Doors & Locks
- Doors should be solid core construction, 1-3/4" thick (even doors to garage, back doors, any with outside access).
- All outside doors should have hinges on inside or non-removeable hinge pins.
- Use 1" Dead Bolts on all exterior doors. If a window or glass panel is within 40" of the lock, a double cylinder deadbolt is best so that a key is required from either side of the door.
- Sliding glass doors should be equipped with special locks to avoid rocking the door to defeat the latch. If the door is not equipped with a special lock, individual locks can be purchased at a local hardware store that can easily be attached. Another option is to use sheet metal screws ( 1 1/4" pan head) in the upper runners of the doors and sliding windows. Simply drill a hole at a downward angle through the frame and track and insert metal rod or a nail.
Garage and Storage Shed
- Use solid lock/doors and padlocks on sheds.
- Keep trimmed back to avoid hiding places for criminals.
- Good exterior lights, particularly motion detectors.
- Keep a list of serial numbers for valuable items
- Photograph unique items such as jewelry, paintings, crystal, etc.
- Engrave property with your driver's license number in an area where it is not easily removed. Engravers are available at the Scotts Valley Police Department.
- Register alarms systems with the Police Department.
- Report any suspicious visitors or callers to the police.
- Have newspapers and mail stopped or picked up by friend.
- Notify neighbors that you know that you will be gone.
- Place valuables in safe deposit box or at friends. DO NOT leave cash at home.
- Secure all windows and doors (Do not leave a bathroom window open).
- Turn down volume of telephone and answering machine.
- Do not leave a message that you are on vacation, instead that you can not come to the phone at the moment.
- Use a timer for inside lights, radio and/or TV.
- Leave window shades in normal daytime position.
- Lock all vehicles left behind, leave one in driveway or ask neighbor/friend to park theirs in your driveway.
- Call police to request your home put on vacation check list (refer to section under services for procedures).
Home Security Inspections
- Call the Scotts Valley Police Department to schedule a free home security inspection
- Performed by sworn police officer by appointment
- Inspector examines doors, door frames, door locks, windows, window locks, lighting, landscaping, fencing, and alarm systems for weaknesses in security.
Steps to Prevent Identity Theft
- Do not give personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know whom you are dealing with. Identity thieves will pose as bank representative, Internet service providers, and even government officials to get you to reveal identifying information.
- Shred all documents, including pre-approved credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and
statements you are discarding, and other financial information.
- Do not use your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your social security number, or a similar series of numbers as a password for anything.
- Minimize the identification information and number of cards you carry. Take only what you will actually need. Don't carry your social security card, birth certificate, or passport, unless necessary.
- Do not put your social security number on your checks or credit receipts.
- Do not put your telephone number or driver's license number on your checks.
- Be careful using ATM's and phone cards. Someone may look over your shoulder and get your PIN numbers, thereby gaining access to your accounts.
- Make a list or copies of your credit card account numbers with customer service phone numbers and keep it in a safe place.
- When you order new credit cards in the mail or previous ones have expired, watch the calendar to make sure you get the card within the appropriate time. If not received within that time, call the grantor immediately to find out if the card has been sent.
- Do not put your credit card number on the Internet unless it is encrypted on a secured site.
- Pay attention to your billing cycle. Follow up with creditors if bills don't arrive on time. A missing credit
card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address.
- Cancel all credit cards that you have not used in the last six months. Open credit is a prime target.
- Order your credit report at least once a year, preferably twice. Reports should be obtained from all three major sources:
- Equifax at 800-685-1111
- Experian at 888- EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- TransUnion at 800-680-7293
- Correct all mistakes on your credit report in writing. Send the letters return receipt requested.
- Write to Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Services, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735 to get your name off direct mail lists.
Immediate steps to take if you're a victim of identity theft
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus and report that your identity has been stolen. Ask that a "fraud alert" be placed on your file and that no new credit be granted without your approval.
- For any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions. Close these accounts. Put passwords (not your mother's maiden name) on any new accounts you open.
- Report identity theft to the police agency where you live. Get the case number at the time of report and obtain a copy of the police report when available. The bank, credit card company, or others may need proof of the crime later on.
Follow up steps to take
- Complete an ID Theft Affidavit. Copies are available through the credit bureau, or internet. Sites with
information: www.consumer.gov /idtheft /victim.htm, also http://caag.state.ca.us/idtheft
- Equifax - 800-685-1111
- Experian(formerly TRW)-888-EXPERIAN(888-397-3742)
- Trans Union - 800-888-4213
- "The Identity - Theft Survival Kit" - Written by an identity theft victim, this kit has form letters and step by step instructions on how to combat identity theft. The complete package contains a book, computer diskette with form letters, and audiocassette tapes of interviews with experts. You can order this kit online or by writing to Porpoise Press Inc. 28202 Cabot Road, suite 215, Laguna Niquel, CA 92677
Notifications to make of identity theft
- DMV - You may need to change your driver's license number if someone is fraudulently using your ID
information. Contact DMV and put a fraud alert on your license and request a new number. Fill out a DMV complaint form to begin a fraud investigation. Send supporting documents. Web: www.dmv.ca.gov
- Social Security Office - Report misuse of SSN number by calling Security Administration. Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement and check for accuracy. If you fit specific fraud victim criteria, the Social Security Administration may change your social security number. Report fraud: (800) 269-02781. Order Personal Earnings and Benefits Statements: (800) 722-1213. Web address: www.ssa.gov
- Postal Inspector - Cal the US Postal Office to obtain the phone number, (800) 275-8777. Find out where fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the Postmaster for that address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. You may also need to talk with the mail carrier. Web: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/.
- Local Bank - Notify your local bank that you have been a victim of identity theft. If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the appropriate check verification companies. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account (not mother's maiden name). If your own checks are rejected at stores where you shop, contact the check verification company that the merchant uses.
- To report fraudulent us on your checks contact:
- CheckRite: (800) 766-2748
- Chexsystems: (800) 428-9623
- Equifax: (800) 437-5120
- SCAN: (800) 272-7771
- TeleCheck: (800) 710-9898
- International Check Services: (800) 631-9656
Report stolen ATM Cards and change passwords immediately. Get a new ATM card, account number and password. When creating a password, don't use common numbers like the last four digits of your SSN or your birth date.
FTC Identity Theft Web Site - www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
Additional Identity Theft Resources - http://www.creditscore.net/identity-theft-resources/
Additional Identity Theft Resources - http://www.homelandsecuritydegree.com/resources/identity-theft-and-your-personal-security/
Free Annual Credit Report Web Site - https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
Be Alert When Out and About
- Go with friends or family, not alone.
- Be aware of your surroundings and strangers in the area.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- Use caution when using an ATM machine, do not allow persons to watch your transaction over your shoulder.
- Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots or garages. Park near entrance or in well-lighted area. Carry your keys as you approach your vehicle.
- If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave. Ask a store employee to accompany you to your vehicle if you become concerned.
- Report repeated hang up or annoying telephone calls.
- Do not provide information to unknown callers.
- Do not include names on answering machine greetings. Con artists can use this information to gain your trust.
- Do not provide personal information over the telephone to callers.
- Be cautious of unexpected visitors. Use a peep hole to see the person and verify their identity.
- Even if in uniform, ask to see identification. If suspicious verify their identity by calling their office. Legitimate persons will understand. Look up the number yourself.
- Be cautious of solicitors going door to door. This can be a method to check a neighborhood for later burglaries. Solicitors are required to obtain a temporary permit to solicit which allows the City to check the company's authenticity. They should be wearing this ID.
Phone Scams (top of page)
- Do not put your name on answering machine greeting. A good con artist will use this information to scam you.
- Do not give out your name or other personal information to a caller.
- Do not give out financial information over the telephone.
- Try to avoid doing banking on the phone and never do banking that you did not initiate.
- Never buy anything sight unseen. Check out property and seller.
- Do not pay anything or give credit card numbers in order to claim a "Free Prize".
- Beware of work-at-home offers with registration fees.
- Be very careful of scams. You can always tell sellers, "I don't buy things over the phone." Legitimate sales people will accept this and move on.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- If you are not getting straight answers, end the conversation.
- Advise callers you do not do surveys over the phone.
- Hang up on nuisance callers and report them.
- Call the police if you are suspicious.
"Cramming" and "Slamming" Charges on your Phone Bill
- Cramming is the unofficial name given to certain unauthorized charges on your telephone bill. Charges for calling 800 numbers, voice mail, and other services are small and sometimes go unnoticed. When noticed it takes work to get a refund.
- Slamming is switching your long distance company without your permission.
- Contact your long distance carrier to request a lock on your account so the long distance carrier can not be switched without written authorization.
- Examine your phone bill each month for unauthorized charges and unwanted monthly services. Legitimate sales people will accept this and move on.
- Do not give out your telephone number when filling out sweepstakes and contest entry forms.
Child Safety Seats (top of page)
- Buckle your child in a safety seat every trip, no matter how short.
- As of January 1st, 2012 children MUST be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint (safety seat or booster seat) IN THE BACK SEAT OF A VEHICLE until they are at least 8 years old or until they are at least 57inches in height.
For more information click on the links below:
If you need assistance learning how to properly install your child safety seat, you may contact the Scotts Valley Fire Protection District office at (831) 438-0211.