Don’t Become A Crime Victim

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thieves want easy victims.

    Dustin Bairfield, a captain with the Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment repeated that point on Tuesday at the Jimmy FurlowSenior Citizen Center during a presentation on “how not to be avictim.”

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    He said simple security measures like a locked house and carusually deter what he called “crimes of opportunity.”

    “Someone at Wal-Mart will go door to door in the parking lot tilthey find a car unlocked,” Bairfield said. “They don’t want tobreak into one.”

    He then held up a deadbolt installation kit for a house door.

    “A dead bolt is harder to jimmy, and no one wants to break down adoor with neighbors around,” Bairfield said.

    Next, Bairfield showed a large dog collar and leash to the audienceand explained that house thieves typically avoid homes with dogs.And sometimes, simply the appearance of security is sufficient.

    “If they see a leash like this,” Bairfield said, “they probablyaren’t going to stop and look for the dog.”

    Bairfield’s presentation was sponsored by TRIAD, which hostsmonthly programs for senior adults.

    Bairfield focused on identity theft, Internet scams and personalsecurity. In each area, he discussed simple ways to remainproactive.

    To avoid identity theft, keeping personal data secure is vital.

    Bairfield recommended shredding junk mail, particularlypre-approved credit cards. If found by identity thieves, items suchas pre-approved cards may be illicitly used.

    Debit card pin numbers should not be part of an address or SocialSecurity number.

    “And don’t write your pin on the back of the card,” Bairfieldsaid.

    Careful inspection of monthly bank and credit statements willreveal fraudulent charges and provide warning if thieves havestolen and used personal data. Annual credit checks are anadditional practice, Bairfield advised.

    Deputy Charles Smith said that careful examination of financialrecords, even receipts, is always wise. He relayed national reportsof cashiers adding “cash back” charges without customer approvaland pocketing the difference.

    “That hasn’t happened here,” Smith said. “But you have to watchout. Be sure to look at the receipt and make sure all the chargesadd up.”

    Bairfield gave a number of security devices, such as whistles andlight timers, to those in attendance.

    He also held a drawing for 11 weather radios. The radios operate onbatteries or electricity and Bairfield assisted with setting themup.

    “Since we don’t have any weather sirens here in the county thesecan help you out,” Bairfield said.