Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Auto Theft Awareness Month

According to the Insurance Information Institute, July is Auto Theft Awareness Month. July was designated as the month to bring an awareness campaign for auto theft prevention and how to handle auto theft if you become a victim. Carinsurance.com has a great list of ten ways to help prevent auto theft;
  1. Install an alarm or anti-theft device. Sometimes that small blinking light or the sound of an alarm will deter the theft of your car.
  2. Lock your car doors!
  3. Roll the windows up. Even a crack makes it easier to force a window down or allow other access to your car.
  4. Do not leave items of value in your car, especially in plain sight. See our entry on Auto Burglary Prevention.
  5. Do not leave your keys in the ignition. That makes for an easy target.
  6. Tint your rear windows. This makes it difficult to see into the vehicle and may obscure items of interest to a thief.
  7. Use other theft deterrent items such as a steering wheel lock or "club."
  8. Never leave your vehicle unattended and running. If you need to warm it, stay in the car. If you forgot an item, take the keys with you. And, never leave your young child in an unattended vehicle!
  9. Do not leave spare keys in the vehicle. Thieves will look in the glove box, under the floor mat and in the ash tray.
  10. Park in well lighted, public places. Don't make yourself a target.

These are just a few reminders of how to help avoid having your car stolen. Auto theft can be a crime of opportunity. Just like avoiding other types of crime, do what you can to make it as difficult, time consuming and frustrating for the bad guy. If you don't give them the opportunity, they will most likely move on to another victim.

A step that you can take today is to record your vehicle license plates. Write them down and keep them in your wallet or perhaps in a note in your PDA or cell phone. It is sometimes difficult for an officer to locate a vehicle identification with just owner information. In the event of a stolen vehicle, you should call the police immediately. If you have the vehicle license readily available, the "GTA" information can be entered quickly by the police. Getting that stolen vehicle into the system will help in the efforts to locate it. This is especially true for vehicles equipped with systems like "Lojack."

Tomorrow is July 1st. Help promote Auto Theft Awareness Month!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Police" Related Word Beginnings

I just read a brief article on PoliceLink that was titled Interesting Origins of Police Words. The article gives you just a few terms that relate to Law Enforcement, like graffiti and cop, so I thought I would toss a couple more out there. First, I must agree with comments on the article; the origin of the word cop was supposedly coined in old New York. Officers on foot beat would wear overcoats with copper buttons and the nickname cop reportedly came from that reference.

We can't ignore the slang term, Five-O, when on this topic. You have to remember the TV show "Hawaii Five-O." The late sixties show ran for a long time and the term Five-O referred to the police unit. Today it simply refers to the police or a police officer.

Older, but not forgotten is The Man. The Man has always referred to a person in authority or control and was tossed over as slang for police officer as well.

It is not so much that we are looking at the origin of words, which goes beyond a simple history, but it is interesting to look at how the terms came about. There are plenty out there. If you have any, throw them in the comments and see if we all agree on the meaning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Police & Fire Games Medal Winners

The APOA sponsored four of our members in the recent 2009 Western States Police & Fire Games held in Santa Clarita. Each year, thousands of Police Officers and Firefighters from the region gather in the host city to participate in the games. From Angling to Wrestling, there were in excess of 50 categories of games, with individual and team sports offered. Our four APOA members each brought home a medal in one of the categories that they participated in;
  • Officer Katie Ferrari, Silver Medal - Triathlon
  • Sergeant Jeremy Lachenmyer, Silver Medal - 100 Yard Breaststroke
  • Sergeant Tom Le Veque, Bronze Medal - Bowling
  • Officer Ernie Lopez, Silver Medal - Boxing

Thanks for representing the APOA and congratulations to Katie, Jeremy, Tom and Ernie.

Good Samaritan Foils Theft

Shortly before 1:00 PM yesterday, two male Hispanic teens tried to make off with a purse that they had just stolen from a nail salon in the 700 block of South First Avenue. A good Samaritan who was driving by, saw the pair fleeing with the purse and drove after them. The pair dropped the purse shortly thereafter and the good Samaritan recovered it, bringing the purse and all its' contents back to the nail salon. Apparently, the pair had entered the salon making a brief inquiry and then left. One of the young men ran back into the shop and grabbed the purse from next to the victim, fleeing out the front.

Good reminder for customers and businesses to be alert and proactive with their belongings when out and about. If you are out shopping, eating at a restaurant, or in this case, getting nails done, keep your purse, briefcase, laptop or other items close at hand and in view. If you can, keep them in a spot that does not allow for an easy "grab and run." HERE are some applicable tips in a recent Tuesday Tip.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No Fireworks in Arcadia

The 4th of July is quickly approaching. A reminder that ALL fireworks, even Safe & Sane, are prohibited in the City of Arcadia. Discharge and POSSESSION of fireworks is illegal in Arcadia.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Joint Commercial Checkpoint with CHP, Irwindale PD & APD on Peck Rd south of Live Oak.

American Cancer Society Relay for Life Arcadia 2009

This weekend, June 27th and 28th, a team of employees from the Public Works Services Department and a team from the Arcadia Firefighter’s Association will participate in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Arcadia 2009. This is a fun-filled, overnight event that empowers everyone to help fight cancer by raising money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission. It will be held at the Santa Anita Race Track starting at 11:00 AM on Saturday and ending at 11:00 AM on Sunday. This year’s event in Arcadia will be in memory of Charles Gilb, past Mayor and highly respected Arcadia resident.

If you would like to learn more about this event, or participate with us by making a donation to the American Cancer Society, just click on one of the links below. You can make an on-line donation from either one of the team pages, or if you would like to mail in a donation, click on any team member’s personal page and there will be a link at the bottom of the page for a donation form that you can mail in or give to the team member.

Public Works Services Department (Team name - Life Lovers)

The Arcadia Firefighter’s Association

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Lights and Sirens; aka "Code-3"

It has been a while since we ran a tip on the topic of what to do when driving and you encounter an emergency vehicle rolling with lights and sirens, or in police/fire lingo, "Code-3." Move to the Right for Sirens and Lights is a saying that is recognized throughout the industry and the best advice anyone can give. When you see an emergency vehicle approaching from behind you, or coming in the opposite direction, pull safely toward the right curb. Don't panic. Don't simply come to a stop in the middle of the lane, move to the right. If the emergency vehicle is approaching from a cross street or intersection, do stop and allow them to cross. Refer to the link above for some additional tips.

This topic came up again through a question posted in a "Just Ask" reply. Rolling "Code-3" is a high liability area for Law Enforcement and every agency has policies that govern emergency driving. In basic terms, our Officers roll "Code-3" to incidents that are life threatening or of an emergency nature. Those calls can range from serious medical calls, injury collisions, "help" calls from another Officer, violent crimes in progress, and other calls that either an Officer deems necessary. Our Watch Commanders and Field Supervisors monitor all calls where personnel are responding "Code-3" and use discretion in determining if the emergency response is required. Every call is different. Our personnel take into account such factors like the nature of the call, the severity of the call, proximity and response time, what resources are required etc.

So, when you see a police unit, an ambulance, paramedics, a fire engine, a forestry truck, or any emergency vehicle that is rolling "Code-3", please Move to the Right for Sirens and Lights!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Your Everyday Attempt Robbery Arrest

Officers rolled on report of an attempt robbery that had just occurred on Saturday afternoon, at about 1:55 PM, in the 500 block of Fairview Avenue. When the dust settled, they found that the arrestee had arranged for an adult escort to "perform" at the arrestee's residence. The arrestee was not satisfied with the performance, demanded his money back from the bouncer and allegedly threatened the bouncer with a knife, ultimately landing the 60ish year old Arcadia resident in jail. It will be interesting to see if the performer was licensed...

Burglary Arrest at West Arcadia USPS

Last Friday, June 19th, a 55 year old man from Los Angeles was arrested at the West Arcadia Post Office on Duarte Road. The male came in about noon and attempted to purchase a large quantity of stamps by "paying" with fraudulent checks. Alert USPS employees recognized him from a similar theft that occurred last week where about $400 of stamps were taken. APD was called and the man was arrested and later booked on burglary/forgery charges.

Arcadia Barricade Situation Over

Officers remain on scene along with the APD SWAT team in the 1700 block of South Mayflower. Officers responded to a call last night at a residence where a man was allegedly threatening to harm himself and others. The SWAT team ultimately made entry by use of a tactical robot and SWAT personnel. An elderly man was removed from the home but the alleged suspect was not located, apparently fleeing prior to the arrival of APD. The incident began shortly before 11:00 PM. The investigation is continuing.

POLICEPAY DAILY UPDATE: Just How Obscene Are Those California Pensions? Part 2

Part 2 of Ron York's post at Policepay.net;

POLICEPAY DAILY UPDATE: Just How Obscene Are Those California Pensions? Part 2

Sunday, June 21, 2009

POLICEPAY DAILY UPDATE: Just How Obscene Are Those California Pensions? Part 1

Below is an interesting commentary from Ron York at Policepay.net, part 1. We'll follow-up with part two tomorrow.

POLICEPAY DAILY UPDATE: Just How Obscene Are Those California Pensions? Part 1

Happy Father's Day!

To all the Dads, Step-Dads, Grand Dads, and any father figure out there! Happy Father's Day!

“Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.” ~ Anne Geddes

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Silver Medal Swim

Sgt. Jeremy Lachenmyer takes off on his Silver Medal performance in the 100 yard breaststroke competition at the Western States Police and Fire Games. Congrats to Jeremy on his great swim! The Games run through today in Santa Clarita.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alert LA County Emergency Notification System

Los Angeles County officials today announced the implementation of an emergency mass notification system to alert residents and businesses by phone, text, and e-mail of emergencies in their area.

Called Alert LA County, the system will allow the Sheriff's Emergency Communications Center to activate local and regional alerts by drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded and written alerts will provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions, such as evacuations.

The County's 7.1 million land-line phone numbers are programmed into the mass notification system, but the public must register Voice over IP lines, cell phones and e-mail addresses. Registration of this information can be done on the County's Alert LACounty.gov website. Each telephone number and e-mail can be associations with only one street address.

Use the link above to register your information. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete the form.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Just Ask" - APD Radio Codes & Communication

What are some of the common radio codes used by APD, what types of radios do we use, and what about monitoring other agencies? Like other police agencies in Southern California, APD uses fairly standard "10" and "9" codes, along with other numbers or lingo that are commonly associated with some form of legal code, such as the California Vehicle Code, Penal Code, or the Arcadia Municipal Code. Here is a sampling of some of the more commonly used codes at APD;

  • 10-97, On scene / 10-98, Completed detail

  • 901T, Injury collision

  • 902T, Non-Injury collision

  • 459, Burglary related call, alarm or investigation

  • 211, Robbery related call

  • 586, Parking violation

  • 415, Disturbance call

HERE is a link to a fairly comprehensive list of different versions of radio codes.

Our patrol units are equipped with 2 Motorola radios each. With the use of two radios, we are able to send and receive on both frequency bands, allowing our Officers to communicate with many different agencies throughout Los Angeles County. This is a huge advantage when involved in mutual aid situations or calls involving multiple jurisdictions. Our handheld radios, also Motorola, are similar to the unit radios but with fewer frequency options.

The use of scanners was phased out some years ago by APD, primarily to allow room for the dual radio installation. With the use of two radios in the units, our Officers are able to monitor outside agencies if they chose to do so. Many of them do indeed monitor agencies that border Arcadia, like Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena, or LASD. With this set-up, we can readily communicate with assisting field units and be more quickly informed of events in the area.

Daytime Residential Burglary

Officers responded on an alarm call in the 00 block West Palm Drive at about 1:15 PM today and found that a burglary had just occurred. Witnesses saw two male African Americans run from the residence prior to the arrival of APD. The two suspects were described as being between 20-40 years old with one wearing tan pants, a white t-shirt and a tan coat, the other wearing a white shirt with a blue work type jacket. The suspects were last seen in a dark colored SUV with no plates. Entry was made through a forced side door and the loss was jewelry.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Commercial & Business Security

Don't think that banks and liquor stores have the market cornered on being victimized by robbery and other crimes. Any business, especially one that invites foot traffic is susceptible. And it is not just property crime or robbery that you should think about; consider work place violence and internal issues, as well. Here are some tips to help improve commercial and business security;
  • Alarm systems are a must. Protect your property. Businesses are prime targets for burglary of commercial items and cash. Include interior motion or similar devices to help protect against cases of tunneling from adjacent businesses and rooftop entry.
  • LOCK UP! All doors, windows and any roof or ladder access, as well.
  • Video cameras! A decent quality video system is a huge bonus. Cost of these items has come down and they are more affordable. Overviews, entry doors/hallways, consider placing some just above eye level, as well. Consider an infrared system for night use.
  • Security patrols that check locations at different times certainly deter burglary.
  • Lock your seldom used entry doors. Many businesses that are open leave a back door unlocked, but not watched. Who else besides the occasional customer can come through that door. Don't be surprised, keep an eye on who is coming and going.
  • Lighting! Exterior and interior when the business is closed is a good deterrent.
  • Remove cash at night, leaving cash registers open.
  • Daytime valuables? Lock your purse or other items of value in a desk. Don't leave them in plain site and invite theft. This goes for cell phones, PDA's, and laptops, too!
  • First in or last out? Stay alert, know your surroundings and buddy up if you can.
  • List your business with the police. Make sure an up-to-date contact form is completed for your business.
  • Change alarm codes or safe combos when terminating employees. Make sure all keys are returned and in your possession. If not, change the locks.
  • Start with employee hiring! Who are you entrusting with your shop, goods, and money to? What type of temperament does your new hire have? Do what you can as a background before hiring. Make some phone calls to those references, drive by and door knock their home, talk to them and their family, do an Internet search on the applicant, consider using a background service.
  • Don't wait to call the police. Workplace violence is a real topic. If there are threats, high tension fights or arguments, or other events of concern, call the police. Don't wait until violence occurs.
  • Query the topic on-line. Here is just one site with many a security tip, Crime Doctor.
  • Use tips offered in our previous Residential Burglary Prevention post. Many are applicable to businesses, as well.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Western States Police & Fire Games

The 2009 Western States Police & Fire Games run from June 13-20, 2009. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Athletic Association is the primary sponsor and the host city is the City of Santa Clarita. The APOA is sponsoring several of our members in various events.

Celebrate Flag Day

June 14th is Flag Day. In 1949, President Truman designated this day as National Flag Day. Fly your flag proudly today and on other holidays throughout the year.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Early Morning Robbery

Yesterday morning at about 5:00 AM, a man who works at the Santa Anita Race Track was walking near Gate 5, Huntington Drive/Colorado Place, when a male suspect ripped the victim's backpack from his person. The victim and suspect struggled over the backpack and at some point, one of the victim's fingers was lacerated. The suspect made off with the backpack and other loss to include about $20. The suspect was only described as being possibly Hispanic, about 30-40 years old, wering a white t-shirt. The victim was later treated at a local hospital for his injuries.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Commercial Burglar Detained

Early Tuesday morning, at about 2:30 AM, Officers were called to the rear of Walgreen's in the 100 block of East Live Oak due to suspicious noises. Officers arrived to find a 21 year old Temple City man near the business dumpster, along with his vehicle which was still running nearby. Officers found the man to be in possession of a "pellet" handgun and evidence possibly linking the man to a commercial burglary at a business in El Monte. It appears that the noise heard was the man attempting to open a cash drawer against the dumpster. El Monte PD responded and took custody of the subject and the evidence.

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

Members of the Arcadia Police Department ran in support of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics today, taking the handoff from Monrovia PD at Huntington Drive and Fifth Avenue. The run is an annual event that raises money and awareness for Special Olympics. Visit the Special Olympics website for additional information and ways to help this worthy cause. APD runners included (left to right) Sergeant Lachenmyer, Detective Crowther, Officer Ferrari, Sergeant Ortiz, Lieutenant Foley, Officers Lopez, Juarez, Howell, Trabbie, St. Pierre, and Agcaoili. Our APD runners proudly carried the torch from the Monrovia border to Las Tunas Drive and Baldwin Avenue where they handed the torch off to LASD, Temple Station Deputies.

APOA Assists with Budget Shortfall

The City of Arcadia has undergone several budget reviews and revisions over the course of the last year. Even with slashing budget items citywide and freezing multiple positions, including 8 Police Officer positions, there remained an approximate $600,000 budget shortfall. City Manager Don Penman approached employee groups and asked for assistance in helping to bridge the gap in the budget.

The APOA held a membership meeting two weeks ago and discussed options available that would assist in the budget shortfall. As Robert Hong notes in his article in the Pasadena Star News, the APOA voted nearly unanimously to defer a portion of each members pay and benefits this fiscal year to assist the City. Our membership, which includes all Police Officers, a Police Agent and all Police Sergeants, will each contribute in excess of $1,000 this fiscal year. Other City Employee groups and Managers followed suit over the last couple of weeks and have also made concessions. This includes the City Manager and APD Management as well.

The tough economic times have impacted everyone. Our membership is not immune. Lay-offs and cut-backs away from the City have hit some of our members and their families. The APOA is committed to working with the City and hopefully in the upcoming years frozen positions, cut backs, and layoffs will once again be on the back burner.

Residential Burglaries Continue

Four residential burglaries and an attempted burg were reported yesterday to APD. The burglaries occurred in the 600 blk. Cortez Road, 1800 blk. S. Second Avenue, 200 blk . E. Norman Avenue, and the 2800 blk. S. Baldwin Avenue. The attempt burglary occurred in the 00 blk. of E. Longden Avenue. These incidents were reported to have happened during daytime hours.

Residential burglary is a topic that we have discussed in several past posts including a press release from APD earlier this year. Recent arrests have been directly the result of citizen informants witnessing suspicious activity in their neighborhood. Please do not hesitate to call the police should you see suspicious persons, activity or vehicles in the area.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unlawful Use of Tear Gas

On Monday afternoon about 2:00PM, an 18 year old resident of Arcadia was exiting his car in the 400 block of East Live Oak Avenue when he was confronted by a male Asian. The male Asian yelled a "gang" name and challenged the victim to fight. The suspect then sprayed the victim in the face with "pepper spray". Two other males approached and struck the victim's vehicle vandalizing the car. All three suspects then fled in a beige sedan before APD arrived. The suspects were described as male Asians, 18-22 years old.

Measure A Passes

Arcadia's Best is reporting that Measure A was voted in yesterday with an approximate 77% approval. There is a link on their post to the City website with unofficial results of the vote. Thanks to the community for their support of this important measure which will help ensure quality City services!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ADW with a Baton

A road rage incident Friday afternoon turned into an assault with a deadly weapon arrest. At about 4:43 PM, two male drivers became involved in a physical confrontation at Santa Anita Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, after stopping in a north bound lane of traffic. One driver, a 19 year old from Arcadia, struck the other driver, a 20 year old male from El Monte, in the head and arm with a collapsible baton. A witness waiting in line at the nearby In & Out intervened and grabbed the baton away from the suspect until APD arrived. The victim was treated at the scene for his injuries and the suspect was arrested.

Hot Prowl Residential Burglary

Shortly after 11:00 AM on Friday, June 5th, a resident in the 200 block of East Haven saw a male walk across his front lawn and knock on the door. The resident ignored the knock and went about his business. Moments later, the resident heard footsteps inside the home and opened an interior door to see the suspect in a hallway. The suspect immediately fled out the front door. Officers were unable to locate the suspect who was described as a male Hispanic in his 20’s wearing dark clothing. The suspect had removed a screen from a front window that was partially open and entered through the open window. There was no loss.

This incident serves as a good reminder to stay alert when home and windows or doors are left open. Burglary suspects may knock on a door in an attempt to see if anyone is home. Don’t automatically open your door. Do ask who is there and ask what there business is if you don’t recognize them. Keep a phone near by in the event you need to dial 9-1-1.

Tuesday Tip - "Cheaters"

Most of us pay our registration fees to the State so that we can legally driver our vehicles on the street. Some even pay fees for off-road vehicles used in our deserts and mountains. The majority of residents pay their share and then some with the recently raised rates for registration. However, it is not uncommon to see vehicles with an out of State license plate being driven on our roads. Some of these out of State vehicles may be visitors, relatives coming and going, or even rental cars. Many of them are not.

California law requires that a vehicle used in our State be registered in California within 20 days of either establishing residency or accepting employment. There are few exceptions to this law for persons who live near our border or are in school. It is usually much cheaper to register a car out of State and some people take advantage of that, cheating the State of California. Not only does the State lose money, but this failure to pay helps keep our rates high. The California Highway Patrol launched a website called "Cheaters" that was started to allow drivers to send "tips" to the CHP reporting vehicles being unlawfully used in California.

According to the CHP website, the three most common reasons for not completing the registration process are; people unaware of California registration laws, people evading payments of registration fees and taxes, and people unable to comply with air pollution control laws.

Take a look at the "Cheaters" website. If you are aware of one of these vehicles in your neighborhood, pull up the on-line form and submit the info to the CHP for follow-up.

Monday, June 8, 2009

VOTE "Yes on A" Tomorrow

Don't forget the Arcadia local vote tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. The APOA recommends a "Yes" vote on Measure A. Help maintain our City services! Click HERE for a list of polling places.

Prop 83, "Jessica's Law"

On November 7, 2006, California voters approved Proposition 83, known as "Jessica's Law" which offers better protection to California residents, especially children, from sex offenders. Prop 83 also allows local jurisdictions to further restrict residency and loitering of registered sex offenders. On May 5, 2009, the Arcadia City Council voted in favor of introducing Ordinance #2257, amending the Arcadia Municipal Code, adding a section that covers "Residency and Loitering Restrictions for Sex Offenders."

This local ordinance impacts future persons registering as sex offenders and those offenders registered on or after November 8, 2006. The ordinance not only has residency requirements but also allows for exclusionary zones near schools, parks, and other places where children may gather.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Department Launches On-Line Reporting

The Arcadia Police Department launched the Public Safety Citizens Service Portal recently for the purposes of limited on-line reporting via the Internet. The on-line reports are limited to reports that are not of an emergency nature, occurred within the City of Arcadia, have no suspect information, and fall within the following categories;

  • Annoying Phone Calls

  • Auto Burglary

  • Identity Theft

  • Lost Property

  • Theft

  • Vandalism

  • Vehicle Tampering

The reporting party completes the information on-line and is furnished with a sequence number. Once submitted, the report is reviewed at APD and if additional information is required, the reporting party will be contacted for an update. Once the report is approved, it is filed with APD just like a report directly to a police officer. An unofficial copy of submitted reports can be obtained through the system for insurance or similar needs. The form is complete with explanations, is fairly easy to follow and is a fill in the box format.

This is a nice addition to our tool bag and allows the community just one more avenue of contact with APD.

City Matches Reward

The Arcadia City Council voted last night to add an additional $20,000 reward in the robbery/murder case of Jason Wei. Jason was killed in November 2007 during a robbery at the Osaka Ya restaurant in Arcadia. This reward offer brings the total reward offer to $40,000. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted last week to offer a reward in the case.

Any information can be directed to APD Detectives at (626) 574-5160.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two Juvies Arrested for Tagging

Seven foot high letters tagged on the side of a business in the 800 block of South Baldwin lead to the detention and arrest of two juveniles last night. About 7:25 PM, Officers were alerted to the tagging by a witness who called APD. Two 17 year old males from El Monte were arrested near the scene. The two allegedly tagged property with spray paint and marking pens.

Tagging is an act of vandalism and reduces the quality of life in any neighborhood. Please call your local police if you witness someone tagging. Be a good witness and let the call taker know what you see. Do not attempt to contact or detain the vandals.

Tuesday Tip - "You Are a Winner!" (Scams)

“You Have Just Won $1,000,000.00!” Ever receive a letter for a sweepstakes or some form of “lottery” that indicates that you have been selected as a winner? All you have to do is call the phone number listed on the letter and claim your prize. You may then be asked to give personal information or perhaps obtain an amount of cash and wire that money to a company or individual to cover the costs of handling and insurance on your winnings. Sound pretty simple? Sound too good to be true? Did you ever enter this particular sweepstakes?

The vast majority of these unsolicited letters are scams; scams that are designed to separate you from your hard earned money. Trust your initial instincts and do not respond to this form of solicitation and theft. Similar scams have been used before and even now have evolved from mail scams to crimes on the Internet which are sent via email. Any form of communication that seeks either your personal information or funds should be ignored unless YOU initiated the contact. Confirm the validity through reliable sources before you allow yourself to become a victim.

Some factors to look for may include;
· Any solicitation that you did not ask for
· Addresses that are out of the area
· Names of large companies or persons that you have no affiliation with
· Request for personal information
· ANY request for you to send money
· Ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?”

Protect yourself and your family. Many of these scams target the elderly. Please pass on the information to your loved ones and help prevent this type of crime.