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Crime Prevention Tips

Top Scams

The top scams of 2015 nearly mirrors 2014’s list, so chances are, these scams are not going away. As we close out the year, protect yourself and your hard-earned money from these top scams:

1. IRS Imposters. This remains the nation’s biggest scam: Phone calls from fraudsters posing as IRS agents who threaten arrest, deportation or seizure of property or businesses unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes. Recently, bogus mailing and faxes have been added. Remember, the real IRS doesn’t call out-of-the-blue nor demand immediate payment, especially by prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

2. Tech Support Scam. These imposters, claiming to be from Microsoft and other tech companies and lying about a supposed computer virus, also claim the most AARP members. By year’s end, some 3.3 million Americans will have paid an estimated $1.5 billion to these fraudsters for bogus “tech support” and, in the process, will have given these scammers remote access to their computer files and passwords for possible identity theft.

3. Foreign Lotteries. What to know: You can’t win some far-away lottery you didn’t enter. Remember that “You win!” phone calls, letters, or emails are scams. If you ever win a legitimate lottery, you never have to pay taxes, processing fees or anything else upfront to collect. And that received “partial payment” check is counterfeit; in fact, you’re on the hook for funds drawn from its deposit.

4. Sweepstakes. Different type of contest, but same instructions…and outcome: You’re told you need to pay in order to collect your prize be it cash or merchandise. But the bounty never comes. The reigning (and classic) ruse aims for upfront taxes and fees under the guise of winning Publishers Clearing House.

5. Grandparents Scam. What ignites more fear and sense of urgency than a desperate call from a loved one in trouble? But it’s not grandchildren or other relatives calling; it’s scammers who glean names and family details online or simply let you fill in holes with generic greetings (“Hi, it’s your favorite grandchild and I need help!”).

IRS Telephone Scam

The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. For more information or to report a scam, go to www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.
People have reported a particularly aggressive phone scam in the last several months. Immigrants are frequently targeted. Potential victims are threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off, or having their driver's licenses revoked. Callers are frequently insulting or hostile - apparently to scare their potential victims.
Potential victims may be told they are entitled to big refunds, or that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.

Other characteristics of this scam include:

* Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
* Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.
* Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.
* Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
* Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
* After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:

* If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.
* If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and
report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
* If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Burglary Prevention Tips

Protect yourself and your neighbors, report suspicious persons and vehicles!

Often a burglar will drive or walk through a subdivision looking for a home that appears unoccupied. This can be determined by clues such as an open garage without cars, an accumulation of mail or newspapers, packages of dry cleaning left at the front door, or notes stuck on the door. The burglar will then approach the residence and ring the doorbell. If a resident answers, the burglar may pretend to be lost and ask for directions.
If you have someone approach your home in this manner, call the police immediately. Try to get a description of the person and any vehicle, along with a license plate number if possible to pass on to the police. The police will verify the story and offer any necessary assistance.

Promptly notify Police dispatch at 860-399-2100 or in the event of an active burglary, 911.

Get to Know Your Neighbors:

* Neighbors watching out for each other is the basic concept of neighborhood patrolling.
* Know the neighbors on all sides of you.
* Learn what vehicles belong there.

Secure Your Home:

* Secure your home when you leave even for short periods of time.
* Deny the burglar the opportunity to make you a victim by securing all doors and windows before you leave!

Keep Your Garage Door Closed:

* Garage burglaries often occur during the day. The thief simply walks into an open garage, removes what they want and is gone in a minute or two.

How to Increase the Odds of Getting Your Property Back in the Event that it is Stolen

While we hope that you do not become the victim of a crime, we would like to be able to identify your property should we locate it during an investigation. We often see property suspected to be stolen, but are unable to establish the identity of the rightful owner. When that happens, one of two things occur. We may not be able to seize the property, and must leave it with the suspects, or we seize the property and are unable to identify the rightful owner.

These problems are common and are a significant source of frustration for both law enforcement and crime victims.

Making sure this doesn't happen is simple by following these steps:

* Take an inventory of your belongings.
* Note the make, model, color, size and serial number.
* Photographs and videos also work well.

Engrave your belongings. Depending on the amount of room on the article to be engraved you might consider the standard engraving format, which is to engrave your Connecticut operators license number. Other options would be your last name, your initials or the name of your business.

Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

Don’t give out your credit card number(s) online unless the site is a secure and reputable site. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but might provide you some assurance.
• Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure.
• Before using the site, check out the security/encryption software it uses.
• Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
• Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.
• Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box and a phone number, call the seller to see if the number is correct and working.
• Send them e-mail to see if they have an active e-mail address and be wary of sellers who use free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
• Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.
• Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.
• Check out other web sites regarding this person/company.
• Don’t judge a person/company by their web site.
• Be cautious when responding to special offers (especially through unsolicited e-mail).
• Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.
• The safest way to purchase items via the internet is by credit card because you can often dispute the charges if something is wrong.
• Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers.
• You should also keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer’s contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s) you should contact the card issuer immediately.