Every once in awhile I get something that hits my email inbox that makes me smile and which has just enough truth in it that quite possibly, and I emphasize quite, may be true. I can’t imagine that any criminal is smart enough, at least none that I’ve dealt with in 30+ years, to think of these ideas for which the email warned me about. Some of these are also a little dated. Take a look at see if you agree. Could this really be happening?
1. THE LONG-TERM PARKING SCARE
The story goes that someone left his or her car in the long-term parking in San Jose, California, and while away from the car, someone broke in. Using the information on the car's registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the person's home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. If you are going to leave your car in long-term parking, you should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener. A simple answer to this? Either lock this information in the glove compartment, or leave it in a locked box in the trunk.
2. THE GPS SCARE
So the story goes someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green, which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS, which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish, and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents. My answer to this one? First, why are you still using a GPS? There’s something called Waze or Google Mpas you can download on your cell phone and never have to use a GPS again. And same goes for using the built-in GPS in your new car. Don’t put an address in there and label it as home, just in case there’s a really smart car/house thief in your part of the country.
3. THE CELLULAR TELEPHONE SCARE
An unknown lady had her purse, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her significant other, from a pay phone telling them what had happened, and they say, "I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago." When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text "hubby" in the contact list and got ahold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.
Moral of the lesson:
a. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc....
b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
c. Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.
4. THE PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART SCARE
A lady supposedly goes grocery-shopping at a local store and leaves her purse sitting in the children's seat of the cart while she reached for something on a shelf... wait till you read the WHOLE story! Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the store to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by the store manager that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were with the store, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.
My answer to this one? Keep your wallet and/or purse attached to you or under the bags most of us take to the store these days, in Colorado you’re now charged ten cents a bag if you don’t bring your own, and don’t take anyone’s word who calls you. Always hang up, find the number on your own, and call the location back. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I worked in law enforcement how someone would tell me anything I wanted to know, just by me saying I was so-and-so from whatever agency you want to say you're from.
EXCALIBUR Private Investigation