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Tips to avoid becoming a victim of scams and break-ins

Protect yourself from crime or a red light fine

After answering calls for service for the past two years as a patrol officer, I will be reassigned soon to again become the crime prevention officer.

An important part of the crime prevention officer's duties is teaching citizens how to protect themselves by practicing good, common-sense crime prevention habits to lessen their chance of becoming a victim. Here are some tips.

Phone scams: You didn't win any lottery and you don't have an unknown relative who died in a foreign country and left you megabucks. We have had victims lose their entire life's savings in scams that have them send money orders to pay for "transfer fees" or "taxes on your winnings." Never give out your personal identifying information to anyone over the phone or online. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Vehicle break-ins: Always keep your vehicle locked with the windows up, even if it's parked in your driveway or you are running into the store for "just a second." Never leave anything inside your vehicle that you don't want to lose.

Stop on red: When I see you run a red light, I am going to pull you over and issue you a citation for $264 that includes three points on your license. I don't do this because I am a witch. I do this because running red lights increases the chances of an accident with likely injury or death. I would rather you live and hate me forever for issuing you a ticket than have to contact your family and break the news to them that you were involved in a fatal accident. This includes pedestrians who think they can cross the street somewhere other than a designated crosswalk without being hit by a motorist going 45 mph.

Donna Saxer, Pinellas Park Police Department

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of scams and break-ins 01/01/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:08pm]
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