Sheriff's Office gives crime prevention tips and scam warnings
Crime Tips & Prevention
Day-to-day activities that you can implement to protect yourself and property.
PROTECTING YOUR HOME:
- ALL doors and windows should be locked even for short periods of time that you are away from home. Burglars prefer the easy access, don't provide that for them. It is recommended to keep doors locked even while you're at home to help prevent a home invasion.
- Do NOT advertise your absence!
- NO social media posts until after you've returned home
- Set lights within your home on timers; do NOT have one on 24 hours a day.
- Have mail and newspapers placed on hold or collected by a neighbor or friend if it's an extended stay.
- For short absences leave a TV or radio on so that it appears someone is at home.
- Do NOT "hide" an extra house key outside of your home, Burglars know to look for these. Instead leave a key with a neighbor.
- Do NOT post your family name on your mailbox or anywhere outside of your home, experienced Burglars know that they can call directory assistance and obtain a home number to call to verify no one is home.
- Do NOT advertise new purchase by piling empty boxes at the curb for trash day. Break them down and place in trash bags or haul them to your local dump or recycling.
- Always keep your vehicle windows up and doors locked, eve while at home. The thief is less likely to risk making noise by breaking a window.
- Do NOT leave valuables in your vehicle at night. If you have to leave them in the vehicle, ensure that the items are out of sight, and that the vehicle is locked.
- Having exterior lights, such as flood lights or motion lights is a deterrent for would-be nighttime thieves and burglars. Make sure lights are pointed toward vehicles and possible avenues of entry/exit.
- Keep drapes and curtains closed, especially when you're not home. Don't allow would be burglars to "window shop"
PROTECTING YOURSELF WHILE SHOPPING:
- Do NOT be the "head down texting" distracted shopper; you make yourself an easy target.
- ALWAYS park in an area with lighting, NEVER park in unlit or low light areas.
- Have your keys ready and in your hand when walking to your vehicle, and before you enter your vehicle make sure no one has been able to get inside and is hiding by looking through your windows. Be AWARE!
- Hide your valuables and purchases in your trunk or areas that cannot be seen from your vehicle windows.
- ALWAYS keep doors locked and windows up, do NOT give the thief easy access.
- If possible limit the amount of cash your carry. Use checks, credit cards or debit cards
- Ladies carry your purse under your arm, or across your body and limit the number of packages you carry
- Gentlemen, if possible carry your wallet in your front pocket or in an inside jacket pocket.
***ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Many "con-artists" look for distracted shoppers in hopes of taking your belongings or "talking" you out of your money.
PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST SCAMS:
With the wide availability of new and ever-changing technology, criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to scam people out of money. The Cleburne County Sheriff's Office is doing everything we can to crack down on these scammers, but most of the time, those responsible are located outside the state, or more often, outside the country. Because there is little to no recourse against someone for committing these crimes, the Sheriff's Office wants to share some helpful tips to avoid getting scammed out of your hard-earned money.
- Don't answer a call from a number you don't know.
- If it is a legitimate call, they will leave a voice message. However, sometimes scammers leave voicemails too
- If it is a scam call or a robocall, it's likely an attempt to verify that it is a working number.
- If you answer, you could receive other scam calls. If you don't answer, eventually they will stop calling because they cannot confirm it's a working number
- If you answer a call that turns out to be a robocall or a scam, hang up.
- Don't press any buttons or give any information
- If the caller is a real person, tell them to remove you from their calling list - and HANG UP without another word
- They want to gather as much information as possible about you
- Wiring money is like giving cash away. If you wire money, there is no protection for you if you later learn that the recipient is not who they claimed to be.
- Never give out personal or banking information in response to a phone, email or mail inquiry. Contact the entity requesting the information directly through a different method to verify that it is a reputable company with which you have an existing relationship.
- Never send money to someone who you do not know and haven't met in person.
- It is ALWAYS a scam if they ask you to wire money or pay with a prepaid credit card or gift card.
- When purchasing items or services online, make sure you research the seller and know their physical location.
- If you are giving to charity, especially in the wake of a natural disaster, give to an organization that has a strong history in providing relief. Instead of paying in cash, make a check or money order payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.
- Most importantly, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Investigate the offer before accepting or paying any money.
Scam artists are using trusted names and companies to ask for "favors," and in turn steal victims' money. While some scams use fear and threaten arrest or cancelation of services if not paid, others convince people that they will be paid back whatever monies they spend on gift cards. This new scam uses real estate agents' names to ask co-workers to pick up hundreds of dollars in gift cards for specific reasons such as closing gifts for clients.
"As we become more aware of possible scams, these bad actors are upping their game and using the people we know and trust to get to our money," said Attorney General Rutledge. "They use familiar names and have believable requests, but when it comes to your money always use an abundance of caution, pick up the phone and call directly."
Real estate agents can be particularly vulnerable because their name, phone number and place of work are easily accessible, but they are not the only ones susceptible to these scams. Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help keep Arkansans safe:
- Managers should instruct their staff on what the company's purchasing practices are-consider adopting and explaining a policy where the company pays for expenses only through a credit card and that employee personal funds will never be requested
- Be skeptical of any text or phone call claiming to be a manager or co-worker that does not originate from their telephone number
- Verify the identity of the caller or person sending the text before acting upon it
- Remember that if it sounds unusual or too good to be true, then it is probably a scam
Realtors and those involved in the house buying process should also be aware of spoof emails suggesting that closing cost payment account details have suddenly changed. Scammers are skilled at infiltrating email systems and impersonating emails with fake addresses to attempt to divert hefty closing costs to alternate, fraudulent accounts. If you receive such an email, call your realtor or mortgage broker.
If you are contacted by someone you believe to be a scammer, call your local law enforcement agency before you send money. You can also contact the Arkansas Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division for additional assistance.
For more information or to report fraud, contact the Arkansas Attorney General's Office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.