Recent Technology Concerns (10.28.15)
An e-mail that you receive may not be from whom they appear to be from – Recently an alert business person advised us of an attempted fraud from his business. He received an email that had the “University of Maryland” spelled out in the email address. Most would assume that the e-mail was from the University. Closer review of the case indicated that the real university uses just the initials “UMD” in their email address. So what appeared at first to be from the university was not. Please note there is no verification process when someone establishes an email address. Any person may make up an address if it is not already in use.
A “caller ID” number that shows on your phone may not actually be from the number that appears to be calling – Persons that are attempting to commit a fraud by calling you may use a system that allows them to “clone” another phone number; or cause any phone number to appear on your screen even though they are not calling from that number. As an example, some of our recent cases involve incidents where a caller explains that they are from the IRS and the recipient of the call owes back taxes and then relays where to send the funding. The caller ID number may appear on the screen. When the recipient of the call checks that number, in fact, the number is the actual IRS phone number; but the call is not actually originating from the IRS.
The only way to determine reliability of an email address or a caller is to independently check the information through other means such as a check of the information on-line or by calling your police agency. Your police department is Southwestern Regional Police and our information is as follows:
Non – Emergency Dispatch 717.854.5571
Police Offices 717.225.1333 ext. 100
Scams are Getting More Frequent & Complicated
Communication with friends and family has gotten easier and faster. That’s a good thing. The downside is now nearly anyone in the world can make contact you via your phone or your email. Our department has seen a huge upturn in folks advising us that they have been contacted with questionable requests. We’ll list a few “Rules of Thumb” for protecting you on-line and examples that are usually scams.
Ø The old saying is true, “If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Ø If the request is to wire someone money (Western Union, etc.), that should be a red flag for you. Wiring money is untraceable and is a favorite of scammers. Don’t wire funds unless you know the person it is going to. We cannot get your money back if you wire funds.
Here are a few examples of scams that have been reported to us recently. The caller sounds very genuine and even may know information about you; such as your address or family member names. This information is all available on the internet through various search engines.
Ø The caller says that your loved one has been arrested out of State. Please send money for bail. Police don’t do that. Always verify the call by some other means by searching the agency on line for a call back number.
Ø The caller says that your loved one has been involved in a crash. Send money to the wrecker service.
Ø “We are the Internal Revenue Service. You owe back taxes and we are coming to your home in one hour to arrest you unless you provide us your bank account number or a credit card number.” It is very unnerving to hear that someone is coming to your home. The scammer is calling you from overseas so there won’t be a visitor on your doorstep. The IRS will only contact you via the U.S. Postal Service. No phone calls or e-mails.
Ø If you have ever applied for a job with one of the on-line job services (such as Monster or Jobs.com), your information is out there and available to others. A complicated scam is one where the caller will advise you they will provide you a job mailing packages. They send you all of the material needed for this “job” and it seems very legitimate. You begin performing the work and now its time to get paid. They then request your bank account numbers and your social security number so they can pay your salary. When you call the “company” back because you haven’t received a salary, their lines are discontinued and they have your valuable personal information.
Ø An email or “pop-up”that advises you have been caught looking at something on-line that you shouldn’t have been looking at. They are asking that you pay a fine within a short time or law enforcement will be notified. It doesn’t work that way. An investigation into Illegal images from the internet will cause a police agency to knock on someone’s door; it won’t be generated from an email to you.
Ø If you didn’t apply for the sweepstakes grand prize but now you have been noticed that you’re the winner, you didn’t really win anything. You will be asked to wire the taxes due on your winnings before they will send the check. That money will be gone.
If you have any questions, we can be reached by the following methods:
To speak with an officer via York County dispatch: 717-854-5571
Our administrative number (may include leaving a message and a short delay) 717-225-1333 x 100
E-mail us via our web site www.swrpd.org
Tips To Keep Your Home From Being Burglarized
Homeowners are increasingly becoming easy targets for burglars. According to the statistics reported by the FBI, “burglary accounted for 21.2% of the estimated number of property crimes committed in 2005.” Moreover, 62.4% of all residential burglaries took place during the day. Statistics such as these are enough to make homeowners take steps and precautions to protect their homes and families at all times. Home security does not require a lot of time-money investment. All it needs is a watchful and alert approach and taking some simple yet effective steps to deter burglars and vandals.
Home Security Booklet
What Burglars Are After
Most homes are extremely vulnerable to burglaries during the December holidays. The reason for this is simple – families may be traveling or away for long periods of time and homes are usually filled with high value items. However, this in no way means that robberies and burglaries do not happen during other months. According to data from the FBI, insurance companies, and burglar alarm companies, burglars are active pretty much throughout the year. Some of the most frequently stolen items include:
- Items that can be easily sold such as tools, bicycles and toys.
- Electronic goods and gadgets such as cameras, CDs, DVDs, computers and tapes.
- Expensive items such as furs, gold and other precious stones or metal.
Other items that burglars frequently pick include:
- Rare and expensive collectibles such as coins, stamps, records, fine art and antiques.
- Personal use items including clothes, accessories, perfume, cosmetics and jewelry.
- Items that are high value and cannot be easily traced such as ammunition, appliances, luggage and leather goods, sporting goods, watches, wine, liquor and beer.
- In addition, burglars frequently steal currency, securities, electronic games, televisions and stereos from homes all across the country and through the year.
How to Protect Your Home
Over 50% of home burglaries are termed by police as "no force" entries. Open windows and unlocked doors make easy targets.
Leaving your home unsecured is an open invite for home break-ins. Get in the habit of making sure all accessible windows and doors are locked when you leave the house, even if it is just for a quick stop at a neighbors. It is also safest to make sure all doors are locked when you are home as well. It only takes a few minutes for someone to enter and exit a house they notice is unattended.
The need for homeowners to protect their homes and belongings is greater than ever. All over the country, burglaries are on the rise due to the vulnerability of homes and the easy accessibility that most homes offer to burglars. So, the question that arises is how can homeowners act to protect their homes and belongings from being stolen.
While, it may be difficult to completely secure a home from burglaries, one can easily take adequate steps to create barriers that deter burglars or make a burglary tough or time-consuming. In other words, invest some time and effort in taking measures that will make possible burglaries difficult.
Homeowners can begin by looking at their home with the eyes of a burglar. In other words, consider the location of the home from various angles. Is the home isolated or surrounded by other homes? Does it provide secluded nooks and dark corners for a burglar to hide in or escape from? Is the house adequately lit or relatively dark? Burglars will look at these things when identifying potential targets.
Next, homeowners need to consider the all-important factor of home security. Does the house have proper security systems in place? It is absolutely essential for owners to securely lock up all doors and windows when leaving the house. Moreover, homes with sliding glass doors and windows are particularly vulnerable to burglaries and therefore, homeowners should take adequate steps to secure these. A simple yet measure is to use key-operated pins or grips to secure such doors and windows. Since the house should always be well lit to create the impression of people within, one should leave a light on inside before leaving home.
Since holidays and vacations are boom time for burglars, it is important that homeowners take preventive steps to protect their house and belongings. Simple steps such as informing close friends or a trusted neighbor and having them keep an eye on the house, notifying the local police about your absence, cancelling the newspaper and having an automatic timer for the lights may prove to be deterrents for burglars on the prowl. In addition, one can ask someone to mow the lawn and pick up the mail as well to avoid giving the impression of an empty house.
Home Security Booklet