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Holiday Security Tips

Holiday Security Tips

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Published by The State Newspaper

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Published by: The State Newspaper on Nov 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE CITY OF COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT, SLED, AND THE SECRET SERVICE OFFER HOLIDAY SECURITY TIPS Metro area shoppers and businesses need to remain vigilant, as the holiday rush means more crowds and increased opportunities for criminals to commit fraud. Columbia, SC - This time of year, counterfeiters prey on both cashiers distracted by long lines, and consumers juggling purchases and shopping lists. Shoppers should visually inspect their currency before walking away from store registers or bank tellers, says Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams of the U.S. Secret Service’s Columbia Field Office. Retailers and consumers also need to be mindful of criminals attempting to steal or use stolen credit cards, credit card numbers or store gift cards. Retailers should continue to actively compare credit card signatures with photo IDs, and consumers should carefully scrutinize card transactions and card statements to ensure their cards are not compromised. “Technology has forever changed the way we do business, making everyday financial transactions a prime target for fraud,” said Michael Williams. “The Secret Service, in conjunction with the City of Columbia Police Department and SLED continues to successfully combat these crimes by adapting our investigative methodologies, and educating the public.” “We want this and every holiday season to be a safe experience for the citizens of Columbia and its visitors”, says Interim Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott. National statistics will show a spike in auto burglaries and financial crimes during this time of year. To combat this trend, shoppers will notice an increased police presence at our local area malls. It is important that consumers don’t forget to use common sense while shopping – never leave valuable items visible in your vehicle, if shopping after dark, park in a well lighted area, do not carry large amounts of cash and be extremely careful when using ATMs. “In 2003, the U.S. Secret Service and SLED’s Computer Crime Center combined resources to combat computer based threats to South Carolina financial institutions. This partnership has been the bedrock of our success,” said Reggie Lloyd Director of SLED. With the advent of

the Internet, a new cyber criminal was created that’s targeting our financial payment systems. SLED has the lead role within the state to investigate and combat trends in cyber and computer related crimes. To help avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud, the best advice is to never provide personal information over the phone or the Internet to anyone that contacts you via phishing scams. No credit card company or bank will ever contact you to verify your information. If a retailer or consumer suspects a bill is counterfeit, they should compare the bill to a note of the same series and denomination that is known to be genuine. The note in question should display the proper watermark as well as the proper security thread that is consistent with that denomination. The following resources contain valuable information on how to detect counterfeit notes by identifying the security features that are embedded within U.S. currency: Know Your Money, http://www.secretservice.gov/know_your_money.shtml and www.moneyfactory.gov (Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s website). In addition, the following website contains information on how to protect your identity as well as how to obtain victim assistance: www.ftc.gov. If you suspect you have been a victim of financial fraud, please contact your local police and/or the U.S. Secret Service Columbia Field Office at (803) 772- 4015.

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