Winter 2015-2016 Safety & Security

The following crimes were reported in Providence Plantation from September 1 to December 14.   Crimes Reported Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Total Assault – Non Aggravated Fraud 1 1 Larceny […]

The following crimes were reported in Providence Plantation from September 1 to December 14.

 

Crimes Reported Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Total

Assault – Non

Aggravated

Fraud 1 1

Larceny from Auto 1 1

Larceny – Other 2 2

Vandalism 1 1 1 3

Total Crimes Reported 2 3 1 3 9

 

I am happy to report that we have had a significant decrease (76%) in crime when compared to

the same time as last year. From Sept. 1, 2014 – Dec. 14, 2014, we had 38 reported crimes.

YTD reported crime has dropped 45%. During 2015, we had 9 reported incidents of Fraud.

Below are some hints on how you can prevent one type of fraud.

 

Shopping safely online

Shopping has become a popular way to purchase items without the hassles of traffic and

crowds. However, the Internet has unique risks, so it is important to take steps to protect

yourself when shopping online.

 

Why do online shoppers have to take special precautions?

 

The Internet offers convenience not available from other shopping outlets. From the comfort of

your home, you can search for items from multiple vendors, compare prices with a few mouse

clicks, and make purchases without waiting in line. However, the Internet is also convenient for

attackers, giving them multiple ways to access the personal and financial information of

unsuspecting shoppers. Attackers who are able to obtain this information may use it for their

own financial gain, either by making purchases themselves or by selling the information to

someone else.

 

How do attackers target online shoppers?

 

There are three common ways that attackers can take advantage of online shoppers:

  • Creating fraudulent sites and email messages – Unlike traditional shopping, where

you know that a store is actually the store it claims to be, attackers can create malicious

websites or email messages that appear to be legitimate. Attackers may also

misrepresent themselves as charities, especially after natural disasters or during holiday

seasons. Attackers create these malicious sites and email messages to try to convince

you to supply personal and financial information.

  • Intercepting insecure transactions – If a vendor does not use encryption, an attacker

may be able to intercept your information as it is transmitted.

  • Targeting vulnerable computers – If you do not take steps to protect your computer

from viruses or other malicious code, an attacker may be able to gain access to your

computer and all of the information on it. It is also important for vendors to protect their

computers to prevent attackers from accessing customer databases.

 

How can you protect yourself?

 

  • Do business with reputable vendors – Before providing any personal or financial

information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor.

Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious websites that appear to be

legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information. (For

further info got to https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014.) Attackers may obtain a

site certificate for a malicious website to appear more authentic, so review the certificate

information, particularly the “issued to” information. Locate and note phone numbers and

physical addresses of vendors in case there is a problem with your transaction or your

bill.

  • Make sure your information is being encrypted – Many sites use secure sockets layer

(SSL) to encrypt information. Indications that your information will be encrypted include a

URL that begins with “https:” instead of “http:” and a padlock icon. If the padlock is

closed, the information is encrypted. The location of the icon varies by browser; for

example, it may be to the right of the address bar or at the bottom of the window. Some

attackers try to trick users by adding a fake padlock icon, so make sure that the icon is in

the appropriate location for your browser.

  • Be wary of emails requesting information – Attackers may attempt to gather

information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account

information. Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email.

Do not provide sensitive information through email. If you receive an unsolicited email

from a business, instead of clicking on the provided link, directly log on to the authentic

website by typing the address yourself. (For further info go to https://www.us-

cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/emailscams_0905.pdf).

  • Use a credit card – There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card

charges, but you may not have the same level of protection for your debit cards.

Additionally, because a debit card draws money directly from your bank account,

unauthorized charges could leave you with insufficient funds to pay other bills. You can

minimize potential damage by using a single, low-limit credit card to making all of your

online purchases. Also use a credit card when using a payment gateway such as PayPal,

Google Wallet, or Apple Pay.

  • Check your shopping app settings – Look for apps that tell you what they do with your

data and how they keep it secure. Keep in mind that there is no legal limit on your liability

with money stored in a shopping app (For further info go to

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0515-apps-help-you-shop-stores) or on a gift card.

Unless otherwise stated under the terms of service, you are responsible for all charges

made through your shopping app.

  • Check your statements – Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation

pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it

immediately. (Further info go to https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST05-019.)

  • Check privacy policies – Before providing personal or financial information, check the

website’s privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored

and used. (For further info go to https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-013.)

 

Credit Monitoring

 

Instead of signing up for expensive services that monitor your credit records for identity theft, do

it yourself for free. You can now get a free copy of your credit reports from each of the three

bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) every 12 months. Stagger your requests with each

of the three bureaus so you get one report every four months. Review each one carefully for

errors or unauthorized charges.

 

It is important to report all incidents of crime to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police

Department.   For crimes in progress and other emergencies, dial 911.  For non-emergencies,

and past crimes, call 311.

 

You can also report the following past crimes using the Online Reporting System; Larceny,

Harassing Phone Calls, Theft from Auto, or Property Damage. You can do so at:

http://ww.charmeck.org/online_reporting/report.htm or by a link from http://www.cmpd.org

Also, please notify me at 849-9234, between 9am and 9pm, or you can e-mail me at

hkatowitz@nullwindstream.net

 

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe New Year.

 

Harvey Katowitz

Security Chairperson