Our November grantees thank you for your support

Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups working for human rights, climate justice and workers’ rights. In November, CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to Amnesty International, Earthworks and National Domestic Workers Alliance.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our November grant recipients thank you.

Amnesty International
$50,232

“Thank you for your continued partnership! CREDO members like you help support Amnesty International’s mission to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of human rights. Together we can create a world in which every person enjoys the full range of their human rights.”

To learn more, visit https://www.amnestyusa.org.

Earthworks
$52,627

Thank you! You are standing in solidarity with activists fighting fossil fuels and dirty mining. You are advancing policies to reduce climate super pollutants like methane and promoting the use of sustainable minerals in clean energy technologies.” – Jennifer Krill, Executive Director, Earthworks

To learn more, visit www.earthworks.org.

National Domestic Workers Alliance
$47,141

“Thank you! Support from CREDO members like you helps us to advocate for the rights of the domestic workers who do the essential work of caring for our loved ones and our homes and to transform the way care work is understood, valued, and compensated.” – Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

To learn more, visit http://domesticworkers.org/.

Now check out the three groups we are funding in December, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.

How to travel safely and (mostly) stress-free this holiday season

This holiday season, people are on the move, eager to travel to see friends and family and make this year look more like 2019 than our pandemic holiday season last year.

Travel sites are seeing spikes in traffic and bookings, and AAA predicts that more than 53 million people will travel over the holidays, the biggest one-year increase since 2005. That also means crowded airports, standstill traffic and frustrating delays.

Yet, unlike 2019, we’re still coping with a lingering pandemic, with new variants on the way, and that’s making traveling a bit harder and more stressful. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with some helpful tips to make your trip safer and maybe even help reduce our anxiety a little bit on the way.

Continue to take pandemic precautions 

First things first: Masks, social distancing and hand hygiene continue to play an important role to keep you and those around you safe and healthy

Masks covering your mouth and nose continue to be required on public transportation, like planes, busses and subways, for most people and circumstances, regardless of vaccination status — so be sure to pack extra for your trip. The Centers for Disease Control have a number of recommendations and suggestions for what kinds of masks you should buy and how they should properly fit. Consider wearing high quality masks like N95, KN95 and KF94 when you’re in crowded indoor areas where you do not know others’ vaccination statuses.

And speaking of vaccines, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated people should delay travel until they are fully vaccinated, not to travel if they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, and if not vaccinated, to get tested before and after traveling. 

If you are traveling internationally, you must check whether or not the country you enter requires proof of vaccination or a negative test. Right now, we are not aware of any location that requires a booster shot (but if you are able to get one, it’s a very good idea.)

Store your vaccine record on your phone

Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to show proof of vaccination during your travels, at a port of entry, or to enter a food or entertainment establishment. The easiest way to prove your status is by showing the physical copy of your vaccination record, but there’s a chance you could lose or damage that precious card during your travels.

There are a lot of alternatives to carrying the paper record with you, and most of those involve — you guessed it — your smartphone. You can take a photo of the card or use an app or smartphone wallet that stores your digital vaccine record. We highlighted a few ways in a recent post on how to store your vaccine record on your smartphone.

Be honest with yourself, family and friends

We all have different levels of risk tolerance when it comes to the pandemic, and it’s important to communicate those to the loved ones you’re visiting long before you begin your travel, to avoid last minute stress and confusion and ensure everyone is comfortable and feels safe.

Questions that you can ask yourself and your loved ones include: 

  • Should everyone be vaccinated and/or tested prior to your gatherings? 
  • Will anyone quarantine before the visit?
  • Will people feel comfortable indoors without masks?
  • Will anyone who is too young to be immunized or immunocompromised be present? If so, how will you ensure their safety?
  • What are the parameters of the gathering, like how many people will be present, how long will it be indoors, and will everyone agree to the rules you set?

The CDC published some guidance on safer ways to celebrate the holidays, which includes some suggestions on avoiding large crowds, moving large gatherings outdoors, if possible, and other considerations.

Reduce travel stress and anxiety

Traveling during normal times was already stressful — and it’s much more so today — so taking a moment to reduce your anxiety can really help make a difference. When things get a little overwhelming, it might be time to step back, take a break and manage our own stress and anxiety levels. 

Check out this list we recently curated suggesting some apps to help you manage stress and anxiety.

 

Vote for Carbon 180, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Vote.org this December

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This December, you can support climate justice, reproductive rights, voting rights by voting to fund Carbon180, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Vote.org.

Carbon180

Carbon180 is on a mission to fundamentally rethink carbon. We work alongside lawmakers to design policies that remove carbon from the atmosphere and offer co-benefits to communities on the frontlines of climate change.

CREDO funding will go directly to realizing full-scale carbon removal, an absolute must for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

NARAL Pro-Choice America

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its 2.5 million members fight for reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body.

This is a defining moment for reproductive freedom. CREDO’s support will allow us to empower our members to use their voices, to protect and expand abortion access at the state and federal level, and to mobilize to elect reproductive freedom champions.

Vote.org 

Vote.org is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan voting registration and get out the vote technology platform in America, registering over 6.6 million voters and helping users keep track of deadlines, polling locations and other essential voting info.

Funding from CREDO members will help us contact historically excluded voters across the country, providing them with the information, tools, and support they need to overcome systemic hurdles and participate in the 2022 midterm elections.

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 December 31.

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.

CREDO 2021 Grantee Holiday Gift Guide

Are you still searching for the perfect gift for someone in your life? You’re in luck!

We’re pleased to present our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, featuring gifts by some of our recent grantees. Not only will you find a great and affordable gift, you’ll help support the causes you care about, like voting rights, reproductive freedom, civil rights and climate justice.

So without further ado, check out this year’s holiday gift guide and find a special gift this holiday season.

Vote.org — “Vote From Home” Socks

Our partners at Vote.org work to simplify political engagement, increase voter turnout, and strengthen American democracy with the goal of reaching historically underserved voters of color and underrepresented young voters. In 2020, that meant helping over 3.4 million voters request mail ballots so they could safely vote from home. 

Help them spread the word with these cozy made-in-the-USA Vote From Home socks, then head to Vote.org to request your mail ballot for your next election.

Amnesty International — 60 Years T-Shirt

Amnesty International was founded in 1961 on the idea that together people can change the world. Today, Amnesty is a worldwide movement for human rights, calling on the collective power of our members, each one committed to fighting for justice, equality, and freedom everywhere. 

Join Amnesty in celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with our limited-run collection of merchandise, like this 60th Anniversary T-Shirt and check out more great merch at https://shop.amnestyusa.org/

Fight for the Future – Digital Rights Sticker Packs

Help someone in your life show their support for digital rights on their laptop and more while supporting an organization that is leading the fight. 

Go to Fight for the Future’s store to find their full collection of stickers and other merch including hoodies, beanies, posters and more. The stickers are printed on durable, high opacity adhesive vinyl which makes them perfect for regular use, as well as for covering other stickers or paint. The high-quality vinyl ensures there are no bubbles when applying the stickers. These stickers make a great gift for the tech policy nerd in your life. 

NARAL Pro-Choice America — NARAL Beanie

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its 2.5 million members fight for reproductive freedom for every body. Each day, they organize and mobilize to protect that freedom by fighting for access to abortion care, birth control, paid parental leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination. Its member-driven campaigns have propelled political and cultural change, from statehouses to the White House. And since 1990, CREDO voters have shown up for NARAL’s work, helping send $700,000 in support. This December, NARAL is thrilled to again be featured by CREDO.  

At the NARAL Pro-Choice America store, you can pick up all sorts of merch for the movement, including a NARAL Beanie. This super soft, stretchy beanie fits most heads and sends everyone you meet a message they can’t ignore: it’s time to expand abortion access. You can also pick up bags, stickers, face masks, and even fanny packs to show your support for reproductive freedom. 

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum — AAPI T-Shirt

There’s a misconception that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are a ‘sleeping political giant.’ But AAPI women are awake, aware, and activated. 

By purchasing this t-shirt, you can support AAPI women nationwide in NAPAWF’s fight for a more just world. Together, we can be a force for change. 

Slow Food USA — Swag Kit

Slow Food is a global network of local communities that believes in uniting the joy of food with the pursuit of justice. The organization is committed to transforming the world to guarantee good, clean and fair food for all.

This holiday season, consider bidding on a Slow Food USA Swag Kit including t-shirt, tote bag, bamboo utensil kit, and snail pin — or another item in their auction catalog.

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.