Scam and fraud protection advice as we head into the holidays!

Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Crime Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Burbridge, also sent us the following:

Dear community members, Block Watch Captains and SW Precinct community groups,

Around this time of year, around the Holiday season, we often see an increase in scam and fraud incidents. Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people each year- for money and/or personal information. These crooks often combine new technology with old tricks to get what they are looking for. Subsets of the population are more vulnerable to these types of scams- but everyone can help protect themselves by keeping the following ten practical suggestions in mind, provided by the Federal Trade Commission:

  1. Spot imposters– scammers will often try to disguise themselves as someone you trust (such as a government official, family member or charitable organization). Never send money or give our personal information in response to an unexpected request.
  2. Do online searches– try typing in the company or product name into a search engine with key words like ‘review’, ‘complaint’ or ‘scam’. You can also look up phone numbers to check on their validity.
  3. Do not believe caller ID– technology makes it simple for scammers to fake a caller ID. If you receive a call asking for personal information or money, hang up. If you feel the caller is legitimate- try calling back a number, you know is genuine for that person or company.
  4. Do not pay upfront for a promise– scammers may try to ask you to pay up front for debt relief, loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job (such as handy work or lawn maintenance).
  5. Consider how you pay– most credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, while other payment methods (such as wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram) do not have these protections. Government offices and honest companies will not require you to use a risky payment method, keep this in mind when paying.
  6. Talk to someone– scammers will often want you to make decisions in a hurry and may even threaten you. Before you give money or personal information, slow down, check out the story, do an online search and maybe even talk to an expert or friend about the request.
  7. Hang up on robocalls– if you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report this to the Federal Trade Commission and/or to local police. These calls are illegal and are often fake. Do not follow prompts, just hang up.
  8. Be skeptical about free trials online– some companies will use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you each month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, review the company’s cancelation policy and always check your monthly statements to review charges.
  9. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back– banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but discovering a fraudulent check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be fake, you are responsible for repaying the bank.
  10. Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/scams– get the latest tips and advice about scams directly to your email.

For more information, or to access tips and suggestions in other languages, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer website- https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/money-credit

As always, please feel free to share this information with your neighbors, friends and community groups.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving week!

 

Jennifer Burbridge #8048

Crime Prevention Coordinator, Southwest Precinct

Desk: (206) 256-6820, Cell: (206) 471-2849

Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov

 

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Info from SPD to help you safely weather this winter storm season!

Crime Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Burbridge, also sent us the following this month:

Dear SW Precinct Community,

As we head into the winter storm season, it is crucial to learn what to do to keep you and your loved ones safe!! Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on windy/wintry roads and fires cause by the improper use of heaters.

Before a winter snow storm- make sure you are prepared! Being prepared means assembling an emergency preparedness kit, creating a household evacuation plan that includes you pets and staying informed about your community’s risk and response plans. There are many different organizations that can tell you what should be in your family’s emergency preparedness kit, including the American Red Cross, West Seattle Be Prepared, and the Seattle Officer of Emergency Management. A few basic essentials for a family emergency kit include: food, water, flashlight, cell phone with charger, extra batteries, maps of the area and a first aid kit.

During a winter snow storm- do not drive unnecessarily, if you have the ability to stay home, do so. If you must drive- plan to travel during daylight if at all possible, check weather reports for any areas that you will be driving through before leaving home, keep spare an emergency kit, as well as spare blankets and coats in your trunk at all times, keep your headlights on during any situation with lowered visibility, even during the day (including fog, snow, extreme wind, and rain), turn your car’s radio to a station that will keep you updated with any news about approaching storms in the area, never use your cellphone or other devices that could be distracting while driving, alert a friend or family member when you leave home and arrive at your destination when driving in bad weather and if you begin to feel uncomfortable behind the wheel- pull over as soon as you can safely do so.

Windstorms are particularly common in the Pacific NW during this time of year; It is extremely important that every family prepares accordingly! Power outages are one of the most significant problem caused by windstorms, and much of the damage caused during these storms come from falling trees. Areas with heavy tree cover and limited street connections to the rest of the city are vulnerable to power outages and transportation problems. Before a wind storm – contact vendors to know the proper use of home generators, know what emergency plans are in place at your workplace, school and daycare center, conduct a home safety evaluation (including garage doors, windows, doors and nearby trees) and fasten down any outdoor equipment and/or move items indoors as needed. During a windstorm- don’t panic, listen to your radio for emergency instructions and turn off all natural gas appliances; if you are indoors- move away from windows and objects that could fall, go to lower floors in multi-story homes; if you are outdoors- move into a building, avoid downed powerlines, utility poles and trees; if you are driving- when you park, stop away from trees, avoid walking under overpasses, powerlines and other hazards.

For more information, please visit:

The American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies

The Seattle Officer of Emergency Management: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency-management

West Seattle Be Prepared: http://westseattlebeprepared.org/

 

I have attached this helpful newsletter, as well as a few other resources from the American Red Cross and Alert Seattle.

Please feel free to distribute this information to family and friends and let us know if you have any questions!

Stay safe!

 

Here are the attachments in .pdf format – so you can easily print them and follow the links.

New December Safety Newsletter and a reminder from the SW Precinct!

We’ve received a new crime prevention newsletter as well as an important reminder from Jennifer Burbridge at the SW Police Precinct.

First, her December Safety Newsletter is embedded here, and linked below in .pdf format – it arrived this morning and was accompanied by this note:

As we delve into the holiday season, there are many important crime prevention suggestions to keep in mind.

Attached and provided below is the SW Precinct December Crime Prevention Newsletter, focused on holiday safety!

Let me know if you have any questions.

And keep an eye out for more important holiday crime prevention tips!

Here is the file in .pdf format – so you can easily print it or follow the links.

 

As well, yesterday we received this reminder that the Seattle Public Safety Survey deadline is fast-approaching:

From: Burbridge, Jennifer [mailto:Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov]
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2017 11:43 AM
Subject: Seattle Public Safety Survey- Last Week to Ensure Your Voice is Heard!!!

If you haven’t yet taken the 2017 Seattle Public Safety Survey, I would like to ask you to take a few minutes to do so — The survey will only be available for one more week!

If you have crime or safety concerns, this is your opportunity to voice your opinion. A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to assist in making Seattle neighborhoods safer and more secure. The survey is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org through November 30th and is available in 11 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya and Vietnamese!

Make sure your voice is heard by completing the public safety survey today: http://publicsafetysurvey.org/index.html

Please help us to make sure everyone knows about this opportunity! Feel free to distribute this information to your friends, family, neighbors, community groups and co-workers.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Here are the files in .pdf format – so you can easily print them.

More timely safety information from SPD!

We’ve received more useful safety information from Jennifer Burbridge at the SW Police Precinct recently.

First, her November Safety Newsletter is embedded below – it arrived November 2nd and was accompanied by this note:

Good evening,

Attached and provided below is the SW Precinct monthly crime prevention newsletter, which focuses on traffic safety as we head into the winter months when there is less and less daylight.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Please feel free to distribute this newsletter to your family, friends, neighbors and community groups.

Have a great weekend!

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As well, we received the following note and flyer from Jennifer on November 7th:

From: Burbridge, Jennifer [mailto:Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 5:24 PM
Subject: Seattle’s Sharp Collection Pilot Program

Please see the attached flyer regarding Seattle’s Sharp Collection Pilot Program.

This flyer explains what to do if you find a needle, how to report needles on public property, safe handling instructions, as well as provides a map of needle drop-off locations.

For more information please visit: www.seattle.gov/util/sharps or call (206) 684-2489.

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Here are the files in .pdf format – so you can easily print them or follow the links.

Highlights from our October meeting!

Thanks to all who participated in our monthly meeting last night! It was great to see so many new faces in the room, as well as familiar ones. Our agenda included updates from SW Precinct Commander, Captain Pierre Davis; as well as a discussion on crime and safety issues with Seattle City Councilmember, Lisa Herbold.

West Seattle Blog has coverage of Lisa Herbold’s segment of the meeting here. We’ll add their coverage of Captain Davis’ remarks when they are posted. [Added, 10/27: here.]

Following up, here are links to the announcements that we made about upcoming events.

  • This coming Saturday, October 28th, is Drug Take Back Day. Please let your Block Watch members know! It is an easy step we can all take to make our neighborhoods safer.
  • Crime Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Burbridge has recently published Halloween Safety Tips that you can share with your friends and neighborhoods. At last night’s meeting, she reminded everyone to get in touch if they want to be added to her newsletter mailing list, or if they want to set up a new Block Watch group.
  • The 3rd annual Seattle Public Safety Survey is underway now through November 30th. Please participate so that West Seattle safety concerns are well-represented.

This was our final meeting of 2017. Our next West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 23rd, 6:30 to 8 PM, in the community meeting room at the SW Precinct. We hope you will join us then!

Yearly meeting schedule: We meet on 4th Tuesdays, eight times per year. We do not hold monthly meetings in November or December, as the 4th Tuesday falls too close to holidays. For those of you who like to plan ahead, we also take a Summer Hiatus during the months of July and August.

Questions? Comments? You can reach us via email, at wsblockwatchnet@gmail.com. As well, you’ll find our group on Facebook at West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network and on Twitter at @wsblockwatchnet.

Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, October 28th, 10 AM – 2 PM!

The following announcement came to us via Crime Prevention Coordinator, Jennifer Burbridge.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications.

The SW Precinct’s DEA Drug Take Back Day will be on October 28th from 10am until 2pm- at the SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster).

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

You can reach Jennifer at Jennifer.Burbridge@seattle.gov, or (206) 256-6820. As well, you can usually find her at our WSBWCN monthly meetings!