Tips From the Sheriff
Don't Be a Victim
Over the past few months a number of Cleburne County residents have been the victims of a variety of schemes designed to con innocent people out of their hard earned money, or to gain enough personal information to access their financial resources. Their losses have ranged from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars lost by a single individual. In nearly all reported cases initial contact with the victims was made in Internet chat rooms, by E-Mail or through the US Postal service. The ability to use false identities provided by the internet, coupled with the fact that most if not all of the money or property taken in these scams ends up in a foreign country make these incidents extremely difficult to investigate and virtually impossible to prosecute. The necessity of using caution in conducting your daily business and being diligent in protecting personal information such as social security numbers, banking information, date of birth, and credit card information has become a fact of life. While there are many available, two websites in particular, www.IC3.gov and www.LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com both provide information detailing specifics about past and current scams, tips on safe use of the internet and ways to protect your personal information. IC3.gov, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance also provides a complaint center where fraud or suspected criminal activity can be reported. KEEP RECORDS Regardless of the efforts made by the Sheriffs Office it?s inevitable that some people are going to become the victims of property crimes such as theft or burglary. When these crimes are reported one of the most important things that you can provide the investigator is an accurate description of the missing property. Being able to provide the brand, model and serial number of missing items greatly increases the chance of recovering your property. Personal items, particularly jewelry, usually cannot be identified by anyone other than the owner without a photograph of that particular item. In addition, taking the time to compile accurate, complete records of your property will insure that you have the needed information for insurance claims in the event of a fire of natural disaster.