Washington County Sheriff - Current Articles

The Washington County Sheriff's Office offers articles on safety, current events, traffic violations, public safety and more. Look for timely information and tips on this & what's happening at the Sheriff's Office.  Check out our Archived Articles.

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Current Articles

Crime Prevention

Crime prevention and personal safety tips to help keep you and your community safe from crime.

In these times of economic distress, many people are concerned about the threat of rising crime in their communities. Fortunately, there are ways to help protect your home and your neighborhood from crime. From simple steps like keeping your doors locked to starting a Neighborhood Watch program, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent crime.
Work with your neighbors to keep your neighborhood clean and orderly. Keep spare keys with a trusted neighbor or nearby shopkeeper, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox. Set timers on lights when you're away from home or your business is closed, so they appear to be occupied. Illuminate or eliminate places an intruder might hide: the spaces between trees or shrubs, stairwells, alleys, hallways, and entry ways. With many law enforcement agencies cutting costs, it has never been more important for citizens to work together to prevent crime.

Neighborhood Safety Tips For Parents
Advice for parents on keeping your kids safe in your neighborhood

Neighborhood Watch
Tips and information on starting and running a Neighborhood Watch program

Techniques people can use to reduce crime in their communities

Gas Station Theft Prevention
Tips and posters for preventing crime in gas stations

Locking Your Home
Times have changed, and locks have changed, but burglars still look for homes that are easy targets.


Article by: The National Crime Prevention Council


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Cross Border Fraud

What is Cross Border Fraud?
Cross-border fraud is one crime increasingly on the rise.  Consumers in the United States and beyond are losing billions of dollars ever year to criminals who operate these scams from across the border.  These crimes initiate in what are known as "boiler rooms", the facilities from which they pitch an array of bogus investments, products and services.  The most common instance of cross-border fraud involves foreign lottery scams, phony prize winnings, advanced fee schemes and irrelevant loss protection offers for credit cards.

The psychology of international fraud
The scams behind cross-border fraud are based on lies and scare tactics to trap on unknowing victims.  Some of these con artists are bold enough to portray themselves as government officials, informing you of substantial winnings or federal money you're entitled to.  Posing as someone related with a government agency adds legitimacy to the solicitation, making the criminal appear more believable.

Cross-border fraud is difficult to eliminate because victims generally have no clue of where these telemarketing calls originate.   The criminals are rather crafty, sometimes having their mail forwarded from the U.S. while using phone numbers based in Canada or the U.K., causing them to resemble basic long-distance numbers.  Most of the time, those attempting cross-border fraud want you to wire funds to them.  This allows them to quickly pull off the scam while making the crime difficult to trace.  Once they have your funds and personal information, you are then wide open to an array of dangerous crimes, including identity theft. 

Protecting yourself from becoming a victim of cross border fraud 
The best defense against this type of fraud is to remain weary of suspicious phone calls and emails.  If a stranger suddenly offers you prize winnings or money for no reason, more than likely, it's all too good to be true. Falling victim to such a tempting ploy could spell financial disaster in the end.   
The United States Federal Trade Commission recently created a new website dedicated to helping consumers detect, prevent and completely elude cross-border fraud: http://www.ftc.gov/crossborder/

This site provides information on legal action taken by the FTC against the perpetrators of cross-border fraud.  It also contains details on the FTC's relationship with foreign law enforcement agencies to collectively combat this costly problem.   

The new FTC website allows consumers to download useful publications such as "Border-line Scams are the Real Thing", "Hang Up on Cross-border Phone Fraud" and "Straight Talk About Telemarketing".  You will also find a downloadable poster in full color entitled "Foreign Lotteries: The Games You Can't Win".  This poster includes a list of legitimate lottery vendors and warns consumers of those costly scams that should be avoided.  The FTC's "Five-Point Plan for Attacking Cross-Border Fraud" is another feature that provides improved interaction amongst public and private sectors along with more involvement from law enforcement. 

Aside from the wealth of information provided by the Federal Trade Commission, you can also learn more ways to defend against cross-border fraud by visiting www.fraud.org, the online home for the National Fraud Information Center.  For advice on other fraudulent crimes, you can place at toll free call at: (800) 876-7060.      


Article by SpamLaws.Com


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Internet Auction Fraud

Computers, sports memorabilia, rare coins, designer fashions, and even cars.

These are just a few of the items offered for sale every day on legitimate online auction sites. They’re also just a small sample of the items used to lure unsuspecting victims into online auction fraud schemes.

Most of the one million-plus transactions that take place each day on these websites are legitimate; just a fraction actually result in some type of fraud.

But even that fraction adds up. According to the latest report of the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), more than 70,000 complaints made to IC3 last year—about one in every four—involved online auction scams.

There are a variety of auction frauds, but here are some of the more common ones to watch out for:

And needless to say, in all of these schemes customers never get what they pay for.

Who is behind the scams. Mostly individuals. However, there are exceptions: criminal enterprises from West Africa are especially fond of the overpayment scams, while Romanian crime groups favor the second-chance schemes.

We’re working to address the problem. We’ve had a number of successful auction fraud investigations, worked collaboratively with other agencies, including one in Virginia and one in Texas.

What to do if you’ve been victimized. Go to the Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Federal Trade Commission websites and submit a complaint. The more we know about the extent of the crime—including the specific methods being used to perpetrate it—the more effective we can be in preventing and investigating these scams. You can also report incidents to your local police and to auction companies.

So, how can you avoid being a victim of auction fraud? A few tips:

For more advice, see the FBI Internet fraud webpage.

Article by FBI Fraud Unit


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Archived Articles List

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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office  makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.