Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
Albany (Georgia) Herald on phone scammers:
Americans are finding their lives more and more virtually wired to the Internet.
Our dependence on being connected to the Web for everything from finding our destination to paying our bills to knowing what's going on with friends to scheduling appointments is scary enough. But with all that information is packed into electronic devices, many that are no bigger than a deck of playing cards (another obsolete item, thanks to online poker and solitaire), our lives are, for all practical purposes, at the tips of our fingers every day.
That's why an alert issued by the Better Business Bureau on Tuesday bears mentioning. The Columbus BBB Office, which serves Southwest Georgia, says an old scam has resurfaced in search of new prey.
According to the BBB, what's happening is folks are getting calls at home from scammers claiming to be Microsoft Support employees. The caller claims that he or she is alerting the call recipient to a real-time problem — a home computer that is uploading a virus as they speak.
The caller wants the computer owner to provide him with information about the computer so that it can be remotely accessed and the problem gotten rid of. The computer also may be directed to visit a website — one is www.win32.us — to prove that the caller is legitimate.
"Of course, nothing can be further from the truth," the BBB said. "This is the return of an old scam."
If you get a call like this, the BBB suggests that you take these steps:
— Hang up immediately;
— Do not try to call the number back;
— Do not provide any information which will allow the caller remote access to your computer;
— Perform a simple Internet search about the nature of the call (that often will bring a wealth of information and alert you to it being a scam);
— Contact your local BBB for assistance.
The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle on stronger borders:
If America's border security is so weak to be breached by thousands of unaccompanied Central American children, what's to stop grown-ups from less hospitable regions from doing the same?
Answer: Not much, apparently.
But don't take our word for it. Check the recent intelligence report compiled by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which reveals that thousands of immigrants from as far away as Africa and Asia have been caught illegally crossing the southern border, from 2010 to as recently as last month.
The report, now available online, also reveals at least 71 people from the three west African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak were among those who were caught or who turned themselves in between January and July of this year.
At the risk of engaging in "fear-mongering" - as some liberal pundits have accused "right-wing media" outlets of stoking with illegal-immigration health reporting - the Border Patrol document illustrates precisely why nations must have secure borders.
It isn't just that that a potentially Ebola-infected illegal immigrant slipped in. It's that they easily could have, given the porosity of our southern border and the Border Patrol's preoccupation with housing, feeding and transporting the recent wave of illegal immigrant children from Central America.
It usually is prudent to avoid "overreacting" to a crisis, but when it comes to controlling the spread of Ebola - a highly fatal illness for which there is no cure - isn't an extremely heightened reaction precisely what this nation needs?
Indeed, Tom Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday that people "inevitably" would enter the United States with Ebola symptoms.
It is not possible to know how many illegal border-crossers went undetected. A federal report last year said the Border Patrol estimates it apprehends only 60 percent of those who enter illegally.
Anyone with nefarious intentions knows the easiest way to get into the United States is through its southern border. It's only a matter of time before they exploit that weakness further.
The Marietta (Georgia) Daily Journal on CDC's decision:
Did U.S. public health officials make the right decision when they allowed to Americans stricken with the deadly Ebola virus to be flown into Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta en route from Africa to their final destination at Emory University Hospital?
Yes, without question.
Moreover, the episode reinforces the importance of Dobbins, and the need to keep it in operation in the face of congressional budget-cutters. It is not possible to land planes bearing such patients at Hartsfield or any other commercial airport.
Many have criticized the decision to fly the two home, saying that doing so put the population here at risk. But most of those making such comments know next to nothing about Ebola, other than that is deadly, which is true.
But the virus is not an airborne one, unlike the influenza. Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected or dead person — that is, their blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. That makes casual transmission all but impossible.
To his credit, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) was one of the first prominent Georgians to publicly defend those who made the decision to return the two stricken Americans here (Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol).
Moreover, the current situation is akin to what happens when U.S. citizens overseas find themselves at risk from foreign revolutionaries or bandits: We send in the Marines or other forces to rescue them and bring them home. This is no different.