Showing posts with label Crime Prevention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime Prevention. Show all posts

Friday, February 10, 2017

Credit Card Fraud Stats - Protect Yourself from Being Scammed

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Crime Prevention: GUEST EDITORIAL

Email scams have been around since the beginning of the Internet age. People have received all sorts of offers and schemes, and have been victimized over and over again. For one, there’s the Nigerian email scam which promises the reader a share of a very large sum of money which the letter sender cannot claim yet because of civil unrest in his country.

Most often than not, the letter sender pretends to be a general or a prince from Africa. There have been many variations of this scheme and the promises have become bigger and bigger. One thing remains true though, the recipient of the email is asked to deposit money to a certain account, and that’s the last he will ever hear from the letter sender. Bye bye money.

According to research, scam artists use email as their main point of contact when trying to dupe people. About 48 per cent of credit card scams originated from an email. So, if you want to keep yourself from becoming part of the statistic, you better learn to assess the kind of offers you respond to. First of all, there’s no such thing as an instant winning. If you didn’t buy a ticket to enter a raffle draw or joined any sweepstakes promotions, then you couldn’t possibly win.

These scammers are able to get names and email addresses from marketing companies, so don’t be fooled into thinking that they know you. For more ways to protect yourself from scammers and thieves, read our clear and well-researched infographic.

We’ve gone to great lengths to come up with the data and figures, so do read it and share with everyone you know. Vigilance is key.

Credit Card Fraud Stats - Protect Yourself from Being Scammed





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Copyright©2017/Allan B. Colombo
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Monday, November 30, 2015

The Personal Dangers of an Irresponsible, Online Social Life

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There are two aspects to social media life that have definite links to crime. The first one, and I believe the most important, relates to victimization due to the indulgence of too much personal information over social media networks.

The second relationship is your postings on social media and how they might implicate you in crimes--at least it can show propensity to certain psychological traits that may be subject to criminal actions. This information can be used against you in a court of law.

The Danger of Too Much Personal Information

If you stand back and look at what others are posting on Facebook, Google+, and others, you have to wonder whether they are really thinking about what they are doing. When some people go to the mall to shop, as in the holiday season, they invariably take pictures and make comments while they are out using their mobile device. Now listen, how many criminals out there are reading those postings?

If I were a criminal, I'd make these specific people an intense study. Once I knew who they were, I'd find out where they live, I'd get their cell number, and I'd keep a close eye on their routines. When the time seems right, I'd sit nearby and monitor Facebook so I'd know when they are gone and when they are headed back. In the mean time, I and my criminal buds would pay their home a visit--one the social media victim would never forget.

Social Media and Self Incrimination

Now, where social media becomes a means of self incrimination. Believe it or not, people that commit crimes many times have to brag about their capers. That goes for young kids as well as some older criminals. Take for example the case of teenage girls posting of video on social media of them roasting a kitten in a microwave (see video below).

I'm sure they didn't think it was so cool once the police arrested each one of them for the crime they so maliciously committed against an innocent, living animal.

Who's next, one of their little brothers?

The Dangers of High-Tech Gadgets and too Much Social Media

All of this leads me to the next thought... perhaps social media and the high-tech gadgets we've come to enjoy, depend on, and live by are somehow causing us to lose sight of the things that should matter the most to us. The next video, which is a TED Talk video on YouTube, accents just that.

In conclusion, social media is a great means of personal communication and the high-tech gadgets we use on a daily basis are also great tools for both personal enjoyment and business use, but we need to think about what we're doing when we post personal information.

Ask yourself this one question, "If there's a criminal out there watching me, is what I'm about to post going to enable them to harm me, my family, or my home?"

We use to hear "drink responsibly" in liquor commercials, but now we should be hearing, "post responsibly" where it pertains to our online social lives.

Al Colombo


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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crime and Crime Prevention During the Holiday Season

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The Holiday Season means many things to many people. For most of us, it means family fun, parties with friends and co-workers, and gifts galore. Unfortunately, it also can mean a rise in crime in your neighborhood.

There are four main holidays during December:

  1. Christmas
  2. Hanukkah
  3. Kwanzaa
  4. New Years
During December crime rates climb the closer we get to Christmas Day. It does so because more and more people are being victimized by criminals who may not have committed an ill deed if it were not for lack of work, insufficient income, and an inability to buy gifts and food for their families. Although we all feel bad for those who lack the money to have a good Christmas, we must endeavor to protect our own interests by doing whatever we can to stop crime before it even happens.
"Unfortunately our criminals may not have the money to go get Christmas presents for their families so they find illegal ways of doing that," said Bryan Police Department Public Information Officer Kelley McKethan. (http://bit.ly/1MY1PDF)
The primary focus in this regard is the presence of gifts in your home, in your car, and the money you carry in your wallet or purse.
“It only takes ten seconds for someone to smash your window and grab those items and leave,” said McKethan. “If someone does confront you, then comply with their demands and be a good witness. If you can, try and remember what they look like, if they have tattoos, or what they were wearing so you can give police a description that may lead to an arrest.” (http://bit.ly/1MY1PDF)
The issue here is "opportunity." If you give people an opportunity to take what is yours by leaving packages and gifts sitting in plain view in the backseat of your automobile, someone's going to see them and be tempted to take them in any way possible. As officer Kelley McKethan said, they will break a window, unlock your door, and remove your gifts in record time without anyone being the wiser.

The same is true of your home. Do you leave your drapes open for the world to peer in? Do you leave gifts strewn across the kitchen table without closing your drapes and then go away for hours on ending shopping for more? Do you have a quality, monitored alarm system in your home, in your automobile? Perhaps you should consider buying one before the holidays arrive.

Personal Risks During the Holidays

The gifts you buy that you left in the backseat of your car and those you left sitting all over the kitchen table with the drapes open are not the only thing at risk here. You, yourself, may very well be targeted while on the street, in the mall, in a parking lot, in a store. Many victims are targeted simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there's more.

Victims do not become victims without some help on their own part. Criminals do choose their victims carefully as they do not want to run the risk of running into one that may have the propensity to defend themselves, to fight back and perhaps subdue them so they are caught by police. They watch how you walk, how you hold your head, what you look at, how you act, and how you interact with others.

I've put together a great holiday crime prevention resource for you consisting of many dos and don'ts offered by police departments and others across the nation. I provide referring links so you can actually visit each resource for additional information. This is in the form of a sizable PDF ebook of sorts. It's free for the asking by signing up below.

To receive the Holiday Crime Prevention Resource Guide, sign up below. You will receive periodic emails from Al Colombo updating you on his blog.

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Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
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Monday, October 19, 2015

Why Alarm Systems and Crime Prevention Go Hand in Hand

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Preventing crime is what security is all about. It does little good to install an alarm system if your intent is merely to catch criminals already in the act of aggression.

The primary purpose of a video surveillance or electronic security alarm isn't any different than that of a quality deadbolt lock on all the doors--it's all about stopping a criminal before he/she commits the crime.

According to the Crime Prevention Website, "During research interviews by criminologists and post arrest interviews by me and many of my colleagues over the years most burglars (who expressed a preference) said that they were definitely put off by alarms!" (click here)

Right from the beginning, UL (Underwriters Laboratory) burglar alarm standards called for overt bell boxes, foil tape on windows, and other visible devices. This overt policy has not changed even though the tools of the trade have.

Even more importantly, the mere placement of yard signs and other visible means of protection without the actual functioning alarm system to go with it is not necessarily a wise idea either. When a crook decides to take the risk, he will enter the home or business without hesitation, in which case a working and monitored alarm system is invaluable.

If you're a home or business owner and you need advice on the type of alarm system to use, I recommend that you first talk with friends and colleagues who have an alarm system. Find out how they feel about the alarm company that did the initial installation. Did they do a good job of installing the components? Are they doing an equally good job of monitoring the system? Do they respond in a timely manner when there are problems?

Contact at least three alarm firms and have them come to your home or business for an on-sight evaluation. Don't accept a quote over the phone, and if one of them is unwilling to come to your home/business to visually evaluate the situation, say thank you and do not go any further with them--there is no one-size-fits-all alarm system.

Once you have three quotes under your belt, sit down and evaluate them.

Remember, bigger is not better. Look for longevity, quality, and long-term costs. Just because an alarm system is "free" when you get it is no indicator that you'll pay a respectable price in the long term. Weigh the entire package of each firm to assure that it's the right company, right system, and right dollars in the short as well as long term.

If you have questions, send them to me at allan@tpromo.com.


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(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

How Alarm Systems Deter Crime

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In my early years in electronic security, as a technician and alarm company owner, I thought in terms of catching thieves rather than preventing crimes. My focus was clearly on technology for detection and not prevention, but over time I came to understand that I had it backwards. That lesson didn’t come soon enough though as I was in the business more than 16 years before I figured it out.

It was sometime in the early 1990s that this revelation took place, while I was an associate editor with Security Distributing & Marketing Magazine (SDM) in Chicago. I was doing research for a story on burglar alarm systems when I discovered that UL actually requires overt placement of security devices, such as bell boxes, the use of foil tape on windows, and more. The idea is simple. We want would-be criminals to see that there’s an alarm in place so they go elsewhere. Of course there are other things we need to do as well as additional items that the end user must have in place to assure prevention. Some of them I have covered in previous blog posts and articles throughout the years.

Yard Signs and Window Decals
Perhaps one of the most-simple actions that we take as alarm professionals is to install yard signs and decals on key windows outside the business or home. End users, if your installing alarm company fails to do this, you need to give them a call because chances are, the technicians who were there installing your system likely ran low on them or they forgot. In either case, you need to make the front office aware of the issue so they can send someone out to make it right. The fact is, yard signs and decals, although not the only solution to crime, do act to slow, minimize, even stop criminal action.

Keypad Visibility in Commercial
Having a keypad in the front foyer of a story may seem risky, given the fact that there are usually a host of buttons/keys on

them that a child might use to send a silent panic alarm, set the fire alarm into motion, or issue a distress or call for medical help. This is absolutely so in cases where the installing alarm company failed to deprogram those critical keys out of the system, but for alarm professionals who give all this serious thought, it’s not a problem. In most cases there’s a second keypad at a separate employee entrance or in an office in a non-public location of the store.

Multiple Siren Speaker Boxes
First, it’s always wise to install trumpet speakers, especially in commercial applications. Second, it’s also wise to place them in a metal box when these speakers are placed outside the store or in visible locations within. Perhaps even more important is to include tamper switches inside these boxes such that if someone removes or pries them from the wall, or they open the cover, the alarm system sounds off, summoning the police in the process. The visibility of multiple speakers and speaker boxes inside and outside is usually enough to unnerve even the best and most experienced of burglars.

In conclusion, there are things that can be done to enhance and equip alarm systems to suppress crime in a natural manner so the crimes we normally detect won't happen in the first place. Although the few items mentioned above are important elements in the crime prevention equation, there are many others that can be used to further deterrence.

Be sure to check back for part 2, and if you have a question, feel free to use my Comments and Questions form in the left column.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Know Who's Knocking Before Unlocking

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In my last blog post I talked about keeping your family safe and I provided a 10-point list of things you can do to help in that mission. Today, I'd like to discuss the means whereby you can fulfill some of those points, specifically items 1 through 4.

There are many types of intercoms to choose from. Working our way down from the top two categories we're looking at:

  1. Professionally Installed, and
  2. Do It Yourself

First, allow me to say that professionally-installed intercoms are usually of better quality and they usually look better and work more proficiently than their do-it-yourself counterparts. For example, where the former will involve the routing of wires into the basement through the walls, the latter will usually not. In other words, unless you're a pro, it's unlikely you'll be able to hide your wires.

The next decision that you will have to make involves the following:

  1. Hardwired, or
  2. Wireless

Do-it-yourself intercoms are available that are hardwired as well as wireless, the latter using batteries for their method of power. The cost of this type of system is relatively high by comparison, but you will save on hiring a pro by installing them yourself. The drawback to this, however, relates to the on-going need to replace batteries and the eventual risk of corrosion and the destruction of the metallic elements inside the battery compartments.

Another possible choice is video, in addition to an intercom. Cameras come in all shapes and sizes and they offer you a unique service--they allow you to view the person(s) at the door without their knowledge. Obviously, if the caller is brandishing a gun, if there are several people and you don't know any of them, you might not want to answer the door at all. Instead, you may want to dial 911 in order to get ahead of an event that may still occur. Cameras can be installed anywhere on the house in order to watch from various approaches.

Cameras are available that contain infrared LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) that light an area in front of the camera. There are cameras available that can see 30 feet ahead while there are others rated for 100 feet. The farther the distance, the more the camera will cost. If you're looking at the doorways, a 30-foot model will usually do the job quite fine.

Another choice is that of a video intercom where both intercom and camera are contained in the same system. The fact that both are contained in the same unit makes it easier for you to look and talk. It also means less muss and fuss on installation because instead of a camera mounted on the overhang, now it's in the outdoor intercom unit next to the door. Instead of two sets of cable to install, one of them through the attic, now there's only one.

The outdoor video intercom unit looks like a common intercom, with the exception that there's a large black section behind which there's a camera. Some criminals will know that there's a camera there, but many won't.

No matter which way you decide to go, having a means of communicating and viewing the caller is critical to your safety. Even having a simple through-the-door lens/viewer will give you a leg-up on who's standing on the other side BEFORE you unlock and open the door.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Assure the Safety of Your Family at Home

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As times get tougher we're going to see more and more crime occurring in the streets all around us. Those of you who live in the city will be especially vulnerable to criminals as well as others who may be out of work and in need of food to fee their families. I know this sort of thing is unpleasant to chat about, and I know that no one really wants to think about it, but this is a reality even now as I write this blog post.

Protecting yourself and your family is an important aspect of being a husband, a mother, or a father. It's frustrating when we fail to do so, and even worse, it can be devastating wen we fail to do so and something terrible happens because of our own ignorance or thoughtlessness.

A good example of this recently took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where two women and three children were shot by three men. Police say the shooters were already inside the home when the shooting took place, which may or may not mean they were given access to the home by those inside.

The following list offers some advice on how to stay safe and sound in your own home:

  1. Never open the door to someone you don't know. Find out who it is before unlocking the door.
  2. Install some means whereby you can easily and quickly discern who it is that's knocking at the door. One suggesting is a simple battery-operated intercom.
  3. A camera will give you visual confirmation that a) the person is who he/she says they are, and b) that there's no one else with them.
  4. You also can install video intercom units that have both an intercom and a camera.
  5. Use a chain latch on the inside of the door to give you that extra margin of safety in case the person you're expecting is not the one you thought he was or he suddenly decides to do you harm.
  6. Install a quality deadbolt lock on all doors leading into the home. Be sure to use a single-cylinder lock with a thumb turn on the inside of the door to assure rapid escape in case of a fire.
  7. A wireless panic button worn around the neck will enable you to gain the help of others in the neighborhood as well as police and paramedics when ans where needed.
  8. If it's a service man and you were not aware of his coming to your home or apartment, ask for the name of his supervisor, call his company, and ask for the super to describe his man. If you are still unsure, ask him to come back when your husband or a friend is present.
  9. If your children walk to school, you need to be with them. Walk them to and from school every day.
  10. Have quality lighting installed outside of each entrance and make sure it works. Burglars and robbers do not like light and that will make them go elsewhere to burglarize.
There are many more possible things to do at home or at your apartment to reduce your crime risk. In the coming weeks I'll offer additional suggestions.

Al Colombo


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www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crime Prevention Begins at the Front Door

I have always been big on crime prevention, especially since my father's home was broken into back in the early 1970s. That prompted he and I to install a home-brew alarm system consisting of relays, surface magnetic door switches, foil tape on his windows with butterfly transition devices, and Amprite delay devices to provide an entry/exit delay (that sure took me back a ways).

Here's the deal, crime prevention should be part of everyone's life. Every single day good people are victimized by bad guys. In most cases the victim was not aware of things going on around him/her. Because they did not practice situational awareness, they failed to see it coming.

One of the most common areas where victimization occurs is in the home. More and more we're hearing in the news of home invasions where the homeowner(s) is there when a criminal act take place. In a good number of them the homeowner him/herself unlocked and opened the door, thus allowing a bad guy to push his way into the home.

The lives of two children, ages 4 and 7, were threatened Tuesday night when four people entered a man’s apartment and told him they would shoot his children if he didn’t give them money. (read more)

You can greatly reduce your risk by simply NOT unlocking and opening the door to a caller. Instead, verify who they are and what they want before incurring a risk. One way to do this is to install a through-the-door peephole lens through which you can see people on the other side.

In most instances you can talk back and forth through the door to find out what they want. If this is not efficient, then have a small two-station, battery-operated intercom installed. They can actually be installed back to back when they are surfaced on the outside and inside walls. If feedback is an issue, install a thin piece of foam or rubber insulation on the backside of each unit to minimize the problem.

Not all home invasions happen as a due course of unlocking and opening a door.

Berndt Anderson, 63, was awakened around midnight by a man rummaging in his bedroom at 130 Arbor Drive, according to a police report. Anderson told police that he chased the man out, but was confronted by two other men in the house -- one who appeared to have a gun.(read more)

In this case it's wise to install a burglar alarm system covering at least your doors. If you are concerned enough and you have the money, include the windows. This will help to frighten off would-be criminals once the alarm sounds. You might also consider installing a single-cylinder deadbolt lock on your bedroom door so if someone does proceed to enter once the alarm sounds, you can minimize your risk and maximize your chances of successful police response by locking your door.

Although there is no sure way to stop a determined criminal from getting into your home, you can slow him down and maximize your chances of survival in an assortment of ways.


About the Author

Al Colombo is a former trade journalist in the physical security and life safety markets. His 28-year career includes the title of Associate Editor with Security Distributing & Marketing Magazine and Technical Editor with Security Sales & Integration. His freelance work has also appeared in Security Dealer & Integrator, Locksmith Ledger, National Locksmith, Security & Life Safety, Alarm Installing Dealer, Electrical Contractor Magazine, and The Electrical Distributor, in addition to writing promotional copy for Honeywell Life Safety, Digital Monitoring Products, Home Automation Inc., Camden Door Controls, and numerous websites throughout cyberspace. To contact Al Colombo, click here.