web analytics

Tag Archive | "FBI"

Sexual assault kit initiative


What testing backlogged sexual assault kits is teaching law enforcement about the crime

“When you test so many kits at the same time, you can see how much serial offending is going on.”

—Rachel Lovell, 
senior research associate, 
Case Western Reserve University.

From the FBI

The effort to address a backlog of sexual assault kits nationwide has led to tens of thousands of long-shelved kits being tested over the last several years. The FBI Laboratory alone tested more than 3,600 kits in a four-year effort to assist state and local agencies.

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

The work being done to inventory and test the evidence kits is one part of the story. The other part is what has been discovered about the serial nature of many sexual offenders as thousands of cases are added into the FBI’s national DNA and violent crime databases.

As we mark April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the findings offer important insights into the nation’s most underreported violent crime.

Sexual assault kits are created when a victim reports an assault to authorities and consents to allowing a trained nurse or physician to gather physical evidence from his or her body and clothing.

These kits may end up sitting untested by labs or not submitted for testing for a number of reasons, according to Angela Williamson, senior forensic policy adviser with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which is leading the sexual assault kit initiative.

Many jurisdictions have backlogs going back to the decades before DNA profiling was well developed. Still other kits have gone untested due to limited law enforcement and lab resources, victims withdrawing from the process, or a lack of training and understanding among law enforcement personnel.

BJA awarded $159 million in grants for the kit initiative between 2015 and 2018 to dozens of state and local jurisdictions; the agency will award another $48 million in grants this year to continue to chisel away at the problem.

Since 2015, the program has inventoried 61,134 kits and sent 44,952 for testing. Of the 39,565 kits that could be tested to completion, 13,521 produced a DNA profile of high enough quality that it could be entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) forensic database.

When the 13,521 kits were entered into CODIS, 6,366 matched to an entry already there. A CODIS entry is only created when an individual or his or her DNA is linked to an alleged crime.

The FBI Laboratory tested 3,610 kits and uploaded 1,965 entries into CODIS. “In 829 of those, there was a match to someone in the database or to another sample in the database,” said Heather LaSalle, a forensic examiner with the FBI’s DNA Casework Unit. LaSalle stressed that a hit in CODIS is an investigative lead only, but those leads can connect cases and offenders. 

“When you test so many kits at the same time, you can see how much serial offending is going on,” said Rachel Lovell, a senior research associate at Case Western Reserve University and the lead research partner on the BJA grants received by Ohio’s Cuyahoga County. “We saw serial offenders who are frequently assaulting strangers and nonstrangers,” she added.

The vast majority of sexual assault victims know their assailants, but Lovell stresses that even if the victim names his or her offender, the DNA is still worth taking and testing. “Someone’s known offender could be someone else’s unknown offender,” said Carey Aldridge, the coordinator of Kentucky’s sexual assault kit initiative.

One kit submitted to the FBI Lab by the Everett (Washington) Police Department in 2016 linked the DNA gathered from the victim to the host of a 2010 holiday party at which the woman reported being raped. Two weeks after that report was made, the party host was arrested for assaulting another woman in the restroom of a bar. When the FBI Lab tested the first victim’s kit six years later, the man had already been released from prison after serving time for the second assault.

Another kit the FBI tested in 2017 from a 2011 Fayetteville, North Carolina, case linked the DNA to a man who was in prison for a 2016 kidnapping, robbery, and rape. A kit tested by another lab also linked the man to a 1998 assault. The delay in processing the evidence was devastating and costly.

That cost, in dollars and to lives, is something Kentucky has been working to understand as it tests a state backlog of more than 3,000 kits in response to 2016 legislation. Kentucky and other states are finding that individuals who commit sexual assaults often commit more than one sexual assault–and not only do these offenders often assault more victims, they are often linked to other violent and/or property crimes.   

The Kentucky study found that the cost to society of not testing the kits is far greater than the expense the state would face in fully funding its crime lab. “We know that rapists are often serial criminals,” researchers wrote in the report. “Someone willing to commit violent, intimate crimes against another person poses the highest risk to other persons and property.”

“Our culture for many, many years mischaracterized rape,” said Gretchen Hunt, executive director for the Office of Victim Advocacy with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. She added that the assumption was that if it happened in a familiar setting—if it was someone the person knew—that it was somehow less serious. The reality, born out by the data, is that sexual assault is a violent crime, committed by an individual who is likely to be violent again. 

Another powerful tool supporting the effort is the FBI’s Violent Crime Apprehension Program (ViCAP), which can help in cases where there is no DNA or if cases are linked by DNA but there is not yet a name attached. ViCAP allows for agencies to capture descriptions of suspects, vehicle information, incident accounts, and other data that can help connect cases.

Kentucky is one state that has volunteered to enter the information from its sexual assault kits into ViCAP; the BJA program now requires it of grant recipients. Aldridge says using ViCAP is just good policy for Kentucky: “We are a poor state. We don’t have a lot of resources. We are trying to work smarter.”

“One of the most frightening things is that although these data give us a much better picture, it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Lovell. “These victims reported and submitted to a sexual assault kit being collected. Two thirds of victims don’t report, and our data suggest that only about half of those who report get a sexual assault kit.”

Experts agree that the primary lesson learned from the backlog is that law enforcement should investigate each incident of reported sexual assault with vigor and care, which requires reform beyond the lab work and data entries.

“It’s not sufficient just to test—departments need to do something with the information and follow up,” said Angela Williamson, the BJA policy adviser. The BJA grants provide as much funding for prosecutions and investigations as they do for testing. The grants also require that recipients institute organizational changes to prevent the backlog from building up again. In addition, agencies nationwide are embracing the need for first responders to be better trained in sexual assault response, how victims respond to trauma, and how to institute a victim-centered approach in every step of an investigation.

“It’s great to see so many jurisdictions saying, ‘We may not have done this the best way before, but we are doing something about it now,’ ” said Lovell. “Such change is happening,” echoed Williamson.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Suspicious package at courthouse


The Kent County 63rd District Court was on lockdown for about three hours on Monday, May 14, after a suspicious package was found.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they responded to the courthouse shortly after 9 a.m. Deputies were directed to an envelope that was received through the US Postal Service that contained an unknown powdery substance.

The FBI and the Grand Rapids Fire Department Hazmat Team also responded to the courthouse and assisted in assessing the extent of the threat, as well as containment of the unknown substance. As a precautionary measure, the courthouse was locked down for a period of approximately three hours until it was determined that the substance had been contained and was not a threat to anyone inside or outside of the building. There were no symptoms of exposure reported by anyone.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional testing will be conducted to determine exactly what the substance is. Anyone with information about this situation is encouraged to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345. 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Admiral robber caught


Jacob Abraham Savickas

By Judy Reed

The man who robbed the Cedar Springs Admiral gas station and a string of other businesses here in Michigan and Ohio (including two banks) is now in custody at the Kent County Correctional Facility.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Jacob Abraham Savickas, 33, was arrested without incident on Wednesday, August 9, at a local hotel, by the FBI Fugitive Task Force. He was lodged at the jail on several warrants, including bank robbery, larceny from a person, fleeing and eluding a police officer, parole absconder, and being a habitual offender.

Savickas started his crime spree Wednesday, July 26, when he is suspected of an unarmed robbery of the J&H Mobil gas station at 4404 Clyde Park Ave., Wyoming. He then robbed the Admiral gas station on the corner of Main and Muskegon Street in Cedar Springs the next day, Thursday, July 27. According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the robbery occurred about 9:22 a.m. The clerk told police that a white male in his late 20s came in and demanded money. He was described as wearing a white shirt, blue baseball cap, and having facial hair.

Police found him at the rest stop on US-131 near 10 Mile Rd., but after a brief foot chase, he got back into his car and sped away. Police pursued him, but terminated the chase on 10 Mile Rd. The Admiral clerk had reportedly told police that he had a small child with him.

Savickas drove to Indiana later that day, and is suspected of robbing two more gas stations that day in South Bend—the Marathon gas station on W. Western Ave, and Low Bob’s, 4505 N. Ameritech Dr.

The next day, Friday, July 28, Savickas is suspected of committing an unarmed bank robbery at the Beacon Credit Union, 820 North Broadway, in Peru, Indiana. On Tuesday, August 1, Savickas was back in Michigan, and is suspected of robbing the Next Door Food Store at 4616 Alpine Ave., N.W., where he struck the clerk with his vehicle. He is also suspected of robbing the Independent Bank, 3090 Plainfield Av NE on Wednesday morning August 2.

Savickas was previously convicted in 2015 of retail fraud, first degree. He was arrested after he tried to steal plasma cutters from Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs. Employees recognized him at the time as someone who previously stole welders and interrupted the theft of the plasma cutters. He fled but was arrested and held on six charges, several for retail fraud at other locations. He was sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison. His record on the Michigan Corrections website shows him listed as a parole absconder as of July 6.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Police seek suspect in robberies


The Admiral Gas Station, 194 S. Main, in Cedar Springs, was robbed on Thursday, July 27. Post photo by J. Reed.

Jacob Abraham Savickas is suspected of robbing a string of businesses in Michigan and Indiana.

By Judy Reed

Police are asking for the public’s to help to locate the man wanted for a string of robberies in Michigan and Indiana, including the robbery Thursday, July 27, of the Cedar Springs Admiral gas station.

Savickas is driving this blue Oldsmobile Intrigue.

Police are looking for Jacob Abraham Savickas, 33. He is described as a white male, 5 feet 10 inches, 170 pounds, with short brown hair and a beard. He is driving a blue/purple Oldsmobile Intrigue 4D, Michigan plate DNL1257. He reportedly has family in the Howard City area.

If anyone sees him or knows where he is, please call the Kent County Sheriff Department at 616-632-6125, or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

Savickas started his crime spree last Wednesday, July 26, when he is suspected of an unarmed robbery of the J&H Mobil gas station at 4404 Clyde Park Ave., Wyoming. He then robbed the Admiral gas station on the corner of Main and Muskegon Street in Cedar Springs the next day, Thursday, July 27. According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the robbery occurred about 9:22 a.m. The clerk told police that a white male in his late 20s came in and demanded money. He was described as wearing a white shirt, blue baseball cap, and having facial hair.

Police found him at the rest stop on US-131 near 10 Mile Rd., but after a brief foot chase, he got back into his car and sped away. Police pursued him, but terminated the chase on 10 Mile Rd. The Admiral clerk had reportedly told police that he had a small child with him.

Savickas drove to Indiana later that day, and is suspected of robbing two more gas stations that day in South Bend—the Marathon gas station on W. Western Ave, and Low Bob’s, 4505 N. Ameritech Dr.

The next day, Friday, July 28, Savickas is suspected of committing an unarmed bank robbery at the Beacon Credit Union, 820 North Broadway, in Peru, Indiana. On Tuesday, August 1, Savickas was back in Michigan, and is suspected of robbing the Next Door Food Store at 4616 Alpine Ave., N.W., where he struck the clerk with his vehicle. He is also suspected of robbing the Independent Bank, 3090 Plainfield Av NE on Wednesday morning August 2.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are looking for Savickas, including the FBI.

“We believe this will continue and potentially escalate until Savickas is located and arrested,” said Det. Mike Tanis, with the Kent County Sheriff’s Dept.

Savickas was convicted in 2015 of retail fraud, first degree. He was arrested for trying to steal plasma cutters from Family Farm and Home in Cedar Springs. Employees recognized him at the time as someone who previously stole welders and interrupted the theft of the plasma cutters. He fled but was arrested and held on six charges, several for retail fraud. He was sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison. His record on the Michigan Corrections website shows him listed as a parole absconder as of July 6.

Current warrants out for him include parole absconder, two counts of larceny from a person, and fleeing and eluding.

The last time the Admiral Gas station in Cedar Springs was robbed was four years ago. It was robbed once in 2010; once in 2011; twice in 2012; and once in 2013.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Credit card skimmer found at local gas station


_N-Credit-card-Skimmer_file-photoOn Saturday, March 19, 2016, state and federal regulators and various law enforcement agencies conducted a full-scale gas pump blitz across Michigan as part of the ongoing efforts to crackdown on consumer credit card information being hacked by credit card skimmers.

The Kent County Sheriff Department participated in the sweep that was coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and partnered with the FBI. Michigan State Police, and other Sheriff Departments in several counties. During the sweep, a credit card skimmer was found a pump at the Citgo gas station, located on 17 Mile and White Creek, in Cedar Springs. The skimmer was collected by the Kent County Sheriff Department and turned over to the FBI.

Due to the skimmer being proactively located, it is believed that several people were protected from credit card fraud, as the unknown suspect(s) were unable to retrieve the information contained on the skimmer,” said Sgt. Jason Kelley, with Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs unit.

During Saturday’s blitz, which took officials from Grand Rapids to Saginaw to Lansing to the U.P. to Detroit and Traverse City, three credit card skimming devices were removed and confiscated and more than 3,000 pumps were checked. The other two skimmers were found at gas stations in Howell, Michigan.

These blitzes make it clear to these cyber-criminals we’re actively looking for skimming devices – not just during the traditional work week – but on weekends too,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director. “Credit card skimmers will not be tolerated and Michigan’s Weights and Measures inspectors, gas station owners, and law enforcement will continue to be on the hunt for skimmers to protect the state’s consumers from fraud.”

Credit card skimmers can’t be seen from outside the pump. Criminals use keys to quickly open the pumps, insert the skimmers and leave. Skimmers can be installed in seconds. The skimmers then make a copy of the consumer’s card information for criminals to make fraudulent purchases.

Some steps station owners can take to protect their patrons are changing locks, using tamper-proof security tape, and adding security cameras. Additionally, owners should also be increasing their dispenser inspections, and be more aware of these attacks,” said Clover Adams.

Jennifer Holton, with the MDARD, said that checking for skimmers has been an everyday practice since August 2015, but occasionally they do a blitz. “Not only do we check the quality of the gasoline, but we check for skimmers, too,” she explained.

Holton said that if something seems off at the pump, go inside to pay, and alert the cashier if you see something off. You should also regularly monitor your credit and debit card info to make sure you recognize purchases. “Immediately notify your banking institution if you notice something that shouldn’t be there,” she said.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Former credit union manager sentenced for embezzlement


 

Kathryn Sue Simmerman Embezzled Almost $2 Million From Shoreline Federal Credit Union 

A Muskegon woman will serve time in prison for stealing money from a Norton Shores credit union.

According to United States Attorney Patrick Miles Jr.,  Kathryn Sue Simmerman, 55, of Muskegon, Michigan, was sentenced to 78 months (six and a half years) in federal prison Monday, January 4, for embezzling $1.9 million from her former employer, Shoreline Federal Credit Union. She was also ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution and serve two years of court supervision following her release from prison. U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell imposed the sentence. He remanded Simmerman to prison immediately after issuing the sentence.

For more than 15 years, Simmerman embezzled $1,945,000 from Shoreline by removing cash from its vault and placing it in her purse. She deposited some of the cash into Shoreline accounts she controlled, and took the remainder of it home to spend on her own use and enjoyment. She hid her activity by manipulating Shoreline’s books and records.

The case was investigated by the Norton Shores Police Department and Special Agents from the FBI and IRS. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

In the line of duty


 

Law enforcement officers killed and assaulted

N-FBI-report-51-law-enforcement-officers-killedOn May 29, 2014, a 42-year-old trooper with the New York State Police made a traffic stop on an interstate highway north of Binghamton. The veteran trooper parked behind the stopped car and approached the driver’s side window. In that fleeting moment, a truck traveling in the same direction at about 90 miles per hour suddenly swerved, sideswiping the car and striking the trooper, killing him instantly. The truck’s driver, a 60-year-old man with a criminal record, admitted after his capture that he intentionally veered to hit the trooper.

The chilling account of the unprovoked attack is just one of dozens of detailed narratives recounting the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States in 2014. The accounts are a central component of the latest Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report, issued today, which shows that 96 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year—51 as a result of felonious acts and 45 in accidents. The annual report, released by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, also shows that 48,315 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2014.

In addition to the narratives, the online-only report includes comprehensive data tables that provide a closer look at the incidents: officer profiles, circumstances, weapons, locations, and identified suspects.

The felonious deaths of the 51 officers—all males—occurred in 24 states and Puerto Rico. The figure represents a significant increase over the number that occurred in 2013, when 27 officers were killed, but is lower than the numbers from 2009 (56 officers) and 2005 (55 officers).

Among the report’s findings:

  • The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39, and they had served for an average of 13 years.
  • Offenders used firearms to kill 46 of the 51 victim officers: 33 were slain with handguns, 10 with rifles, and three with shotguns.
  • 59 alleged assailants (54 of them males) were identified in connection with the line-of-duty deaths; 50 had prior criminal arrests.
  • 39 of the officers feloniously killed with firearms were wearing body armor at the time of the incidents.
  • The largest percentage (30.8) of assaults on police officers occurred while they were responding to disturbance calls.

The LEOKA publication contains data on duly-sworn city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers. The information in the report comes from various sources: the law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR Program, FBI field offices, and several non-profit organizations, such as the Concerns of Police Survivors and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In addition to collecting details about the critical aspects of fatal confrontations and assaults, the FBI’s LEOKA Program conducts extensive research on the data that eventually gets incorporated into officer safety awareness training the FBI provides for partner agencies. For summaries of officers killed on duty, visit: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/2014/officers-feloniously-killed/summaries-of-officers-feloniously-killed

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Attempted robbers of jewelry store sentenced 


Left to Right: Darnell Brown, Charles Fortune, Zack Cender.

Left to Right: Darnell Brown, Charles Fortune, Zack Cender.

Three men from East Lansing were sentenced this week for their roles in the attempted robbery of a jewelry store in Plainfield Township in January.

According to U. S. Attorney Patrick Miles, Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced both Darnell Kenneth-Maurice Brown, 23, and Charles Milton Fortune, 22, to 30 months in prison, and Zackary Ian Cender, 19, to 12 months and one day in prison.

On the morning of January 23, Brown, Cender, and Fortune, along with four other men, left Lansing for Grand Rapids, in two cars, for the purpose of robbing a jewelry store in Grand Rapids.

They drove by the jewelry store, at 4518 Plainfield NE, north of 5 Mile Rd, before parking at a nearby apartment complex. They then stole a pickup truck, and Brown, Cender, and three others travelled to the jewelry store in the stolen truck. Fortune and another stayed with the cars at the apartment complex. Once at the store, the driver waited in the truck while four robbers, including Brown and Cender, entered. Brown acted as a lookout, while Cender and two others went to jewelry cases containing Rolex watches and began smashing the glass cases with short-handled sledgehammers. Employees and customers fled the showroom. The robbery was disrupted when one of the employees returned to the showroom and fired a weapon in the direction of the robbers.

The suspects fled the scene, then abandoned the stolen vehicle and were seen getting into two different vehicles: a black Chevy Impala, and a new silver Dodge Durango. Kent County Sheriff Sgt. Bryan Muir was responding to the call when he witnessed the black Impala traveling eastbound on I-96. He waited for backup to arrive before conducting a felony stop on I-96 near M-6. Brown, Cender, and Fortune were then taken into custody. The other four conspirators escaped and have yet to be charged.

“This was a carefully planned attempted robbery,” U.S. Attorney Miles said. “The coordination and circumstances of this robbery indicate that these defendants had help. We are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the other perpetrators of this criminal act and in bringing them to justice.”

The U.S. Attorney noted that the public can contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) at (313) 965-2323 with any information about this case.

“The audacity with which this robbery was committed posed a substantial threat to the business place and public-at-large, and will not be tolerated,” stated Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners on both sides of the state, is committed to seeing that all of the co-conspirators involved in this case are arrested and brought to justice, and will not stop pursuing them until this is accomplished.”

The FBI and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin M. Presant and Daniel Y. Mekaru are prosecuting it.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Violent crime decreases in U.S.


 

The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 4.4 percent in 2013, when compared with 2012 data, according to FBI figures released this week. Property crimes decreased 4.1 percent, marking the 11th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

The 2013 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 367.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,730.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate declined 5.1 percent compared to the 2012 rate, while the property crime rate declined 4.8 percent.

These and additional data are presented in the 2013 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States. This publication is a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding the violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. (Although the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it does not estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation by the reporting agencies. Consequently, arson is not included in the property crime estimate.) The program also collects arrest data for the offenses listed above plus 20 offenses that include all other crimes except traffic violations.

Prior to 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program collected rape data in the Summary Reporting System under the category “forcible rape.” In 2013, the program removed the term “forcible” from the title and revised the definition. The legacy UCR definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” The revised UCR definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

A total of 18,415 city, county, state, university and college, tribal, and federal agencies participated in the UCR Program in 2013. A summary of the statistics reported by these agencies, which are included in Crime in the United States, 2013, follows:

In 2013, there were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes. Each of the violent crimes show declines (murder and non-negligent manslaughter—4.4 percent, rape [legacy definition]—6.3 percent, robbery—2.8 percent, and aggravated assault—5.0 percent) compared with estimates from 2012.

Nationwide, there were an estimated 8,632,512 property crimes. The estimated numbers of each of the property crimes also show declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 8.6 percent, larceny-thefts declined 2.7 percent, and motor vehicle thefts were down 3.3 percent.

Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses calculated at an estimated $16.6 billion in 2013.

The FBI estimated that agencies nationwide made about 11.3 million arrests, excluding traffic violations, in 2013.

The arrest rate for violent crime was 159.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the rate for property crime was 513.2 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 3.4 per 100,000 inhabitants; rape (aggregate total of revised and legacy), 5.5; robbery, 32.0; and aggravated assault, 118.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By property crime offense, the arrest rate for burglary was 82.9 per 100,000 inhabitants; larceny-theft, 405.5; and motor vehicle theft, 21.4. The arrest rate for arson was 3.4 per 100,000 inhabitants.

In 2013, there were 13,051 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2013, they collectively employed 626,942 sworn officers and 275,468 civilians, a rate of 3.4 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.

Caution Against Ranking

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use the figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Fraudulent websites posing as green dot moneypak customer support


 

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received numerous complaints reporting fraudulent websites posing as MoneyPak customer support. MoneyPak is a non-reloadable, prepaid product offered by Green Dot.

Complaints indicate victims locate the websites via internet search engines. Interaction between the victims and the fraudulent customer support generally occurs via telephone. The IC3 has noticed different variations of this scam.

One: The victim is seeking a refund from an already purchased MoneyPak card and contacts the information listed on the website. A customer service “representative” will ask the caller to provide the identification number of the prepaid card.

For example:  The victim loaded funds onto a MoneyPak card and now wishes to receive a refund of those funds off of the prepaid card. The representative will ask for the prepaid card number and a credit card or checking account number to which the refund can be processed. At this point, the scammer has access to the funds on the prepaid card and the victim’s personal account.

Two: Victim seeks support in connection with loss from other possible scams. The representative will instruct the caller to reload the card with additional funds equal to the previously lost amount.

For example: The victim lost $500 from their MoneyPak card to a separate scam and is seeking a refund to the card. The representative will instruct the victim to load an additional $500 to the card. The representative states “reloading is the only way to process the refund,” and the card will be refunded the full $1,000. Should the victim refuse to reload the card, the representative will promptly disconnect the call.

In most complaints, victims are given a tracking or confirmation number in connection with their call and report to be placed on hold for a length of time while the representative claims to be researching the problem regarding the card in question. In all complaints, any funds available on the card are drained while the victim is on hold or immediately after the call is disconnected.

Consumer protection

Consumers should only use the website and phone number listed on the back of the MoneyPak prepaid cards. MoneyPak customer support can only be accessed by email request via the website’s online portal. The phone number listed on the back of MoneyPak cards is for adding funds to an existing prepaid card. Green Dot customer service publicizes a customer service number; however, this number will not provide assistance with MoneyPak.

Currently identified fraudulent websites are not secured websites (http).The MoneyPak customer support website is a secured website (https) and does not require personal (date of birth, social security number) to reload a card, add money to PayPal or make payments to authorized partners. Prepaid card information is needed to reload a prepaid card on the valid MoneyPak website. Visit https://www.moneypak.com/ for more information.

Filing a complaint

Individuals who believe they be a victim of a “MoneyPak Support” scam can file with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov. Please be as descriptive as possible, including prepaid card/account numbers affected and contact information of support “representatives.”

Because scams and fraudulent websites appear very quickly, individuals are encouraged to report possible internet scams and fraudulent websites by filing a complaint with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov.

Additional information from moneypak.1

Tips on how to protect yourself from fraud:2

  • Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know.
  • Never give receipt information about your MoneyPak purchase to another party.
  • Use your MoneyPak only to reload your prepaid cards or accounts you control.
  • Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.
  • To use your MoneyPak with PayPal or eBay or other online merchants, transfer the money to your PayPal account before you pay the merchant. Don’t email your MoneyPak number directly to any merchant.
  • Unless it’s an approved MoneyPak partner, don’t use MoneyPak for any offer that requires you to pay before you get the item.

1. www.moneypak.com

2. www.moneypak.com/ProtectYourMoney.aspx 

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

advert
Cedar Car Co
Advertising Rates Brochure
Kent Theatre

Get Your Copy of The Cedar Springs Post for just $40 a year!