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- Always keep your garage door closed, especially when you are working in your yard.
- Never, never, never let a stranger into your house. If someone comes to your door and wants in for any reason, do not let them in and keep your door locked while you are talking with them. If they want to sell you something, magazine subscriptions, home repairs, etc., check to make sure they have a City of Bellbrook solicitor permit. If they tell you they are working in the neighborhood and have leftover supplies, i.e. blacktop for the driveway, BEWARE. Check out a company before contracting to do work with a stranger, especially if they come to your door unsolicited.
- If you are working in your front yard, make sure the back doors to your house are locked and vice-versa.
- If someone comes up to you while you are in your yard and asks directions or purports to be looking for a lost dog, be aware and make sure they are not just distracting you so that a partner working with them can enter your home.
If you notice a vehicle that looks suspicious, write down the license number and the make and color of the car.
- If you are going out-of-town, make arrangements with a relative or neighbor to pick up your papers and mail or have the newspaper stopped and your mail held at the post office. Let close neighbors know when you are going to be away. So, if they see anything suspicious, they can call the police. Contact the Police Department to be placed on our Vacation House Check list.
- If you are having work done in your home, rug cleaning, painting, furnace repairs, etc., check all your windows when the service people leave your home and make sure a window has not been left unlocked so a thief can enter your home later. Also, keep valuables and money out of sight when strangers are working in your home. If possible, have more than one person at home when work is being done.
- Keep shrubs and trees trimmed around your house so they cannot hide an intruder or someone doing vandalism to your property.
- Last but not least, get to know your neighbors. If you know of someone in your neighborhood who lives alone, and you do not see them in any activity at their house, or something just does not look right, call and check on them to make sure they are all right.
Auto Accessory Thefts
The one of the more numerous crimes in the City of Bellbrook is auto accessory thefts. In many cases the thief enters the car after discovering items that have been left in plain view in the vehicle. Periodically the Police Department receives auto accessory theft complaints from residents.
- Remember not to leave property in plain view from out side of the vehicle. Remove the items to a trunk, or to your residence.
- Lock your vehicle’s doors.
- If you have outside lights near your vehicle, leave them on or add a motion detector to the light.
- Do not leave wallets, purses, keys, credit cards, or computers in your vehicle.
Jury Duty Scams
A number of jury duty scams are used by criminals. Here is on example of a jury duty scam. If you suspect fowl play when receiving a jury duty notice, please contact the Police Department for assistance.
Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced.
The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and ……; your identity was just stolen.
The fraud has been reported in numerous states. This (swindle) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their websites, warning consumers about the fraud.
Door to Door Solicitors
The warm weather months bring door to door solicitors selling everything from cookies to home repairs. While there are numerous legitimate organizations and professionals who solicit door to door the industry is largely unregulated allowing many unscrupulous solicitors the opportunity to defraud consumers. In order to raise public awareness to the fraudulent practices of illegitimate door to door solicitors, please consider the following.
Whatever product or service they are pushing, scammers will use clever and aggressive sales tactics to manipulate consumers into either purchasing items they will never receive or paying up front for services that will never be performed.
They often use ploys to lower your defenses, such as asking for a drink of water or to even ask for the use of the bathroom to case a home for a later burglary or home invasion. In order to gain credibility, many also obtain a list of residents in the neighborhood and then lie about how your “neighbor” purchased their product.
Not only do they defraud consumers, many organizations manipulate their own employees, recruiting young adults and college aged youths with promises of extra money or prizes during the summer. However, many times their employees never receive their due compensation or they are encouraged to open a line of credit through the organization to pay for their expenses. Yet the credit line is at such an exorbitant interest rate the employees hardly make a profit or become indebted to the company making it difficult for them to leave.
To combat these scammers we strongly recommend taking several simple steps:
- Don’t be afraid to exercise boundaries. You can refuse to answer the door. You can politely say no thank you. I’m not interested. If you want to talk with them, we suggest you ask them to step off your porch and talk with you in the front yard.
- If they become pushy or argumentative, be concerned. Shut the door, lock it and call the police. Simply explain to the call taker you had an aggressive sales person at the door and you couldn’t get them to leave. And then provide a description.8.If they ask to come in to your home to use the phone or for a drink, we strongly suggest you not allow strangers into your home.
- Look at the product carefully. For example, many magazine publishers do not want to be associated with these groups. Look over the products they are selling to make sure they are selling notable products, and even then, be wary. Many groups selling a special “cleaner” for instance will give a demonstration and then sell you a bottle of nothing but colored water.
- And beware of fraudulent home repair companies. They will come to your door and say something like – I notice your driveway is cracked or that your shingles need to be replaced or your home could use some paint. They’ll say they are new to the area or just passing through on the way from another job. They will want to take money before doing work or add extra costs throughout the job. We strongly urge you to never pay in advance unless with a reliable company who provides a legitimate contract.
- If they provide “references” using your neighbors – check with your neighbors first. See if they indeed purchased the product or service.
- Finally, ask if the group is a for-profit organization and if so, ask to see their identification and City of Bellbrook Solicitor permit. While legitimate charitable, non-profit and religious groups are exempted from having permits (girl scouts, church and school groups) professional solicitors are required to have a permit.
As we continue in our efforts to keep Bellbrook safe, one thing remains clear. It requires a coordinated approach of the citizens in our community along with our police department for us to effectively attack crime. This is no different. We hope that by bringing awareness to the potential for these fraudulent groups, members of our community will decrease their potential for becoming victims.
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