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Crime Prevention Tips

A Word on Passwords

Whether you are on the Internet or an online banking program, you are often required to use a password. The worst passwords to use are the ones that come to mind first - name, spouse's name, maiden name, pets, children's name, even street addresses, ect. The best passwords mix numbers with upper and lower case letters. A password that is not found in the dictionary is even better. There are programs that will try every word in the dictionary in an effort to crack your security.

The weakest link in a secruity system is the human element. The fewer people that have access to your codes the better, Avoid breaks in your security by:
1) Changing your password regularly.
2) Memorizing your password. If you have several, set up a system for remembering them. If you do write down the password, keep it at home or hidden at work. Don't write it on a post-it note and stick it on your monitor.
3) Setting up a special account or setting aside a different computer at work for temporary help and other unauthorized users.
4) If you have the option of letting your computer or Web site remember a password for you, don't use it. Anyone who uses your machine will have automatic access to information that is password protected.

Shopping in Cyberspace

Ordering merchandise from the Internet is the trend of the future. You can prevent problems before they occur by:
1) Doing business with companies you know and trust. If you haven't heard of the company before, research it or ask for a paper catalog before you decide to order electronocally. Check with your state consumer protection agency on whether the company is licensed or registered. Fraudulent companies can appear and disappear very quickly in cyberspace.
2) Understanding the offer. Look carefully at the products or services the company is offering. Be sure you know what is being sold, the quality being specified, the total price, the delivery date, the return and cancellation policy, or paying with a check.
3) Using a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information. If there is no encryption software, consider calling the company's 800 number, faxing your order, or paying with a check.
4) Never giving a bank account or credit card number or other personal information to anyone you don't know or haven't checked out. And don't provide information that isn't necessary to make a purchase. Even with partial information, con artists can make unauthorized charges or take money from your account. If you have an even choice between using your credit card and mailing cash, check, or money order, use a credit card. You can always dispute fraudulent credit card charges but you can't get cash back.

How to Prevent Car Theft

A car is stolen every 33 seconds in the United States. In many cases, car theft would have been avoided if the proper precautions had been taken.
Be Cautious:
Don't think you can be careless about your car just because it is old or not running properly. Car thieves often make more money by dismantling a car and selling the parts than by trying to sell it in one piece.
Lock Up:
An unlocked car is an open invitaion to a car theft. Remember to take the keys with you. A gift-wrapped package or a camera lying on the seat of your car are temptations to steal. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
Park Carefully:
Park your car in a lot where you don't have to leave your keys. Don't leave any important identification in your glove compartment. Thieves often use auto registrations or credit cards as identification to help resell the car to an unsuspecting buyer.
Use "Anti-Theft" Devices:
Locks are available for various mrketable parts of your car. Consider buying battery locks, wheel locks, tape deck mounts and gas tank locks. Siren alarm systems can scare off teenagers looking for a joy ride.
Use Identification Techniques:
Remember to keep your vehicle identification number in your wallet. You should also keep a record of the year of your car, make, model, colors, state and city license. Drop a business card or piece of paper with your name and address on it into the window channel of your car door. This provides police with another way of identifying your car.

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Updated 02-10-00