Crime Prevention Notes – February 2012

Special Presentation Speaker: Detective David Dunn Puget Sound Financial Fraud and Identity Theft (GPS FFIT) Task Force Program. Detective Dunn has been with the Seattle Police Department since 2000 and spent 5 years on Patrol at North Precinct. At present, Detective Dunn is on loan to the Financial Fraud task force under the direction of the Secret Service working with a multi-jurisdictional team to thwart financial crimes. The two most common financial frauds are Check crimes involving theft of your bank account number & printing fake paper checks; and Electronic crimes where personal and business accounts are compromised from debit and credit cards. Credit card ‘skimming’ is done with fake card readers placed on gas pumps and ATM machines (especially “vestibule” bank ATM’s) along with pinhole cameras that capture your pin number. Detective Dunn highly recommends covering the key pad on the ATM machine when doing a transaction and checking your accounts online on a regular basis for fraudulent activity. Drive-through restaurants and other situations involving giving your debit card to someone else also increases your vulnerability to fraudulent access. Dunn suggested using a credit card for those situations and only using a debit card to withdraw cash.  Federal prosecutors are actively investigating organized crime rings from Russia, Ukraine and Romania who have compromised Point of Sales systems and used credit card numbers to extract funds from bank accounts. Small businesses should have insurance and take steps to safeguard point of sale systems from electronic hacking that can result in catastrophic losses to small businesses. Also check whether your business accounts have wire transfers enabled which have also been used in financial crimes.

Precinct Update: Lt. Ron Rasmussen/Sgt. Newsom Lt. Rasmussen reported that January crime rates were low due to inclement weather although auto theft, car prowls and residential burglaries are on the uptick. To secure your homes and cars, don’t hesitate to call 911 to report any suspicious circumstances.