet the Permian Basin could produce more oil, gas, and gas liquids in the next 30 years than it has in the past century.

Our newest report, Permian Climate Bomb exposes the climate, public health, economic, and social impacts of the Permian fracking boom. By following the flow of Permian hydrocarbons from extraction to export, illustrating the community consequences of the associated infrastructure buildout, and working directly with individuals confronting the industry, we’re exposing just how dangerous the Permian Basin is for our climate.

A Clean, Just, and Equitable Future

Shutting down the fossil fuel industry isn’t the only thing we have to do. Earthworks is working towards transition to a 100% renewable energy economy — one that no longer depends on fossil fuels. Solar, wind, and battery technologies are competitive and growing rapidly, while their costs continue to fall. Yet, as with any transition, we must prepare for, and ensure against, unintended consequences. We must create a renewable energy future that doesn’t cause harm to communities through dirty mining.

Renewable energy and battery production rely on minerals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, and copper. Demand for these minerals is skyrocketing. Mineral extraction already brings devastating harm to people and the environment. But we know that renewable energy production does NOT have to mean the degradation of communities and special places. By partnering with frontline communities, creating stricter standards for extraction, and promoting responsible sourcing with renewable energy companies, we can minimize the harm from renewable technologies.

Earthworks Senior Field Advocate Sharon Wilson showing Texas Representative Vikki Goodwin invisible emissions from oil and gas infrastructure with an Optical Gas Imaging camera.

Will You Join Us?

We don’t have much time to prevent climate catastrophe. Defeating the political and economic power of the fossil fuel and mining industries will not be easy — but we know it must be done.

Though it may sometimes seem that progress is impossible, remember that the momentum for change keeps building. And it’s so important to keep speaking up for what’s right.

Will you join us in standing in solidarity with those on the frontlines? If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll vote for Earthworks on CREDO’s donation page. I also invite you to watch the new multi-media report at www.permianclimatebomb.org. Thank you for your support!

Earthworks West Texas Field Associate Miguel Escoto at a climate protest in El Paso, Texas.

Write a Letter, Change a Life with Amnesty International

Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is the largest country section of Amnesty International, a membership-based global human rights movement founded on the idea that every person can make a difference standing up for the rights of others wherever they may be. For six decades, we have been seen worldwide as the premier grassroots organization demanding human rights for every person and tackling the most pressing challenges to human rights. 

Our vision is of a world in which every person enjoys their full range of human rights, and our mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other international rights instruments. Combined with our award-winning research, our members, supporters and activists—over 10 million globally—work to advocate in their communities and beyond to ensure that all people can claim the full spectrum of their human rights and to amplify the voices of human rights defenders and individuals at risk everywhere.

Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s largest annual human rights campaign, held throughout the fall to mark Human Rights Day on December 10th. Each year, AIUSA activists and supporters around the world write letters to support people at risk and help end human rights abuses, such as the imprisonment of individuals solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs or identity—people we call prisoners of conscience. 

Through Write for Rights, millions of people around the world, like you, each write a letter to the government official(s) responsible for the case. These letters pile up in their offices and can’t be ignored. We supplement these letters with e-mail actions, lobbying, media attention, and social media to increase the pressure on those officials. We also write “solidarity” notes to the people we are trying to help, or their families, to give them hope. 

Each year the campaign focuses on the cases of ten different individuals. This year’s cases include human rights defenders and individuals at risk in Egypt, Mexico, Thailand, Belarus and beyond. Write for Rights shines a spotlight on human rights defenders like Bernardo Caal Xol in Guatemala, who was jailed for protecting a sacred river while doing everything he can to peacefully protect his people’s land and natural resources from plunder and biodiversity loss. Or activists Anna Sharyhina and Vira Chernygina, who have been repeatedly attacked for defending LGBTI and women’s rights in Ukraine. 

Good news from previous Write for Rights cases:     

“To everyone who sent me countless letters from around the world…I want to express my deep gratitude, while in prison, these actions lifted my spirit and reminded me of the importance of international solidarity in the struggle for human rights.”Taner Kilic. Former Amnesty Turkey Board Chair, released after more than 14 months behind bars. 2017 Write for Rights – Turkey. 

“Thank you very much each and every one of you. Not just for campaigning for my release, and the release of other prisoners, but for helping to keep our hope and our beliefs alive.”Phyoe Phyoe Aung, Student leader imprisoned after peaceful protest, freed in 2016. 2015 Write for Rights – Myanmar. 

 Ready to get writing? Here’s how to get started: 

  1.     SIGN UP: at write.amnestyusa.org 
  2.     DOWNLOAD: our guide with the cases, addresses and instructions 
  3.     WRITE: from now until December 20, 2021 
  4.     REPORT: your letters by January 31, 2022 at write.amnesty.org/impact 

For any questions, you can reach out to our team at: w4r@aiusa.org 

Even if you only have time to write one letter, it counts. Through our collective power, prison doors will open, families will be reunited, justice will be achieved, and human rights activists will be safe and supported in continuing their important work to change the world. 

CREDO and supporters like you make it possible for us to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied—thank you! 

March for human rights in Bangalore, India, 10 December 2018. #AbkibaarManavAdhikar
Amnesty International members and supporters march through central Bangalore to mark International Human Rights day on 10 December 2018.

Join three free online training sessions with Hollaback!

Our grantee Hollaback! works to end harassment in all its forms by transforming the culture that perpetuates hate and harassment. Last month, CREDO members voted to donate over $42,000 to help the organization build the power of everyday people to create safe and welcoming environments for all.

This month, Hollaback would like to invite CREDO members to join one, two or three free virtual trainings covering street harassment, bystander intervention and implicit bias. These trainings are a great way to learn some concrete tools and techniques to protect yourself and your communities from harassment and bias.

Here’s more information from Hollaback about each session with links to sign up today:

Stand Up Against Street Harassment 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 5PM ET / 2PM PT

We all have a responsibility to do something when we see street harassment happening, but too often we freeze. We don’t know what to do. Bystander intervention gives us tools to intervene without compromising our own safety. During this training you’ll learn a clear, adaptable, and expert-approved set of tools that have been proven to reduce the prevalence of street harassment. Then, we’ll talk about what to do if you experience harassment and give you tools to safely get your power back.

8 Strategies to Mitigate Implicit Bias Training 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 2PM ET / 11AM PT 

Everyone holds implicit biases. That doesn’t make us “bad people,” it just means that we have work to do. This one-hour, interactive training will teach you how to understand and begin to mitigate your own implicit biases using 8 proven strategies.

Bystander Intervention to Support Latinx Communities in Public Spaces Training

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 1PM ET / 10AM PT

In honor of Latino Heritage Month and to bring awareness to the increase of harassment toward the Latinx community in recent years, Hollaback! is offering a free, one-hour, interactive training to train people on how to safely intervene when they witness Latinx people experiencing harassment in public using Hollaback!’s 5D’s of bystander intervention.

Vote for Amnesty International, Earthworks and National Domestic Workers Alliance this November

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This November, you can support human rights, climate justice, workers’ rights by voting to fund Amnesty International, Earthworks, and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Amnesty International

For over six decades, Amnesty International has been the premier grassroots organization demanding human rights for every person. Combined with Amnesty’s research, its supporters —over 10 million globally—advocate in their communities and beyond to ensure that all people can claim the full spectrum of their human rights and to amplify the voices of human rights defenders and individuals at risk everywhere.

Funding from CREDO members will help Amnesty International to expand its membership as much as possible so as to have the greatest possible impact on human rights advocacy.

Earthworks

Earthworks partners with frontline activists fighting fossil fuels and dirty mining. Earthworks’ optical gas imaging cameras show methane’s role in accelerating the climate crisis. The organization advocates for a clean energy transition and sustainable minerals economy.

CREDO support will help build a more diverse climate movement that centers the voices of frontline communities and the grassroots. Together, we can move away from fossil fuels to a renewable energy future that doesn’t rely on dirty mining.

National Domestic Workers Alliance

NDWA organizes to win respect, recognition, and labor rights and protections for the more than 2.2 million nannies, house cleaners, and homecare workers—mostly immigrants and women of color—who do the essential work of caring for our loved ones and our homes.

Funding from CREDO will help us organize to meet the challenges of this crucial time when we have the opportunity to raise standards and change the lives of 2.2 million domestic workers across the country.

Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by November 30.

CREDO members who use our products and services everyday are the reason we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.