Speeding on Paseo del Mar, oversized vehicles, sober living homes, bus traffic, raccoon poisoning and catalytic converter thefts were some of the topics hit upon at tonight’s Neighborhood Watch meeting. LAPD Senior Lead Officer Joe Buscaino led the meeting and listened to more than two dozen neighbors in attendance.
In the Palisades area from November 1 through December 12, there were 14 crimes reported: 5 burglaries, 2 grand theft auto, 6 burglaries from motor vehicles and 1 theft.
If you were unable to attend the meeting and have any concerns or questions for Officer Buscaino, he can be reached at 33537@LAPD.LAcity.org or (213) 869-2168. As always, call 911 in case of an emergency. The non-emergency number is 877-ASK-LAPD.
Officer Buscaino sent along some holiday tips for us all. “Below is an email sent to all Block Captains from our neighbors in RPV…very useful information…Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Joe Buscaino”
T’IS THE SEASON Although for most of us the holidays mean peace, love and joy, to others it means rip-off time. And the reports have begun to come in.
MAIL AND PACKAGE THEFTS We have had several reports of mail theft and of packages left by UPS on front porches. Sometimes senders apprise you of an upcoming package, but not always. If you are expecting a package, please watch for it, or have your neighbors watch for it in your absence. If you know you’ll be gone when something you’ve ordered will arrive, you can have it addressed and dropped off by UPS to a neighbor’s house. Also don’t fall for a virus being circulated again this season indicating it’s from UPS or FED EX along with a packet number, indicating they were unable to deliver a package sent to you on a certain date. It then asks you to print out the attached invoice copy. DON’T TRY TO PRINT THIS AS IT LAUNCHES THE VIRUS. Check it out on Snopes” http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/ups.asp
BURGLARY THEFTS IN OPEN HOUSES We have had two recent burglaries that occurred during open houses in which a significant amount of jewelry and other items were stolen. Real estate agents should warn homeowner sellers of these crimes, and take steps to mitigate them, and to set up a plan to assure the security of victims’ personal belongings.
INTERNET CRIMES We are hearing of several internet crimes. In one case, a victim lost a considerable sum of money when she wired a suspect money in return for tickets to a sporting event. This is a huge scam that happened to be on Craigs List. The L.A. Times recently wrote an article about these internet scams and the Better Business Bureau suggested that residents do not do business with Internet solicitors that you do not know. Craigs List has shown to be especially notorious as an medium for scamsters. In addition, we have recommended numerous times that residents not do business with anyone that asks for money to be wired. If anyone ask you to send money for anything by wire, it’s a sure sign it’s a rip-off.
Also being advertised, mostly on Craig’s List, is red-hot toys at inflated prices, but they don’t deliver the goods once they’ve received the money. Expensive electronics at a bargain price also are failing to deliver. Hackers are sending mal-ware in holiday e-cards or e-mail attachments, allowing the hackers to break into computers and steal banking passwords or credit card numbers. DON’T click on links or attachments unless you are positive the e-mail came from someone you know. And, as we’ve already learned, even an e-mail from someone we do know can hurt us. Also, be aware of bogus charities solicited by Internet or on the street. Charities can be researched on the Better Business Bureau website. Also, the “Emergency Scam” is still alive and well. Although we have networked this numerous times, people are still falling for the sad story of a relative or friend needing money for trouble they’ve gotten into, or an emergency while traveling. Whether by phone or Internet, confirm the authenticity of the call by connecting with another family member. Tech experts say the proliferation of Web-based e-mail accounts and social network sites like Facebook offer easy pickings to hackers keen on passing themselves off as someone else.
When out and about, take the following precautions:
… When shopping, be aware of distracters who can steal from you or your car while you are distracted. Beware of a stranger who wants to help you carry your packages to you car – as he steals something once there. Stick to well-lighted areas and busy streets.
…Ladies, keep your handbag close to your body at all times, or in your sight at all times. Don’t leave it on the carseat while putting groceries in your trunk. Don’t leave it in your shopping cart. Don’t leave it alone at the hair dresser or gym. In all of these cases, our residents have lost their handbags. Don’t leave anything in your car visible that you don’t want stolen.
…Don’t be in such a rush that you aren’t paying attention to getting your credit card back. Don’t overload yourself with packages and avoid wearing shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.
…Stay alert and tuned into your surroundings, wherever you are. Trust your instincts, and if you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave quickly.
While gone, take the following precautions.
…Make sure all doors are locked and secured – doors, windows, gates. Make sure the house looks lived in. Use timers to go on and off at various times. Make sure your neighbors know you are gone. Ask someone to retrieve your mail, and pick up your newspapers – a sure sign that you are gone.
STRANGERS KNOCKING ON DOORS A recent instance in our last Crime Bulletin was a resident reporting a man knocking on her door to talk to her about her husband’s calling him regarding doing a painting job (not true). In another instance an un-uniformed man named “Robert” knocked on a resident’s door indicating he had the “part” that she had ordered (which she didn’t). She would not open the door to him which was the right thing to do and he left in a 4-door Toyota. Descriptions of the two suspects were similar. In another case, residents are finding a fire ant survey on their doorknob, about how to purchase anti-stinging product and how they can spray your garden. Yellow tags are all over their gardens with a notice saying Fire Ant Survey. Well, none of us knows much about fire ants in the city, but at this time, I would certainly do some research before falling for this.
IRS SCAM In another incident a resident received a phone call on his “blocked” cell phone claiming she was with the IRS and had an urgent matter which needed to be verified, and asked for personal information before she could discuss the matter with him. When asked, she gave an IRS ID number (which he knew was bogus), the case number (another bogus number?) and the IRS call-back number, but wouldn’t tell him how she got his cell phone number. The victim became suspicious and wouldn’t give her any more information, which she said was required within the next 24 hours. In real life, the IRS won’t call you and ask you for personal information. In fact, don’t give personal information to ANYONE that you don’t know and do business with. In these cases, get as much information about the caller, then report it to the local IRS.
As you can see, a lot of people are out to get you and ruin your holiday. Be aware, be careful, and stay safe! And enjoy a glorious, happy and peaceful holiday!
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