Home Safety Tips
According to the FBI, there were on average more than 4,000 burglaries a day throughout the country. To keep your home off the books, help protect it with these five simple tips:
1. Keep your front entrance clear. The FBI reports that more than a third of burglars enter through the front door. How can you discourage them? Keep your entrance free of shrubbery or furnishings so your neighbors can clearly see everything that's going on. And make sure the entrance is brightly lit at night.
2. Install screen doors at the front and back. It may look decorative, but a solid locking screen door can dissuade criminals, who want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Your main door should be solidly built and reinforced, with a deadbolt that makes it harder for crooks to get in.
3. Secure your windows. Make sure your windows are double-pane glass, which is not only harder to break into but can also make your home's heating and cooling more efficient. You can protect your windows by putting plants or furniture underneath them inside your house. No burglar wants to climb onto a cactus.
4. Keep your lights on a timer. Automatic timers that switch your house lights on and off create the illusion that someone's home even when you're away. For the backyard, try a motion-sensor light.
5. Don't advertise your vacation. Save the social-media updates about your Caribbean cruise until after you've returned. Letting the world know you're about to leave your home unattended is an invitation to strangers who may be listening in. Before you set off, ask a neighbor to collect your mail and clear away fallen leaves, which, to observant criminals, is a sign that nobody's home.
Identity Theft - Electronic Pick Pocketing
Many of us today carry little cash and rely upon the convenience of a debit or credit card. The credit card industry is always improving on this technology to make usage as easy as possible. The "smart card" is an example of this. "Smart cards," known in the trade as "RFID" or Radio Frequency Identification cards, are embedded with a small chip which emits a radio frequency. When making a purchase the user does not have to swipe the card or enter a "PIN" they only need to hold the card in proximity of the cashier's card reader.
Not to be left behind, the Identity Thief has also improved on their technology and has the ability to "Electronically" pick pocket the "RFID" signal and duplicate your card. So please take a few moments to check your cards and verify if they are equipped with "RFID". Smart cards may be branded as "PayPass, blink, expresspay, and will have a symbol such as this somewhere on the card.
Analysts state, card skimming devices generally work when a victim only carries a single smart card. When carrying multiple "smart cards," the transmission creates a jumbled, unintelligible data stream.
If you are carrying a card equipped with "RFID" consider purchasing a protective sleeve to store your card, these sleeves reduce the ability of an identity thief to read the "RFID" signal. A simple internet search for "RFID protection" will provide you with multiple options for protecting yourself.
Beware of ATM Crimes!
ATM Shoulder Surfing - the act of using multiple tactics' to distract or manipulate a victim in order to obtain their ATM "PIN" number. The main goal is to obtain currency from the targeted victim without them knowing they are the victim of a crime. Often, a team of perpetrators (normally at least 3) will work together to obtain a victim's "PIN" number by...
- Perpetrator #1 will verbally engage the victim in what appears to be a helpful conversation telling the victim the ATM they just swiped their bank card in is not working. The victim often will simply move to the next available ATM machine without closing out the current session.
- Perpetrator #2 will walk up to the first machine and play with the key pad to keep the machine active until a pin number can be obtained from the victim.
- Perpetrator #3 will be at the ATM machine acting as if he/she is making a transaction while really looking over the victims shoulder "surfing" in order to view the "PIN" number to the victims ATM banking account.
- Perpetrator #3 will then relay the "PIN" number over to Perpetrator #2 in order to gain access to the victim's bank accounts to withdraw money without the victim having any idea their money is being stolen.
The Crime Prevention Section would like to share the following information to help prevent you from becoming a victim of an ATM Shoulder Surfer.
Do not give your ATM "PIN" number to anyone or allow someone to stand close enough where they might be able to see you enter your "PIN" number.
- When entering your ATM "PIN" number use your other hand to cover the key pad as you enter your "PIN".
- Always close out your session before leaving the ATM machine.
- Don't hold the door! Each person should use their own Bank card to gain access to the ATM vestibule.
- Always check your surroundings when entering the ATM vestibule area, if the area is crowded consider conducting your transaction at the teller window.
- Consider the time it takes you to conduct a transaction at an ATM, if someone seems to be hanging around the ATM area longer than necessary, alert the bank management.
- While conducting an afterhours ATM transaction take a moment to observe activity in and around the facility before you commit to using the ATM.
- Remember "If you see something, say something" call 911 and report suspicious activity.
LEARN ABOUT THE MISUSE/ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Prescription drugs are the 2nd most commonly used substance among high school students in NYC after marijuana.
7% of NYC High School students (1 in 14 students) reported misusing opioid painkillers in the past year. It's an epidemic that has fueled an illegal prescription drug trade.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse of Columbia University states that teens who abuse prescription drugs are twice more likely to use alcohol, 5 times more likely to use marijuana, and 12 to 20 times more likely to use illegal street drugs such as heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine than teens who do not abuse prescription drugs.
WARNING SIGNS OF POSSIBLE PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
- Dramatic changes in behavior and appearance
- Pinpoint pupils, Bloodshot eyes
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
- Drop in attendance from school
- Involved in secretive or suspicious behaviors
- Frequently getting into trouble (ex., fights, accidents, and illegal activities)
- Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outburst
- Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or "out of it"
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness