The goal of the Indian River County Crime Prevention Unit is to aid in the prevention of crime and the promotion of positive interaction between the Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Indian River County.
The Community Relations Objectives, which include, but are not limited to, include the following:
- Establish Neighborhood Watch Programs
- Incorporate home and business security inspections
- Personal safety talks/Refuse to be a Victim
- Drug awareness programs
- Mock bank robberies
- Incorporating the Eddie Eagle Program (gun safety) in all schools in Indian River County.
- Attending Crime Stoppers m meetings in Saint Lucie County.
- Participating in talks with the public via Radio T.V. or news paper.
- Bank security seminars.
- Identity theft programs.
- Internet safety talks
- Bike safety programs (Bike Rodeos)
- Stranger Danger talks.
- Implementation of CPTED in new communities.
- Attending Homeowner Association Meetings.
- Maintaining liaison with community groups.
- Target Programs to address community perceptions or misperceptions of crime in Indian River County.
- Establish priority crime prevention programs by the use of analytical crime data- base on crime type and geographical data;
- Establish disaster preparedness programs.
- Commercial/personal security programs.
- Fingerprinting our youths.
- Maintain liaison with all concerned staff members to ensure a continuous coordinated response to the acceleration of the agencies
Crime Prevention Unit.
In summary, these objectives can only be accomplished by the coordination of ideas and efforts implemented by the Crime Prevention Unit.
Identity Theft : Quick Facts
It's important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen:
- Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review those reports carefully. Notifying one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies is sufficient.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- File a police report with local law enforcement officials. This is an essential step in claiming your rights.
- Report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission, online, by phone, or by mail.
- And before identity theft happens, learn how to safeguard your information at ftc.gov/idtheft.
Identity Theft: What To Do If Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised
The bottom line for online threats like phishing, spyware, and hackers is identity theft. ID theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. That's why it's important to protect your personal information. To find out how to deter and detect identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.
But, according to OnGuard Online, if your personal information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen, taking certain steps quickly can minimize the potential for the theft of your identity.
Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
- TransUnion: www.transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289
- Experian: www.experian.com, 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- Equifax: www.equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain.
- Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently:
- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit to support your written statement.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
- Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime. This report will also help you claim your rights as a victim of identity theft.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.
By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
How to Report if You Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft
If your information has been misused, file a report about your identity theft with the police, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft. Read Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft for detailed information on other steps to take in the wake of identity theft.
Online Shopping Quick Facts
Shopping on the Internet can be economical, convenient, and no less safe than shopping in a store or by mail. To help keep your online shopping experience a safe one:
- Know who you're dealing with. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems.
- Know exactly what you're buying. Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print.
- Know what it will cost. Factor shipping and handling — along with your needs and budget — into the total cost of the order.
- Pay by credit or charge card, for maximum consumer protections.
- Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates.
- Print and save records of your online transactions.
Shopping online offers lots of benefits that you won't find shopping in a store or by mail. The Internet is always open — seven days a week, 24 hours a day — and bargains can be numerous online. With a click of a mouse, you can buy an airline ticket, book a hotel, send flowers to a friend, or purchase your favorite fashions. But sizing up your finds on the Internet is a little different from checking out items at the mall.
If you're buying items from an online retailer or auction website, OnGuard Online offers this advice to help you make the most of your shopping experience:
Know who you're dealing with. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. If you get an email or pop-up message while you're browsing that asks for financial information, don't reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email.
Know exactly what you're buying. Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate that the product is in less-than-mint condition, while name-brand items with "too good to be true" prices could be counterfeits.
Know what it will cost. Check out websites that offer price comparisons and then, compare "apples to apples." Factor shipping and handling — along with your needs and budget — into the total cost of the order. Do not send cash under any circumstances.
Pay by credit or charge card. If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor is investigating them. In the event of unauthorized use of your credit or charge card, you generally would be held liable only for the first $50 in charges. Some companies offer an online shopping guarantee that ensures you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made online, and some cards may provide additional warranty, return, and/or purchase protection benefits.
Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates. Can you return the item for a full refund if you're not satisfied? If you return it, find out who pays the shipping costs or restocking fees, and when you will receive your order. A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule requires sellers to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised.
Keep a paper trail. Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and copies of every email you send or receive from the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them and be on the lookout for unauthorized charges.
Don't email your financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting financial information like your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser's status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some fraudulent sites have forged security icons.
How to Report if You Have Been a Victim of an Online Shopping Fraud
If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller, buyer or site operator. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with:
- The attorney general's office in your state.
- Your county or state consumer protection agency. Check the blue pages of the phone book under county and state government.
- The Better Business Bureau.
Indications of Identity Theft
- Charges occurring on your accounts that you did not authorize.
- If your credit is denied due to poor credit ratings, despite good credit history.
- If you are contacted by creditors regarding amounts owed for goods or services that you never obtained or authorized.
- If your credit card and bank statements are not received in the mail as expected.
- If a new or renewed credit card is not received.
Identity Theft/Fraud Prevention Measures
U.S. citizens need to be aware of measures that can be taken to either prevent or minimize their chances of becoming a victim of fraud. Some of these measures are as follows:
Never give personal information via telephone, mail or the Internet, unless you initiated the contact.
- Store personal information in a safe place.
- Shred credit card receipts and/or old statements before discarding in a garbage can--If you do not have a shredder, then use scissors.
- Protect PINs and passwords.
- Carry only the minimum amount of identifying information.
- Remove your name from mailing lists for pre-approved credit lines and tele-marketers.
- Order and closely review biannual copies of your credit report from each national credit reporting agency (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union).
- Request DMV to assign an alternate driver’s license number if it currently features your Social Security account number.
- Ensure that your PIN numbers cannot be observed by anyone while utilizing an ATM or public telephone.
- Close all unused credit card or bank accounts.
- Review your consumer credit reports annually.
- Contact your creditor or service provider if expected bills do not arrive.
- Check account statements carefully.
- Guard your mail from theft.
Top 10 Identity Theft Tips for 2009
1. Beware the Word "Prevent"
No person and no product can prevent identity theft. As long as criminals can benefit from stealing, there will be theft. Sensitive personal information (SPI) is everywhere, housed and archived in a mind-boggling variety of ways. Individuals and companies can reduce access to SPI and improve safeguards around it by working to change how we share, collect, store and dispose of information.
2. There Are No Guarantees
This mantra holds true for a lot of things in life and dealing with identity theft is no exception. While a number of instances of fraud can be restored to pre-theft status, some identity dilemmas simply can’t be fixed. If you’re on the ‘no fly list’ thanks to an imposter or an error, you’ll stay there. A third-party solution cannot deliver a remedy.
3. Watch for "Shoulder Surfers" and "Skimmers"
Shield the entry of personal identification numbers (PINs), and be aware of people standing entirely too close by when using your credit or debit card in public. Especially with the advent of cell phone cameras, a sneaky, shoulder surfing thief can get your private information pretty easily, if you’re not careful. It’s also advisable to use teller machines that are familiar to you, so you are in a better position to identify when the equipment looks different or doesn’t “feel right.” Your increased awareness may reveal a skimmer’s attempt to steal PINs and banking details at that site.
4. Keep Your Social Security Card Safe at Home
Unless you’re on your way to fill out a job application, there are very few reasons to carry around the crown jewel of SPI. At lunch a few weeks ago, the woman beside me opened her wallet for a credit card and there was her Social Security card, too. Remember, ID theft and fraud are not exclusively credit-related – thieves can use a clean Social Security number to construct a whole new life.
5. Destroy Before You Dump That Old Computer
Erasing data just enables the computer to write over that space again; it doesn’t actually eliminate the original bits and bytes. Physically remove the hard-drive to ensure you’re not tossing out or passing along your personal details. Our company is often called upon to recover data from an erased or damaged drive; we’re very good at it – and so are some professional thieves.
6. Choose "Forget Me’ Instead of "Remember Me"
How many Web sites do you frequent that invite you to enable an automatic log on the next time you visit? Don’t check that box! When convenience trumps confidentiality, you’re asking for trouble. The harder you make it for hackers to follow your trail into an online store or bank account, the better.
7. Don’t Rely On Fraud Alerts Or Credit Freezes Alone
Fraud alerts are meant to stop an identity thief from opening new accounts in your name. Credit freezes let you restrict access to your credit report, which would also make it hard for someone else to open new accounts. But, neither one will stop a thief from trading your SPI for cash, or using it for tax fraud or in any of the countless other ways fraudsters exploit stolen identities.
8. Practice Prudent Posting
Social networking sites on the internet enable individuals around the world to chat, share photos, recruit employees, date, post resumes, auction property, and more. Because the Web makes it possible for any posted document to link with another, any data you put out online have the potential to stay there for what amounts to electronic eternity.
9. Keep That Key
When you check out of a hotel where you were issued a card-key to unlock the door to your room, don’t leave the card-key behind. Hold on to it until you’re safely home and can shred or otherwise discard it safely. Some say it’s an urban myth that the card-keys hold vital details like credit card numbers, while others report having tested and confirmed the presence of private data coded into the magnetic strip. Even if there’s no definitive answer, why risk it?
10. What’s In Your Wallet?
Make photocopies of the personal material in your wallet: Driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards, all of it – front and back. Should your wallet be lost or stolen, you won’t be left wondering what was actually taken, and you’ll be able to quickly notify the appropriate agencies about what has taken place.
The “Eddie Eagle” Program is designed to teach accident prevention for children in pre-school through sixth grade, so that they know what to do if they find a gun.
LEAVE THE AREA
TELL AN ADULT
This course teaches children that guns are not toys and makes no value judgment whether guns are good or bad, but teaches safe behavior.
The program was started in 1988 by creator and former NRA President Marion Hammer and has reached 21 million children through more than 20,000 Law Enforcement agencies, school systems and civic groups.
The program is not about gun ownership or use, it is about child safety. It teaches children in pre-K through 6th grade, which if they find a gun to STOP, DON’T TOUCH, LEAVE THE AREA, TELL AN ADULT. The program curriculum was designed by child psychologists, profession educators and law enforcement officers.
The National Associations of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officers passed a regulation endorsing “gun safety” education for children that is promoted through the EDDIE EAGLE gunsafe “Program” and found “(the program”) effectively teaches youngsters what to do if they encounter a firearm.
The program is described as “an outstanding education initiative” in a report, Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence, issued by the U.S. Justice Department. That report examined 400 safety programs and recommended just 60, Eddie Eagle among them.
This program not only teaches children safety but it goes on to teach parents/adults a Guide to Gun Safety.