Honing in on Good Safety Habits
Everyday there are certain things that help keep us and our families safe. It is when those habits are not followed that a thief will take advantage. Good habits include removing keys from a vehicle each and every time. Never assume that just because it will only be a couple minutes that the vehicle will be safe. This includes warming your car in cold weather with the key in the ignition and dropping your child off at day care. Take the few extra seconds to remove keys, purses, wallets, and phones and hit the lock button.
Just last week, two individuals stole a commercial truck, taking it on a joy ride through the neighborhoods of Minneapolis. They were able to steal the truck because the driver left it running. Ultimately, they caused thousands of dollars of damage and the vehicle ended up on its side because they tried to turn a corner.
Some crimes are preventable, but it is your responsibility to secure property each and every day. This also includes closing your garage door at night and when you are not home.
Fraud and Imposter Scams Reported
Over the past two weeks, we have received numerous reports of residents being scammed out of thousands of dollars from imposter and fraud scams. These scams are done over the phone. The person asks the victim to go purchase gift cards and prepaid credit cards. Once the victim obtains the cards and gives the information on the card to the suspect, the balance is immediately drained and the victim never recovers the money.
The scams often involve work from home scams, employment applications via Linkedin, subscription scams, and other employment type scams. When someone asks you to purchase gift cards and give them the information from the card as part of the pre-employment process, it is a scam.
The police department has also seen incidents of elderly financial exploitation by family members and friends of those family members where they ask for a short term loan. The money is never paid back and the suspect often disappears. One victim conducted banking transactions via Facebook because the grandchild set it up that way. It left the victim completely vulnerable electronically. If you have elderly relatives that live alone, please spend some time with them and talk about scam prevention. Review financial statements every month if not more often. Seniors are often very isolated and often feel abandoned by their family because of lack of time.