Due to my unending pursuit of ultimate safety, I’m constantly searching for new tips and tricks to keep myself and others safe. Last year I found strong talent in the Secure Dad which is a blog website that includes news and information geared to keeping families safe. Following the tragic events of 9/11, Andy Murphy has dedicated his adult life to learning new ways to protect his family. He selflessly shares this information on his blog (thesecuredad.com) and more recently his all encompassing book Home Security. A common misconception regarding home safety is that its as easy as locking the front door and installing a surveillance camera. We can blame crafty home security commercials for that! But Andy dives deeper, forcing the reader to self analysis by evaluating their own home to implement simple, no nonsense steps to fortify their homes.
I’ve been in law enforcement for two decades and have seen every type of breaking and entering there is. I’ve seen first hand the devastating effect this type of victimization has on people. This intrusive violation is unlike any other feeling in civil society. The feeling a stranger was in your home where you experience your most private moments is a feeling like no other. I can say with much confidence if the average victim were to deploy the techniques clearly outlined in Home Security, the likelihood of victimization would have decreased dramatically. Andy has gone to great lengths to research and include very practical, inexpensive ways to make minor adjustments to secure your home. In fact, since reading this book I deployed several techniques already, and have recommended several items to residents in the community where I’m a police officer (I’m sure Andy wouldn’t mind if I shared them!)
So this summer, if you’re looking for an informative book to read while you sun yourself on the beach, read Andy Murphy’s Home Security, you will not regret it!
The recent suspension of 72 cops in Philadelphia illustrates the double standard facing the American Police Officer. If you haven't heard the most recent assault on the thin blue line, here’s a brief synopsis. Apparently a so-called “watch-dog” group, referring to themselves as the Plainview Project (gimme a break), conducted a two year long investigation into local cops and their personal lives. What was their purpose? My guess is to make themselves feel good by “proving” local cops are racists and bigots. Because racism is a systemic problem in 21st century policing (insert sarcastic eye roll here). Apparently, it took these clowns more than two years of digging into the personal social networking accounts of thousands of municipal cops to find the proverbial smoking gun.
Once the team of do-gooders found what they were looking for they dropped this “bombshell” report to their respective police departments like the Philadelphia Police Department and demanded a full investigation. As a result 72 Philadelphia hired a local law firm to investigate and these free speaking cops were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome. Their crime? I’m so glad you asked. According to a NBC10 news report, the group claims several cops made comments on their personal accounts that was derogatory or showed some kind of bias toward particular groups of people within their community. One such post was a repost of a meme that read “Death to Islam”. Another was in reference to a service call where the cop said the subject they were dealing with should be “taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is.” Oooo, tough stuff.
Even though the headline in the NBC10 news report refers only to the Philadelphia Police, the article mentions two unrelated posts from cops from other parts of the country. One from Phoenix and the other from St. Louis where a cop questions whether the confederate flag is really racists. NBC10 appears to be a hard hitting news outlet. Evidently linking the Philly cops with other cops identified by this watch-dog group from across the country really proves their racist cop argument.
I spoke about the constitutional restrictions on cops in my eBook: #Nationwide Police Strike and still haven’t found an answer to the question plaguing American cops: where is the line drawn? Where does the police officer end and the off-duty, normal, average citizen begin. As far as we can tell from the groups “investigation” the uncovered posts originated while the cops were off-duty and supposedly protected by the first amendment. When a cop is sitting on his back deck enjoying a cookout with his friends and family shouldn’t he be allowed to say whatever he wants about whomever he wants? This question is not rhetorical.
What amazes me is that people still want to do this job. Believe it or not, there are people, who despite the constant restriction on their constitutional rights and constant under-the-michroscope treatment, that want to take the police exam, spend six months in the police academy and want to wear the uniform. Who are these people? Who is the recent college grad who sees the Chicago Cop go to jail or the Furgeson cop relieved of duty for fulfilling their duty and says to themselves “Yeah...that’s for me?” They need to have their head examined. If I knew twenty years ago, what I know now I’m not sure I would’ve taken that exam.
I recently received an email from a credit card company of whom I do business. I read the email twice and thought, 'would my credit card company really attempt to contact me using email? I don't think so.' Being the suspicious, skeptical person that I am, I called the credit card company using the phone number that is printed on the back of my card. And low and behold, my credit card company doesn't even have my email address on file. Imagine that? The service rep I spoke with said it happens so frequently now that the company doesn't even investigate these claims anymore. So, I thought I would research and share some helpful hints to protect us from becoming victims.
In my case, the email looked unbelievably accurate, with the company logo and even an email address that started with service and ended with the company name and dot com. The one thing that immediately drew my attention was the way some of the sentences were phrased. Everything was spelled correctly but reading the sentence aloud did not sound right (the reason for this I later learned was because the email probably originated out of the U.S. and English is their second language). In addition, the email asked me to click this specific, attached link to log into my account. That didn't sound right either. Thus, I wasn't fooled and neither should you. So, here are a couple helpful hints courtesy of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions:
Never respond to an unsolicited email that asks for detailed financial information: (In my case I did not click on the link, but if I had I'm sure it would've sent me to a site that asked for my log-in, password, account number, date of birth or other identifying information. I've heard of other incidents where clicking the link took you to a site and asks just your username and password. When you enter it the next screen read something like, "I'm sorry but our system is down, try again later". Then you go about your day not knowing that your username and password were recorded and your account is being cleaned out.
Report anything suspicious to the proper authorities: If after you believed you were scammed, or your account has been hacked, you should always report it to your local police department. As long as there is a monetary loss, or potential for loss, your police department is obligated to document the information and conduct an investigation. Most local departments are involved with state reporting agencies who track these types of cyber crimes. Even though most of these phishing scams are done across country boarders and county lines, financial institutions are much more ready to assist you AFTER you've reported it to a law enforcement agency. In addition, you can put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting all of the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.
Finally, contact the Federal Internet Crime Complaint Center: This agency is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center and can be reached at www.ic3.gov.
I hope these tips help keep you safe. Feel free to contact RobDisario.com for a free consultation or for more information about how you can protect yourself. Thank You!
Blog posts are written by Rob Disario and include opinion editorials about policing and private investigations. Other topics include tips and tricks to protect yourself, thoughts for today, new products and product reviews. Rob's opinions are his own which are protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and do not reflect any other entity, affiliation or person.