Committing adultery? Visiting prostitutes? Getting some online porn? Have some other secret you’re keeping from your spouse? If you’re doing any of these things (or a plethora of other things you don’t want your spouse to know) and you get a blackmail letter like the one described below, ignore it, Darien police advise.
For the past few months, towns in Fairfield County have experienced a substantial increase in the number of both motor vehicle burglaries and stolen motor vehicles. The Darien Police Department has employed various tactics such as unmarked patrols, “bait” cars, and other investigative methods in an attempt to deter and apprehend the persons responsible. What To Do
While we are doing everything we can to impact the recent increase in incidents, we want to take the opportunity to give the residents of Darien some guidelines on keeping their vehicles and valuables safe. Always Lock Your Vehicle
The vast majority of the motor vehicle burglaries we respond to are of vehicles that were left unlocked. Often the suspects will pass over another vehicle in the same driveway because it was locked.
Greenwich police Detective Mark Solomon recently shared an overview of recent frauds using “skimming” that steal credit or debit card information from unsuspecting victims.
The devices can be disguised as parts of ATM machines or work inside gas pumps and other point-of-sale devices. Even the machines on train station platforms have been rigged by greedy criminals eager to access credit card information. The machines often are set up by criminals, frequently in gangs of 20 to 30 members from Eastern Europe. ___________
— This article previously was published by Greenwich Free Press. ___________
Solomon is a member of the Connecticut Financial Task Force — which includes the IRS, the U.S. Postal Service, state police and local agencies — said it’s a challenge to keep on top of the ingenious strategies that target credit card and bank account information.
If you’re a small business owner, you’re not getting a government business grant notice through Facebook. And if you get a message from a friend on Facebook asking them to “confirm” a business grant, it’s not coming from that friend. These are just new ways that have recently popped up to scam you, the Federal Trade Commission says. Don’t even reply to them — there’s some risk in even doing that. Here’s what the FTC has to say about it:
The good news is that ID theft scams are less prevalent than they were in previous years. The bad news is that there’s plenty still around. Both the Internal Revenue Service and Better Business Bureau have (overlapping) advice about protecting yourself from scammers who want your personal information for identity theft and tax fraud. “Everyone should guard their personal information by protecting their computers and using extreme caution when viewing emails or getting surprise phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We also encourage people to share this information with their friends and family,” he said.
You can make it less likely that you’ll become the victim of a skimming device placed on an ATM by a thief by following these steps, according to the FBI. Here’s the FBI’s list of tips:
Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it — be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue. When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number. If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers). Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas — they are a popular target of skimmers.
Learn how to protect yourself from online threats at Darien Library at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31. Cyber security has been the focus of much attention lately, from email hacks to stolen credit card numbers. It can seem like a scary world when you’re constantly under attack by scammers, hackers, skimmers, spear phishers, spoofers, or even digital vandals. ___________
— an announcement from Darien Library
But if you’re armed with a little information and some tools and habits to protect yourself, you can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a target and empower yourself to feel confident as you navigate your digital lives.
An empty house is a tempting target for a burglar so make sure you do your best to have your home look occupied while you are away:
Ask close friends, family, or neighbors to watch your house. Give them your contact information in case they need to get a hold of you. Never announce your intention on traveling or vacationing blogs, email groups, Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites and remember if you check-in on Foursquare or Facebook, everyone knows you aren’t home! Install good locks on the doors and windows and use them. Never leave a house key hidden outside of your home.
To prevent becoming the victim of a crime when a person claiming to be from the water company comes calling (as happened on Thursday), Aquarion Water Co. has some advice for customers. Here’s what a news release (PDF here) issued by the utility on May 29 said:
Aquarion Water Company is reminding customers to take precautions before allowing anyone into their home or business for maintenance, especially when no appointment has been scheduled. Aquarion advises that residents refuse entrance into their home without first seeing photo identification. “Aquarion Water Company employees follow strict protocols when entering customers’ homes and businesses, which include showing the customer an Aquarion photo ID,” said Charles V. Firlotte, Aquarion President and CEO. “We also encourage any customer who is unsure or has concerns to call our Customer Service Department.”
Aquarion Water Company employees and contractors are required to carry company-issued photo identification at all times and to present such identification upon request when entering a customer’s home.
Here’s a long quote from a news release Darien police issued Friday with advice for preventing a “distraction burglary” — when one person distracts a householder while another sneaks in a home to steal from it (after one such incident happened on Thursday):
Distraction burglary is a crime in which elderly persons are often the targets but not always. The perpetrator seeks to draw a resident out of the house or into the basement on a pretext. While the resident is occupied, an accomplice enters the home and steals valuables such as money and jewelry. Thieves may also take papers with the intent of committing identity theft. In a variation, the accomplice enters the dwelling by a second door while the resident is occupied at the other door.
To prevent distraction burglary, be suspicious of anyone who comes to your door under any of these guises:
Person asking about a lost pet
Lost person asking for directions
Person asking about working on the property
In the case of someone claiming to be on official business, it’s a good idea to ask for identification, but that can be faked.