You can prevent vehicle theft!
Most cars are taken by amateurs who can be stopped fairly easily. You can increase protection against this type of crime by taking the following precautions:
- An unlocked car is an open invitation to a car thief. Lock up when you leave your car, and take the keys with you.
- Lock the trunk or tailgate.
- Close all windows - professional thieves have tools that unlock cars through the smallest openings.
- Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight.
- When you park the car, remove cellular phones, cassette players and other valuable possessions. Do not leave gift-wrapped packages or cameras lying on the seat. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
- Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas station, convenience store or mini-mall.
- Don't leave an auto in unattended public parking lots for an extended period. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or attended lot.
- If possible, park your car in a lot where you don't have to leave your key.
- Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car and your home. If you have to leave your keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.
- At night, park in well-lit areas with lots of people around.
- Turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking. This makes it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.
- With an electric engraver, etch your driver's license number (preceded by the letters "IN" on cassette players and other valuable items.
- Record your vehicle identification number (located on a small metal plate on the dashboard of newer cars) and store it in a safe place.
- Keep the vehicle registration in your wallet or purse, not in your car.
Use anti-theft devices
- When buying a car, check the manufacturer's list of anti-theft options, such as interior hood and trunk releases, locking steering columns and others.
- Consider the purchase and installation of security devices such as:
- Interior hood lock release.
- Second ignition switch or "kill switch" to prevent electrical current from reaching the coil distributor.
- Fuel switch to prevent fuel from reaching the carburetor.
- Locking gas cap.
- Locking devices for batteries, wheels, decks, etc.
- Alarm device to activate a siren, horn or lights - or all three - to frighten the thief away.
- Device that attaches to the steering wheel or brake pedal.
- Keep your doors locked.
- Park in well-lit, busy areas.
- Be alert of your surroundings, of people approaching your vehicle.
- Stick with the traffic, avoid lightly traveled streets, especially after dark.
- Keep car and house keys on separate key chains.
- Keep the garage door opener in your purse or briefcase.
- When stopped in traffic, always leave enough room to make an emergency getaway.
- If someone is threatening you with a weapon, give up the vehicle - it's not worth your life.
- How to prevent theft of other motor vehicles
- Theft of snowmobiles, motorcycles, boats and trail-bikes are also increasing. Many of the same precautions that apply to cars also apply to recreational vehicles.
- Make sure all easy to carry items like motors, water skis and camping gear are locked before leaving your vehicle.
- Vehicles carried on trailers should be secured with a strong chain and padlock.
- When the trailer is not attached to your car, secure it with a heavy chain and lock to a stationary object.
- Chain your motorcycle or snowmobile to a stationary object such as a lamppost or sewer grating. Even when your vehicle is in the garage, use a heavy chain and padlock that resists conventional steel hacksaw blades.
Burglary is a crime that can be prevented, if the homeowner takes an aggressive approach. By looking at the tips below, a homeowner can reduce the probability of becoming a victim of burglary.
Ensure that all the lights are working around the perimeter of the home. Use energy efficient bulbs and install motion sensor lighting on the rear of the property.
- Light fixtures should use transparent vandal resistant covers and all light fixtures should be placed high enough to prevent unwanted persons from having access to them.
- Lights should be near the porch, garage and any other areas where people will stand.
- Carports should be illuminated during all hours of the night.
- When the homeowner is not at home, use lights set on digital timers so that the times vary. Other appliances, such as stereos can also be added to digital timers. Adjust these so that it appears that someone is home. For example, the light and TV are on in the living room. A short time later, the lights and the stereo in the bedroom turn on, and moments later the living room electronics turn off.
- Choose landscaping that is thorny under windows, but be sure that mature height does not impair natural surveillance.
- Landscaping near windows should remain below the window sill.
- Shrubbery and bushes should be trimmed below four (4) feet when near sidewalks and driveways.
- Trees should be trimmed so that the lowest branches are not below six (6) feet.
- Avoid placing landscaping rocks near doors and windows. These provide a means for breaking windows and glass doors.
- Landscaping should be used along sidewalks and any other areas where you would want to channel a person throughout the property, or to keep them out. Remember the height recommendations.
- House numbers should be added to the front of the home. For those homes that have a rear alley, it is recommended that you add house numbers to the rear as well.
Doors and Windows
- Doors are usually the first choice of burglars. All exterior doors should be supplemented with a double cylinder deadbolt lock with a 1 inch throw. Replace the locks that do not have a free rotating bevel beauty ring.
- If "lock bumping" is a concern, then replace all exterior locks with newer "anti-bump" locks.
- Exterior doors should have a solid core (2 3/4 thick is preferred) with hinge pins located on the interior. If the hinge pins are outside (outward swing door), replace the hinge with a security style hinge.
- Exterior doors without glass should have a viewer installed at various heights to allow all the residents to look before opening the door.
- Teach all residents to check before opening the door. Keep the doors locked.
- Supplement the inside locks with a chain style, or something similar to the "door club".
- Replace the strike plate with a security style strike plate. Use 3 inch screws whenever possible. This allows the screw to dig into the framing of the home, not just the soft wood door frame.
- Sliding doors should be supplemented with locks, which if not supplied with the door, can be purchased at local hardware stores. A simple solution still in use is the rod applied to the track of the sliding door.
- A rod cut to length can also be used for windows.
- Check your wall console for the garage door to see if it has a lock which makes the car remote inoperable. If so, lock this overnight and anytime your are away from home for extended periods of time.
- Side or rear maintenance doors on the garage should have a double cylinder deadbolt lock with a 1 inch throw.
- Do not leave your name and the dates when you will be gone on your answering machine.
- Avoid leaving your garage door remote in the car whenever possible. Also, avoid leaving the garage door open as much as possible so that people cannot see what you have available for them to steal. Sometimes this occurs while the homeowner is inside the residence unaware that someone has stolen items from the garage. In addition, the garage door should be closed overnight.
- Install an alarm if possible, and supplement with signage to indicate that an alarm is present.
- Ask a close friend or neighbor to watch your home when you are away for extended periods.
- Maintain your home. Both well maintained homes and those that are not well maintained have items of value inside them. However, homes that are not well maintained tell a criminal that your are less likely to care about your home, and what happens to it. Therefore, you are less likely to prosecute too.
- Join or start a Neighborhood Watch program.
- Place heavy items such as lawnmowers, snow blowers, etc. in front of any service entry doors (side entry garage door).
- Remove any garbage cans that would provide a "natural ladder" onto the roof of your home. Also, trees that are too close to the home may provide a way for an intruder to gain access to your roof or second floor windows.
The Kendallville Police Department would like to remind you to take precautions to protect your home. Also, download the Home Security Checklist and use it as a guide as you check your home for safety measures.
Identity theft has become the fastest growing crime in the United States and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Indiana's most prevalent form of I.D. theft is "utilities fraud". This indicates that after the thief obtains YOUR information, that he/she will most likely use it to open up an account with the gas company, telephone company, electric company, etc.
- Buy and use a cross-cut shredder. Shred EVERYTHING! Thieves can find a lot of "pieces to the puzzle" in your discarded trash.
- Avoid leaving your mail in the mailbox overnight. Retrieve it as soon as possible.
- Avoid giving out your personal information including account numbers over the telephone and internet unless you are the one who initiated contact. A common form of this is when the thief finds out your bank's name and contacts you portraying to be them. Conduct account updating or other personal information recordkeeping in person whenever possible. This form of I.D. theft is called "phishing".
- Opt out of pre-approved credit cards by calling 1-800-680-7293.
- Request companies to stop selling your personal information. This can be done by writing to EACH of the three major credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Experian & Equifax).
- Keep only the necessary credit cards and other personal information needed in your purse/wallet. Report lost or stolen cards as soon as possible. Write down the telephone number and name of each card you own (no account numbers please) and keep these in several locations such as the glove box, the desk at home, your office desk, etc.
- Request a copy of your credit report(s) as often as allowed.
- File a police report. Most banks, affidavits, etc. require a police report number (control number) to help regain your identity and limit your exposure.
Please visit the Federal Trade Commission for more great ideas on identity theft prevention and tips for what you should do if you are a victim. Their website is www.FTC.gov.
The internet places a vast amount of information and exciting experiences at your command. With the click of a mouse, the internet allows you to buy an airline ticket, book a hotel, send flowers to a friend or purchase your favorite stock. However, as the legitimate use of the internet increases throughout our nation and the world, the wrongful use of the internet to commit crime and victimize people also increases. The following internet crime prevention information is meant to help you protect yourself, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors and your community and to make your journey on the internet as safe as possible.
Children can be sexually exploited, kidnapped, molested and solicited by individuals using online services. One reason is the anonymous nature of the internet. Another reason is the large number of people using the internet. Pedophiles contact children on the internet through email messages, electronic bulletin boards and public chat rooms. Pedophiles will make telephone contact with victims by having children call collect so the pedophile's telephone number will not show up on their parent's telephone bill. Pedophiles will also purchase a prepaid telephone card and give children a toll free access number enabling children to call from anywhere they choose.
Pedophiles will often convince children to send them a photograph. Pedophiles will offer children money for their photographs and/or pose as professional photographers to obtain nude, graphic or sexually explicit photographs of children. Pedophiles commonly attempt to lower the inhibitions of children through deception in an attempt to lead children into other sexual conversations or acts. There are a number of ways parents can protect their children from becoming victims of pedophiles on the internet. the following are some examples:
- Choose an online service that offers parental control features;
- Purchase blocking software and design your own safety system;
- Monitor children that are online and monitor the time they spend online;
- Ensure children never reveal identifying information about themselves on the internet in a public chat room, on an electronic bulletin board or in their email messages;
- Ensure children do not give out personal information about themselves such as their age;
- Consider using a pseudonym or un-listing your child's name;
- Get to know the services your child uses;
- Block out objectionable material through your internet service provider;
- Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without parental permission;
- Ensure children never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or threatening;
- Encourage children to tell you whenever they encounter such messages;
- If you or your children receives a message that is harassing, sexual in nature or threatening, forward a copy of the message to your service provider and ask for their assistance;
- If you become aware of the transmission, use or viewing of child pornography while online, report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children;
- Teach children that people online may not be who they seem;
- Teach children online service providers never ask for passwords and they should never give their password out;
- Teach children that everything they read or see on the internet may not be true;
- Teach children to never let anyone pressure them into doing something they feel uncomfortable doing;
- Teach children to never enter an area on the internet that charges for services without asking permission from a responsible adult first;
- Some children have access to the internet at school. Check with the school authorities to ensure your children are properly supervised and monitored by a responsible adult;
- Know your children's friends and their parents.
Internet fraud takes many forms. The internet's promise of substantial consumer benefits is coupled with the potential for fraud and deception. Fraud operators are opportunists who are among the first to appreciate the potential of a new technology. There is nothing new about internet fraud, however, the size and potential market, relative ease, low cost and speed with which a scam can be perpetrated has increased tremendously.
Unsolicited Commercial Email
Internet service providers report handling 60 million electronic messages per day. Estimates of unsolicited commercial email (UCE) indicate it comprises as much as on-third of the total email traffic. This ever-increasing volume of UCE strains the capacity of online service providers and threatens the development of the internet as a conduit for commerce. Beyond the sheer volume and potential annoyance of UCE, many UCE messages may also be misleading or deceptive.
The internet is rife with fraud and deception. Some web pages "tease" individuals with promises of easy money for little or nothing. These scams include phony scholarships, travel programs, weight loss programs and others.
High Pressure Sales
A high pressure sales pitch may sound exciting, however, as a rule, such a pitch should be resisted. Before you invest any money, take your time. Get a second opinion from a financial planner, an attorney, or an accountant you can trust. Finally, research the company's reputation. Call your local consumer protection agency in the city where the company is headquartered for more information. Following are line frequently used by scam artists:
- We don't make money unless you make money."
- I know you get offers everyday from people who tell you they're going to make you rich. I can make it easy for you to make your decision based on actual facts."
- This opportunity is the best chance to make extra money for guys who work for a living; guys like you and me."
- I've been in this business for 20 years and I can tell you this: I know of no other program that is legal, easy to afford and can bring in this kind of big money from such a small investment;
- I know this can work for you and I personally guarantee your success, right down to the last penny."
- "Give me one percent of your trust and I'll earn the other 99 percent when you see the return."
- "Of course there is a risk, there is a risk in everything."
- "Sure we could finance this venture ourselves, however, we're trying to build a power base for the future for folks like you."
- "We're talking about a cash cow here, it's going fast and I need your check tomorrow at the latest."
- "I can't be lying, there are laws against lying."
The Risk Free Scam
Many times this scam solicits its victims with exotic sounding investments such as wireless cable projects, prime bank securities or fictitious business ventures overseas. Promoters misrepresent risk to "investors" by comparing their offer to something safe, such as bank security deposits. Many times the investment offer never really exists.
The Pump and Dump
This is a stock scam. Messages are posted on the internet urging readers to buy stock quickly that is poised for rapid growth. The message writer often claims to have inside information about an impending development. The reality is that the writer stands to gain by selling or buying stock shares after the price goes up or down. This ploy is normally used with unregistered, little known, thinly traded stocks.
The hijack is relatively new form of fraud unique to the internet. Consumers are prompted to download a purported "viewer program" to see computer images for free. Once downloaded, the consumer's computer is "hijacked" by the viewer program which turns off the consumer's modem speaker, disconnects the computer from the local internet provider, dials an international number and connects the consumer to a remote site. The expensive international costs are charged to the consumer's telephone bill until the telephone is turned off.
Pyramid schemes are similar to multi-level marketing. Pyramid schemes provide financial incentives to recruit new distributors. They are generally prohibited because it is a mathematical certainty that the pyramids will collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. When that happens, most people lose their money. The internet offers a fast lane for pyramid builders by facilitating a large scale recruitment pool in little or no time. Be extremely cautious if a promoter offers you an extremely large short term return on any investment, particularly if there is a disclaimer that the investment is "high risk and you could lose all of your money". Additionally, if there are no written claims delineating the returns on other's investments, you are quite possibly looking at a pyramid scheme. Beware of all get rich quick schemes. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
One of the greatest potential dangers for fraudulent loss posed for people using the internet is gambling. There are as many as 200 gambling sites on the internet. Consumers may gamble on sports, Blackjack, Kendo, Roulette, etc. Gambling on the internet is especially risky because gambling is an unregulated industry and currently, there is no effective way to control it. Companies based in foreign countries using foreign bank accounts are able to easily bilk consumers out of their money. Many times internet "gamblers" are unable to contact the companies with whom they placed their bets to collect their winnings. Gambling on the internet exposes consumers to fraud, civil liability and possible criminal liability.
Online auctions are popular to many people who use the internet. Generally, online auctions are person to person sales where individuals bid for various types of merchandise. The highest bidder then pays in advance of receiving the merchandise. A growing problem is sellers failing to deliver merchandise that consumers have purchased.