Detective Bureau Corner
criminals and this falls into the digital world. As we surf the World Wide Web people tend to get relaxed and forget about the digital sharks lurking. These digital criminals prey on people who aren’t making safe choices in this virtual world. These crimes are becoming more lucrative and popular because they are able to remain anonymous. This criminal does not have to be strong, fast, or have nerves of steel, because they can do the crimes from the comfort of their home. These criminals also know how hard it is to track them and this just fuels their feeling of being nameless.
The most prevalent item we would like to discuss is the emails that plague our inboxes on a daily basis. Emails can be a nice way to communicate and share information. They are popular in the business world because there is an electronic copy and the time stamp, date, and received information is recorded digitally. The problem is criminals know this and they can include viruses within the message. If you see an email that is from an unknown source, the best option is not to open the email and delete it. Another tip is to stay weary of emails address that you believe you may know. Something as simple as email@example.com versus john’firstname.lastname@example.org could be the difference between a friend and someone attempting to steal your information. There have been numerous instances of “retailers” sending emails requesting previous clients to provide a credit card number to keep on file. Furthermore, if the email is a solicitation that was not sought after then the offer really is too good to be true. We promise there is no Prince in Nigeria that has a billion dollars he wants to give away and that the Publishers Clearing House is not going to ask you for money upfront to claim a prize. Even simply opening the email and clicking the link could allow a virus to capture your most sensitive information.
We would also like to talk about telephone scams, because it falls under the anonymous identity that many digital criminals work under it is extremely difficult to track and follow. If anyone ever calls you and ask for sensitive information over the phone you can say NO! Places such as doctors’ offices don’t need your entire social security number. They can work simply off your last four digits in their medical billing system. The few extra steps it takes to employ these items can be time consuming for both parties involved, but in the long run it can help keep your identity “yours” and not the digital criminals victim.
There are many programs and services that are offered that can keep your identity safe. Depending on your budget and how many problems you have with the digital crimes will dictate what is best to keep your identity yours. But all these services are wasted unless “you” keep your personal information personal.
With the official start of summer just around the corner, so is the perfect weather for getting out on the waterways. We just want to discuss some general waterway safety for everyone to have a fun and safe summer on the water. Every person aboard a vessel under the age of 6 must wear an approved Type I, II, or III life jacket while the vessel is underway. Every vessel less than 39.4 ft in length must carry an efficient sound-producing device. Vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility (fog, rain, haze, etc). All boaters must abide by the posted wake zones for their safety and that of others. When planning a day on the water make sure to check the weather forecast. Also depending on your vessel size make sure to check the tides to insure you are safely able to navigate your vessel under bridges. If you are the operator of a vessel avoid alcohol. Boating under the influence is against the law the same as operating a vehicle under the influence. Wilton Manors Police recommends beginning boaters and experienced expert’s alike take a boating safety course to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. If you’re going to have your pet join you make sure you keep plenty of fresh drinking water available, and provide them a shaded area on the vessel to avoid excessive sun exposure.
Scammers Push People to Pay with iTunes Gift Cards
One thing we know about scammers — they want money, and they want it fast. That’s why, whatever the con they’re running, they usually ask people to pay a certain way. They want to make it easy for themselves to get the money — and nearly impossible for you to get it back.
Their latest method? iTunes gift cards. To convince you to pay, they might pretend to be with the IRS and say you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes right now. Or pose as a family member or online love interest who needs your help fast. But as soon as you put money on a card and share the code with them, the money’s gone for good.
If you’re not shopping at the iTunes store, you shouldn’t be paying with an iTunes gift card. Other payment methods scammers might ask for include Amazon gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit, or Vanilla, or by wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram. Government offices won’t require you to use these payment methods.
If you get targeted by a scam like this, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Article by: Amy Herbert/Consumer Education Specialist, FTC