Crime Prevention Tips
Internet Safety Rules:
- Never give out personal information such as address, telephone number, parents' work information or your school information.
- Tell your parents immediately if you come across something that makes you feel uncomfortable or that you do not understand.
- Never agree to get together with someone you meet online.
- Never send your picture or anything else to anyone online.
- Never respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make you feel uncomfortable. It is not your fault if you get a message like that, just do not respond and get your parents.
- If you or anyone else is threatened or harassed online, notify your parents or the police.
- Remember that not everyone you talk to in chat rooms is who they say they are.
- Don't discuss personal issues, such as problems at home or school, with someone you don't know or that you met online.
- Never give out your internet password to anyone.
- Talk to your parents about setting up computer rules.
- Teach your children what a stranger is: not necessarily what a person looks like or the clothes they wear. If a child does not personally know the individual or has been introduced to that individual by their parents . . . they are considered a stranger!
- Have a "code word" shared with your child. If a stranger asks the child to come with them, all the child has to do is ask for the "code word". If Mom or Dad did not tell the person the code word, the child does not go with them.
- If the child is grabbed by a stranger, tell them not to scream or cry. Rather, yell "He's not my Daddy" or "She's not my Mommy".
- If your child is ever unsure about someone's intentions, teach them to trust their feelings and run away.
- Know the safest route to and from school and instruct your children to follow that route.
- Know the length of time it takes your child to walk to and from school.
- Immediately check any delay in arrival home.
- Know your children's playmates and where they congregate.
- Instruct your children to report to you suspicious persons or attempts by unknown adults to approach them or become friendly with them.
- Instruct your children not to accept rides or gifts from anyone without your approval.
- Tell your children to check with you before going anywhere with anyone.
Walking Safety Tips:
- If your purse or backpack is snatched, don't fight it. There is nothing in it that can't be replaced. It is not worth getting hurt over.
- Avoid walking alone as much as possible. Having other people nearby is a great defense.
- Be alert when you're alone. Be aware of who is around you.
- Walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace. Attackers look for someone who appears vulnerable.
- Walk near the curb; avoid shrubbery or other places of concealment.
- Avoid isolated or poorly-lit places and unpopulated areas, alleys, vacant lots or buildings.
- Do not hitchhike.
- Be careful when people in a car stop and ask you for directions. Always reply from a distance; never get too close to the car.
- Always stand near the control panel in an elevator.
- Respond to instinct, intuition or gut reactions. Don't get in an elevator with someone who makes you feel uneasy.
- If other passengers get off, leaving you with a person(s) who makes you feel uneasy, get off with other passengers and wait for the next elevator.
Telephone Safety Tips:
- When not at home, I use an answering machine. Have it answer that you cannot come to the phone, not that you are not at home. Turn the ringer down so it cannot be heard from the outside.
- In cases of emergency, know what number to dial (911) and what to say when calling.
- Don't give any personal information if called about surveys, contests, subscription drives, purchases or deliveries until the source of the call has been verified. Ask for a number they can be called back and confirm what is listed in the telephone book.
- Never give your name, address, or phone number to someone you don't know.
- Never give any information to "wrong number" callers, ask for the number they are trying to dial.
- Always give the impression you are not alone.
- If they ask for someone who is not there, say they can't come to the phone and ask for their name and number.
- When you first realize the caller is obscene or harassing, hang up immediately. Do not listen to them or show any type of emotional response. Report continuing incidents to the telephone company and police.
- Express yourself clearly. Don't worry about "insulting" your date; your safety is more important. Make your limits clear before you get into a potentially compromising situation.
- Do not allow your body language to send a different message than what you are verbally communicating.
- Learn about a man's attitudes toward women before you go out or as you talk.
- Listen to and respond to your instincts. They are usually correct.
- Avoiding the use of mind-altering drugs ( this includes alcohol). They can cloud judgement and slow responses. Be aware of your date's use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Never accept a ride from someone you do not know well and avoid secluded places. Suggest meeting in public places where help will be nearby if you need it.
- Arrange your own transportation, especially if you don't know him well; drive or go out with a group or another couple.
PROTECTING AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT
Your personal identity information may allow an unscrupulous person to open unauthorized charged accounts, or order goods and services and bill them to you without your permission. They may even access your personal or business accounts for withdrawals or purchases, to secure loans, to hide illegal funds, or to remain secluded from law enforcement or gain employment by circumventing criminal background checks. Each of us has personal information worth stealing, and our exposure can be great; however, we can minimize our risk by knowing how to prevent and respond to identity theft. HOW CAN SOMEONE GET MY INFORMATION?
Your personal identity information is used to process practically every non-cash transaction: ATM machines, bills and receipts thrown in the trash, public records, unsecured mailboxes, stolen pocketbooks, interment transactions, phony notices and requests from governmental agencies, telephone solicitations, and marketing ploys promising prizes, personnel files, obituaries, and medical records, etc. The creativity of the criminal mind can be remarkable.
WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DO THEY WANT?
- Social Security Number
- Birth date
- Driver's license number
- Mother's maiden name
- Bank account or credit card/debit card numbers
- PIN numbers
- Log-on Names/ID's
HOW CAN I PREVENT PEOPLE FROM GETTING MY PERSONAL INFORMATION?
While no one is completely safe from identity theft, there are some simple measures that can be taken to help secure your personal information and guard against identity theft. If someone has stolen your information, catching it early is the key!
- Review your credit reports at least once a year. Please see the back panel for credit reporting agency information.
- Never give personal information to someone over the telephone. Always ask them for a physical location and get the full name of anyone you deal with.
- Do not pre-print your driver's license number, Social Security number or phone number on your checks.
- Always check the reputation of any company you do business with online. Also, look for a contact address located within the continental United States. It is much more difficult to retrieve funds or information transferred outside of the country. Be cautious of any business that only has a P.O. Box for an address.
- Check all your billing statements and bank statements for unauthorized charges or withdrawals. If you don't receive a regular statement on time, contact your credit card company or bank immediately.
- Do not write account numbers on checks or envelopes.
- If your credit card company sends convenience checks, you may want to request that it stop and shred the unused ones.
- Conceal your hand when entering PINs of any kind into a public machine or telephone.
- If you are transacting business over the internet, always print out and save the receipt and transaction information.
- Always make your internet purchases over a secure connection and make purchases by credit card.
- Never give out your log-on name or password to someone who asks you via e-mail or instant message.
- Never send your personal information, credit card numbers or account numbers via e-mail or instant message.
- If any firm uses your Social Security number or other personal number as an account number, ask them to change it.
- Check Social Security statements for inaccuracies.
- Do not exchange personal information for prizes. They should be free ... no strings attached.
- Do not carry a list of PIN numbers in your purse or wallet.
- REMEMBER if it sounds too good to be true ... it is probably a scam.
- Consider placing yourself on the “Texas No Call” list. Online registration www.texasnocall.com is FREE. If you register via Automated Registration at 1.866.896.6225 or mail in your application, there is a registration charge of $2.25 for each residential and wireless number and $2.55 for each business number. Telephone registration must be paid by MasterCard or Visa. Mailed applications may be paid by personal check, money order, or credit card. Request an application in writing.