- Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help if you are separated from each other.
- Accompany your child to the restroom.
- Don't leave your children alone in a vehicle.
- Teach children their full name, address, and telephone number to give to police officers.
- Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
Your Motor Vehicle
- Keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed.
- When shopping at night, park in a well-lighted area.
- When approaching and leaving your vehicle be aware of your surroundings.
- Never leave your vehicle unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
- Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
- Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your vehicle. This creates a temptation for thieves. Lock your gifts in the trunk or put them out of sight.
- Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your vehicle.
- Ask store security for an escort to your vehicle if you have a funny feeling or see suspicious activity.
Using an Automated Teller Machine
- Choose an ATM in a well-lighted location.
- Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from people standing near you.
- Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.
If you were locked out of your house, would you still be able to get in? Maybe you keep an unlocked window in the back, or a hidden key in your mailbox or on top of a window ledge? You may think this is a good idea, but guess what? If you can break in, so can a burglar!
Many burglars will spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to break into a home. Good locks and good neighbors, who watch out for each other, can be big deterrents to burglars.
There is More You Can Do
- Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If one doesn't exist, you can start one with help from local law enforcement.
- Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home.
- Work with neighbors and local government to organize community clean-ups. The cleaner your neighborhood, the less attractive it is to crime.
Check the Locks
Did you know that in almost half of all completed residential burglaries, thieves simply breezed in through unlocked doors or crawled through unlocked windows?
- Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead bolt lock. Key-in-the-knob locks alone are not enough.
- Sliding glass doors can offer easy access if they are not properly secured. You can secure them by installing commercially available locks or putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside track to jam the door.
- Instead of hiding keys around the outside of your home, give an extra key to a neighbor you trust.
- When you move into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.
Check the Outside
- Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at night.
- Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't hide doors or windows.
- If you travel, create the illusion that you're at home by getting some timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
- Don't let your mail pile up! Call the post office to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick it up.
- Make a list of your valuables - Take photos of the items, list their serial numbers and description.
Be Alert When Out & About
- Go with friends or family, not alone.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pant's pocket.
- Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
- Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
- Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
- Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway.
- If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
Make Your Home Safe & Secure
- Install good locks on doors and windows - and be sure to use them! Don't hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Instead, leave an extra set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
- Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
- Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well-lit so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
- Consider a home alarm system that provides monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
Watch Out for Con Artists
- Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true; like a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for cancer and arthritis, or a low-risk, high-yield investment scheme.
- Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
- Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything like an insurance policy, a sales agreement, or a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
- Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
- If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, or local consumer protection office. Call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
It's not always easy to spot con artists. They're smart, extremely persuasive, and aggressive. They invade your home by telephone and mail, advertise in well-known newspapers and magazines, and come to your door.
Most people think they're too smart to fall for a scam. But con artists rob all kinds of people, from investment counselors and doctors to teenagers and elderly widows of billions of dollars every year. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
You Can Protect Yourself
- Never give a caller your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
- Beware of 900 numbers. People who call 900 numbers to request instant credit often end up with a booklet on how to establish credit or a list of banks offering low-interest credit cards. Such calls can end up costing $50 or more, but consumers rarely end up obtaining credit.
- Listen carefully to the name of a charity requesting money. Fraudulent charities often use names that sound like a reputable, well-known organization such as the American Cancer Association (instead of the American Cancer Society).
- Ask for a financial report before you donate; a reputable charity will always send you 1.
- Investigate before you invest. Never make an investment with a stranger over the phone. Beware of promises that include the terms "get rich quick," or "a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Be a Wise Consumer
- Don't buy health products or treatments that include: a promise for a quick and dramatic cure, testimonials, imprecise and nonmedical language, appeals to emotion instead of reason, or a single product that cures many ills. Quackery can delay an ill person from getting timely treatment.
- Look closely at offers that come in the mail. Con artists often use official-looking forms and bold graphics to lure victims. If you receive items in the mail that you didn't order, you are under no obligation to pay for them, throw them out, return them, or keep them.
- Be suspicious of ads that promise quick cash working from your home. After you've paid for the supplies or a how-to book to get started, you often find there's no market for the product and there's no way to get your money back.
- Beware of cheap home repair work that would otherwise be expensive, regardless of the reason given. The con artist may just do part of the work, use shoddy materials and untrained workers, or simply take your deposit and never return.
- Use common sense in dealing with auto repairs. One mechanic convinced a woman that she needed to have the winter air in tires replaced with summer air! Get a written estimate, read it carefully, and never give the repair shop a blank check to fix everything.
Protect Yourself From Telemarketing Fraud
Your best protection is to just hang up the phone. If you think that is rude, tell these callers politely that you are not interested, don't want to waste their time, and please don't call back and then hang up.
If you find yourself caught up in a sales pitch, remember the federal government's telemarketing sales rules:
- You have to be told the name of the company, the fact that it is a sales call, and what's being sold. If a prize is being offered, you have to be told immediately that there is no purchase necessary to win.
- If the caller says you've won a prize, you cannot be asked to pay anything for it. You can't even be required to pay shipping charges. If it is a sweepstakes, the caller must tell you how to enter without making a purchase.
- You cannot be asked to pay in advance for services such as cleansing your credit record, finding you a loan, acquiring a prize they say you've won. You pay for services only if they're actually delivered.
- You shouldn't be called before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. If you tell telemarketers not to call again, they can't. If they do, they have broken the law.
- If you're guaranteed a refund, the caller has to tell you all the limitations.
And remember, don't give telemarketers your credit card number, your bank account number, Social Security Number or authorize bank drafts.
Back to School Safety Tips
Tips & Reminders
- Always take a friend when walking to and from school. It's safer and more fun to be with your friends. Walk and ride in well-lit areas, and never take shortcuts. Follow all the bicycle rules, especially the 1 about riding on the right side of the street.
- Stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop. If anyone bothers you while going to or from school, get away from that person, and tell a trusted adult like your parents or teacher. If an adult approaches you for help or directions, remember grownups needing help should not ask children for help; they should ask other adults.
- If someone you don't know offers you a ride, say no. Never hitchhike and only accept a ride from someone if your parents have told you it is okay.
- If someone follows you on foot, get away from him or her as quickly as you can. If someone follows you in a car, turn around and go in the other direction. Always be sure to tell your parents or a trusted adult what happened.
- If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away and yell, "This person is trying to take me away!" or "This person is not my father (mother)!"
- Never leave school with someone you don't feel comfortable with or know. Always check first with your parents or another trusted adult. If someone you don't know or feel comfortable with tells you that there is an emergency and they want you to go with them, always check first before you do anything. Make sure you tell a trusted adult if you notice someone you don't know hanging around.
- If you want to change your plans after school, always check first with your parents. Never play in parks, malls, or video arcades by yourself. Make sure you have your parents' permission, and they know where you are going to be. Never accept money or gifts from anyone until you check first with your parents.
- If you go home alone after school, check to see that everything is okay before you go in.
- Once inside, call your parents to let them know that you are okay. Make sure you follow your "Home Alone" rules; keeping the door locked, not opening the door for or talking to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative and you feel comfortable being alone with that person, and the visit has been approved by your parents, and not telling people who call that you are home alone.
- Have a neighbor or trusted adult that you can call if you're scared or there's an emergency.
- Trust your feelings. If someone makes you scared or uncomfortable, get away as fast as you can and tell a trusted adult. You deserve to feel safe, and you should keep asking until you get the help you need.
Auto Theft Safety Tips
You go to bed knowing your car is safe and sound in your driveway. You wake up the next morning only to find your car is gone. Maybe you get a call from the police department asking you if you know where your car is. You're in shock, confused, angry; an array of emotions comes over you. You say to yourself, "How could this happen to me?"
Once the reality of the situation sets in, you begin the frustrating process of reporting the theft to the police and looking for your insurance information.
How to Report a Stolen Vehicle?
- Call 911 if the theft of your vehicle is in progress. Any other time please call our non-emergency number at 508-872-1212.
- Have your license plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) available. Your title will have the VIN number as well as your insurance policy paperwork. Keep your title in a secured location in your home. Do not keep it in your vehicle.
- This basic information with a physical description of your vehicle is immediately broadcast to all patrol officers.
- You are required to come into the Police Station and file a written auto theft report.
Note: If a lending company has repossessed your vehicle, they are required to notify the law enforcement agency for that jurisdiction. If you should move or change your telephone numbers you should immediately contact the police department with the new information.
That is how you are notified when your vehicle is recovered. If your vehicle is returned, you should notify the police department to officially report your vehicle as recovered.