If your cell phone is your go-to device for checking your email, paying your bills, or posting to social media, you’re not alone. So imagine that your cell phone suddenly stops working: no data, no text messages, no phone calls. Then picture getting an unexpected notification from your cellular provider that your SIM card has been activated on a new device. What’s going on? These could be signs that a scammer has pulled a SIM card swap to hijack your cell phone number.
Darien police recently asked the public if they can identify a man caught on camera this past weekend and suspected of stealing a package left in front of a home on Hollow Tree Ridge Road. The problem of “porch pilfering” is longstanding, goes well beyond Darien and could always get worse as the convenient practice of ordering items online and getting home deliveries increases. Here’s some advice. Greenwich Police Department posted these tips on preventing porch piracy Wednesday on Facebook: (with information we’ve added on two places we know of in Darien, besides the Post Office, that will hold packages for you):
Porch pirates are thieves who drive through residential neighborhoods checking front porches for packages that have been delivered but not yet retrieved by their rightful owners. There are several things you can do to prevent it from happening to you:
1 – If possible, have your packages delivered to your workplace instead of your home.
Whether it’s a spare can of cranberry sauce or an extra turkey platter, thoughtful Thanksgiving hosts make contingency plans for the holiday. This year, if the dinner discussion veers into controversial territory — like the pumpkin pie vs. pecan pie debate — here’s a suggested topic of conversation you can have at the ready. — This article is from a post by Lesley Fair on the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog. Fair is an attorney in the FTC Division of Consumer and Business Education.
Greenwich Police are warning residents of a recent trend in Westchester in which thieves use obituaries to see when visiting hours are scheduled in order to target empty homes for burglaries. “Criminals read the newspaper too, to get whatever intelligence they can gather,” said Lt John Slusarz. “Someone passes away, the funeral time is listed. It’s sort of an advertisement that the home will be vacant.”
— This article originally was published by Greenwich Free Press. Slusarz said that in planning a funeral, it is wise to select someone to stay in the home.
Someone pretending to be from the FTC is sending out fake emails telling people that their Do Not Call registration is expiring. The emails use the FTC’s logo and send people to a phony Do Not Call website to register their numbers again. Don’t buy it. Do Not Call registrations never expire. Once you add a number to the Do Not Call Registry, you don’t need to register it again — ever.
In the wake of a colossal wave of income tax refund fraud over the past several years, Connecticut Better Business Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services urge taxpayers to file their paperwork as soon as possible, and carefully select a qualified tax preparer. ___________
— an announcement from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau
Both of these measures can expedite processing of your refund and help protect your income tax return information. “Income tax season is stressful for many consumers, and that stress has been heightened by fears that criminals will file taxpayers’ returns and steal their refunds,” says Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz. “Income tax fraud is essentially an identity theft issue which often begins with a data breach. Even though taxpayers cannot prevent the theft of sensitive information by cyber hackers, there are steps we can take to lessen the chances of becoming a victim.”
The IRS is also warning tax preparers to be on guard against fake clients who attempt to get help with their tax returns, usually by sending an infected email attachment designed to burrow into computer systems housing clients’ personal information. The most effective ways to prevent criminal interception of tax documents and refunds are also the simplest. Returns can be submitted through the computerized eFile system, and refunds can be deposited directly into your bank account. An additional advantage is that these systems can avoid delays and shorten the amount of time it takes to process a return and issue a refund.
Happy Holidays! The men and women of the Darien Police Department hope you have a wonderful time celebrating with your friends, family, and neighbors. __________
— an announcement from Darien Police Department
To ensure a peaceful holiday season, please consider the following safety tips:
If you’re planning to go out of town for the holidays, let a trustworthy neighbor know so that they can keep an eye on your home. Don’t hide a key outside the house! Consider placing a hold on your mail and newspaper delivery.
An 18-year-old Norwalk Community College student lost $700 last week to two men who used a classic scam, sometimes called a “fake check scam,” that’s probably several times older than the victim. The scammers knew what many people don’t: You can cash a check at your bank and walk away with the money, whether or not there’s money in the account named on that check. The bank, which doesn’t immediately check the other account, expects the bank’s customer to make up the difference if there’s insufficient funds — or no funds at all — to back up the check. On Wednesday, Nov. 29, a Fairfield man walked into Darien Police Headquarters to report the fraud.
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.
A stranger approaches you about doing some job, either permanent or temporary. Before you start, they arrange to send you money to pay for some work-related expenses. You keep in touch by email or phone. At some point not long afterward, they have you send part of that payment somewhere else. You do that.
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 are looking for part-time or full-time employment to make a few dollars over the summer, Connecticut Better Business Bureau cautions job-seekers to be careful when considering an unsolicited employment opportunity. “There are all sorts of legitimate jobs available, even work-at-home opportunities, but there are a number of red flags that can tell if you are applying for a real job or if someone is trying to get you to part with your personal and financial information,” says Connecticut Better Business Bureau Spokesman, Howard Schwartz. ___________
— an announcement from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau
The red flags include, but are not limited to:
An offer that sounds like a dream job with no training or experience required; being offered jobs by telephone even if you never applied for them; promises of a generous salary; no face to face meeting and demands for upfront money sent by untraceable methods such as wire transfer or gift cards. The “recruiter” will tell potential victims they are hired without any face to face meeting, and that the candidate will have to send money upfront, supposedly for background checks, training and materials, their Social Security Number for income tax purposes and a bank account number to arrange direct deposit of salary. A legitimate employer will never ask for any of your personal information until after you have met, received a formal written offer with a job description, salary and other remuneration details.
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:
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.
We know the frigid weather is on its way, but never leave your car running while unattended. With the cold gripping much of the nation, thousands of drivers are starting their cars and leaving them idling for a few minutes while they warm up on cold mornings.
— an announcement from Darien Police
The Bad Idea Part
It’s a bad idea even if you are planning to make just a quick stop somewhere. Many vehicle thefts are crimes of opportunity, and a person could decide to make off with your vehicle if they see that it is empty and has the engine running. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says that one out of every five stolen vehicles had keys in them, while nearly half of vehicles were unlocked when stolen. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most of today’s cars do not require more than 30 seconds to warm up. An idling car can burn as much as a half-gallon of gas in an hour, so turning the car off is more fuel efficient and causes less air pollution. The Against-the-Law Part
Did you know you might be violating the law? In an effort to protect our air, environment and health, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) adopted a regulation in 2004 that prohibits vehicles of all kinds from unnecessary idling for more than 3 minutes.