Tip of the Week: Flood Insurance Robocalls

When there is panic, heartbreak and loss, criminals are waiting in the wings to take advantage of confusion and heightened emotions. Hurricane Harvey is no exception. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), homeowners and renters are getting robocalls telling them their flood premiums are past due. In order to have coverage, customers are told they need to submit a payment immediately.  Don’t do it! Instead, contact your insurance agent.  If you suspect fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-866-720-5721.  Also report it to the FTC.

Tip of the Week – Things you should know before confronting a car burglar

If you find a person breaking into your vehicle, while you are at home, there is no controlling case law that says you are allowed to use deadly force against a car burglar.  You could be put in the position of being the test case for whether or not your actions are allowed under Texas law. Remember, use of force must be reasonable, it has to be immediately necessary, and it should be proportional to the amount of force that the person is committing against you.

One issue is the misrepresentation on the Internet about the “castle doctrine”. The “castle doctrine” is not a law; it is a concept discussed largely in the media. Section 9.41 of the Texas Penal Code is what governs when deadly force may be used to protect property. So, while holding someone at gunpoint is potentially something that you are allowed to do when you find someone burglarizing your vehicle, keep in mind that the ultimate authority on whether or not it is allowed is a jury of your peers, or a judge. You decide, is that stolen pair of sunglasses worth all of that? Prevent theft, lock your car doors.

Tip of the Week – What is Smishing?

Bad guys are increasingly targeting you through your smartphone. They are no longer satisfied with email fraud, and they’re switching to phone and text scams. They send texts that trick you into doing something against your own best interest. At the moment, there is a mystery shopping scam going on, starting out with a text invitation, asking you to send an email for more information which then gets you roped into the scam.

Always, when you get a text, remember to “Think Before You Tap”, because more and more, texts are used for identity theft, bank account take-overs and to pressure you into giving out personal or company confidential information.  Here is a short video made by USA Today that shows how this works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffck9C4vqEM

Imposter scams come in many varieties, but work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone trustworthy, such as a government official or computer technician to convince a consumer to send money.

Summer-time Crime Prevention Tips

Theft is a crime of opportunity. During the summer months would-be thieves are on the look-out for items which can be easily taken in moments. Unlocked doors, open windows, and open garage doors all provide a temptation to steal valuables — bikes, packages, cell phones, purses — left in plain view. Blooming trees and overgrown shrubs can provide would-be burglars with places to hide.

Here are a few tips to make your summer a safe one:

  • Install lighting, such as motion lights or dusk to dawn detector lights, on your home’s exterior.
  • Trim shrubbery around your home to eliminate hiding places.
  • Your address should be clearly visible from the street for emergency and identification purposes.
  • Close and lock your garage door when you are not nearby. Place valuables stored in the garage in a locking device not visible from the street when the garage door is open.
  • Do not leave bikes unattended. Lock your bikes, even if you are going to be away for only a few moments.
  • If you sleep on the second floor of your home, keep all first floor doors and windows closed and locked.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and those around you when you walk, jog, or bike.
  • Stop all deliveries of mail and newspapers when on vacation.
  • Don’t discuss your vacation plans — at the grocery store, gym, etc. — as you never know who might be listening.
  • Use timers to light your home inside and outside.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up flyers or other publications that might be left while you are away.

Don’t make it easy for a burglar to make you a victim!!

Crime Alert Burglary Reported – 4/26/17 – Pine Walk Drive

A homeowner has reported a burglary at her home occurring on 4/26/17 on the 1400 block of Pine Walk.  The homeowner reported that the burglars gained entry by breaking the back door.  This happened in the early afternoon.  Police were called around 1:00 pm when the homeowner returned to her home.  If you have any information about unusual things that you saw yesterday around noon time in the neighborhood please contact the police department.