HOME SAFETY

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-removable 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.

Shrubbery

  • Keep trimmed back to avoid hiding places for criminals.

Lighting

  • Good exterior lights, particularly motion detectors.

Property Identification

  • 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.

Alarm Systems

  • Register alarms systems with the Police Department.

Suspicious Persons

  • Report any suspicious visitors or callers to the police.

Vacations

  • 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 Investigations Sergeant at (831) 440-5654 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.

IDENTITY THEFT

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 andstatements 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 creditcard 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 800-685-1111Experian 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 withinformation: www.consumer.gov /idtheft /victim.htm, also http://caag.state.ca.us/idtheft Equifax - 800-685-1111Experian(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 92677URL: http://www.identitytheft.org

Notifications to make of identity theft

  • DMV - You may need to change your driver's license number if someone is fraudulently using your IDinformation. 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) 766-2748Chexsystems: (800) 428-9623Equifax: (800) 437-5120SCAN: (800) 272-7771TeleCheck: (800) 710-9898International 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/

FTC Complaint Reporting Site - https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

 

Additional Identity Theft Resources - http://www.creditscore.net/identity-theft-resources/

 

Free Annual Credit Report Web Site - https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp