The other day I received an email from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Unit. It said that there are unsolicited emails circulating through the Internet informing you to help claim some huge amount of money or telling you that you have Won Lotteries. It goes on to say that, these letters are fake letters.
Now if you were someone who agreed to help because the percentage agreed to be given to you, guess what â€“ youâ€™re a Victim. As I mentioned in a previous web blog in early May of this year, this email â€œmoneyâ€ scam is coming from Africa and some from Europe. That was the first clue that it was a scam.
So the email goes on to say that the â€œAnti-Money-Laundering and Cyber Crime Unit of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has ordered the Nigeria Government and Economic and Financial Crime Commission to compensate anybody that their emails address has been found with any of the Fraud Stars, with $1 Million Dollars only.â€ (Note: This is how the email was written.)
Was this email another scam? Yes it was. The email once again asked for your name, age, contact number, date of birth, country/state and sex.
Another clue that this â€œofficialâ€ email I received was bogus was the wording in the body of the email – it was not written very well. So I checked it out at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Unit web site. Sure enough, the email I received was also a SCAM. The email looked official to me, but it wasnâ€™t.
If you receive this type of email, delete and block sender. DO NOT RESPOND to it at all. Just another way scammers are trying to get your money.
Part 1 of Sex Offenders and Laws in Minnesota talked about the years of active legislation in Minnesota that enabled law enforcement agencies to get a handle on sex offenders through state and federal registry programs. However, once the sex offender is released from jail, the public needed to know if these sex offenders would re-offend again. As a result, the Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF) conducted a study on 3,166 sex offenders who were released from jail between 1990 and 2002.
First, the study examined the factors that influenced sex offender recidivism. MCF tracked this group of sex offenders for over an eight-year period. The study analyzed whether intense supervision as well as length of supervision of sex offenders influenced recidivism. The study also tracked the effects of treatment on recidivism as well as the likelihood of re-offending.
The results of the eight-year study showed these results:
â€¢ Prior sex crimes, stranger victims, male child victims (i.e. deviant sexual interests), and treatment failures significantly increased an offenderâ€™s risk of recidivating with a sex crime.
â€¢ Post-release supervision had a significant impact on the extent to which sex offendersâ€™ recidivated. Over the last 15 years sexual recidivism rates dropped from 15% to 3% because of intense supervisions for longer periods of time following release from prison.
â€¢ The intensity of post-release supervision decreased the extent to which sex offendersâ€™ recidivated with sex offenses.
The study goes on to say that when sex offenders are placed on ISR (Intense Supervised Release), they are continuously supervised by a team of three to five supervision agents, whose caseloads are capped at 15 per state law. During all four phases of ISR, offenders are required to maintain steady employment, comply with random alcohol/drug testing and are subjected to unannounced face-to-face contacts with their supervision agents at both their residence and place of work.
Sex offenders must remain on ISR until they successfully complete all four phases of the program, or until they reach the expiration of their sentence. Due to the longer, more intensive periods of post-release supervision, the study found that sex offenders were getting revoked more often and returned to prison for longer periods of time.
Even though the Minnesota Correctional Facilityâ€™s study shows progress is being made in reducing sex offendersâ€™ recidivism rate, you are the first line of defense to keep your children safe. Be aware of who is living next door to you or near your childâ€™s school or playground. You can also check the Minnesota Registry that lists Level 3 sex offenders published by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. You can play a big part in helping to prevent crime.
Through the years, Minnesota has passed laws enforcing sex offenses against children. In 1991, the first registration program was implemented in Minnesota. Since then the sex offender registry has expanded to become a national resource for law enforcement.
Citizens now can access information on high-risk offenders in their area because of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. You can view the Minnesota registry of Level 3 sex offenders published by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
However, prior to the first Minnesotaâ€™s Sex Offender Registration Act in 1991, law enforcement was stymied in their investigation. This act was passed because of the abduction of Jacob Wetterling prior to 1991. He was an 11-year-old boy who was abducted in St. Joseph, Minnesota. A search for him was launched but he was never found. Prior to this act law enforcement didnâ€™t have a comprehensive list of sex offenders or their locations.
In 1994, the Missing Child Response Act was passed requiring the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to assist any law enforcement agency. This act made pre-trial bail evaluations necessary for suspects detained for violent crimes and set up an integrated electronic communication network for crime prevention information between state agencies, law enforcement and the private sector.
In the late 1990â€™s, Minnesota passed several laws. Meganâ€™s Law required the release of relevant offender information and a Community Notification System. The Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act was passed adding more requirements to the 1991 Wetterling Act. This act allowed the FBI to compile a national database of names and addresses of sex offenders released from prison. It also required lifetime registration for re-offenders and for those convicted of various aggravated offenses. In 1997, the Jacob Wetterling Improvements Act was passed which required heightened registration requirements for several groups and developed laws prohibiting the stalking of juveniles.
In 2000, the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act was passed and added more requirements to the Wetterling Act. This act requires offenders who are attending an educational institution to register with the agency that has jurisdiction over that institution.
In 2006, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was passed protecting children from exploitation and violent crime. The act included child abuse prevention measures and increased penalties for creating of or distribution of child pornography and the promotion of Internet safety for children.
Keeping track of sex offenders is an important part of fighting crime. With the laws passed by the Minnesota state legislature this is a very good first step. In Part 2 of this series, weâ€™ll look at a Minnesota state report on released sex offenders and what factors they used to reduce sex offender recidivism.
Another bad guy is off the streets in Minnesota.
A St. Louis Park man who was a suspect in at least one bank robbery recently was apprehended. He was running away from the police but after shots were fired, he surrendered. Once apprehended, the D.A indicted him on five armed bank robberies.
Suresh Harlan Small, age 26, was no stranger to bank robberies. In the past, he was charged with just one count of bank robbery from a holdup at a TCF Bank in St. Anthony. He was convicted of robbing this bank. He was out on bail when a federal grand jury issued an indictment on May 6th adding charges related to two more robberies at the same St. Anthony bank and two more at a St. Louis Park TCF Bank.
According to the indictment, Small allegedly used force, violence and intimidation to rob the St. Anthony TCF Bank Nov. 2, 2007, Jan. 11 and March 28 and the St. Louis Park TCF Bank at 8020 Hwy. 7 Feb. 1 and March 13 of this year.
If convicted, Small faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison for each bank robbery count. According to my calculations, this gives him 125 years in prison. And, oh yes, he is in custody awaiting his court appearance. This time Mr. Small wonâ€™t be getting out to commit more bank robberies.
Today is the start of the statewide and nationwide â€œClick It or Ticketâ€ seat belt enforcement sweep. Recently in Minnesota, there have been many deadly crashes over the last month. Twenty-two vehicle occupant traffic deaths were reported. Fifteen of the motorists who were killed were not wearing seat belts.
Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer driving season and one of the deadliest periods on Minnesota roads. Last year in May 2007, the State Patrol and other agencies wrote 8,500 seat belt citations. The cost of the citation is only $25 but can go as high as $115 with administrative fees.
Regardless of the fines, think of the deadly consequences if you donâ€™t buckle up your seat belt. Last month seven people who were not wearing seat belts were ejected out of their car and died.
Colonel Mark Dunaski, Chief of the State Patrol recently said, â€œWe would rather meet you on the shoulder of the road now so we donâ€™t have to meet you at a violent crash scene later.â€ Powerful statement, isn’t it?
So donâ€™t be a statistic – you know, it only takes a second to buckle up.
The Coons Rapid Crime Prevention has put out a warning and is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of two robbery and assault suspects in the area. These brutal attacks and robberies have occurred in the city over the past two months.
Police are looking for two men in their early twenties who attack their victims from behind and assault and rob them. All of the attacks are similar but are escalating in their attacks. Since March 5th, five people â€“ one woman and four men â€“ have been ambushed, assaulted and robbed. All of the attacks occurred within a half-mile of the intersection of Coons Rapid Blvd. and Hanson Blvd.
The police are asking people not to walk or bike alone after dark in the area and to travel in groups. But most important, be alert!
Donâ€™t let these criminals intimidate your neighborhood. If you have information call the Coon Rapids Police at 763-767-6481 or the Anoka County Sheriff at 763-427-1212.
Throughout the years, meth production in Minnesota has been steadily declining. Thatâ€™s the good news. The bad news is meth labs are dangerous not only to people in the home but also the home itself.
In 2003, meth production was at an all time high of 500 reported incidents and in 2005, only 128 reports. This was the direct result of Minnesota legislation against meth production. Last year in 2007, only 73 meth labs were reported to the Department of Health.
But what effect does meth production leave on the homes where they are â€œcookedâ€? According to the Minnesota Department of Health, meth manufacturing or “cooking” leaves behind 5 to 7 pounds of chemical waste for each pound of meth that is made. Meth byproducts are considered hazardous waste. As a result, clean up of meth homes is subject not only to local ordinances but also to Minnesota hazardous waste rules.
The meth â€œcookingâ€ process creates potentially harmful chemical residues that can remain on household surfaces for months or years after “cooking” is over. People exposed to lab chemicals before, during and after the production process have had adverse health effects. This is the same type of effect on the home where the meth is produced. Dangerous toxins from the meth production in a home require assessment and remediation by experienced and qualified personnel; otherwise, the house is not livable and should not be resold. Also, it is important to properly clean up a former meth home because a vacant home invites property crime.
This past weekend, Cinco de Mayo celebrations were held across the country. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th of each year to celebrate the victory of 4,000 brave Mexicans who fought off the French army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City. This celebration should be filled with fun, family and plenty of delicious food. However, many Cinco de Mayo celebrations end in gang violence.
Take for example, the most recent gang violence at St. Paulâ€™s west side last weekend. According to the Pioneer Press, three teens, two 17-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy were charged in Ramsey County juvenile court for a drive by shooting and crime to benefit a gang. On Saturday, these teens shot another 14 year old in the back and another 17 year old in the leg.
During a Cinco de Mayo celebration that day, confrontation among rival gangs occurred but the police were able to break it up. Within and hour or two later, the gangs were back at it in a nearby quiet residential neighborhood at Mount Hope Avenue and Baker Street around 6:40 p.m. This is when the two young teens were shot.
West St. Paul police were called and stopped a car shortly after the shootings and arrested the juveniles as well as an adult. The adult was released pending further investigation. Minnesota now has the Metro Gang Strike Force involved in the investigation.
Iâ€™m sure all of you have received emails that our ISPs (Internet Service Providers) mark as â€œSCAMâ€. Thanks for the warning but the email wasnâ€™t blocked or deleted before it got to my inbox. Even if you try to find an email address to â€œunsubscribeâ€ you wonâ€™t find one. Believe me, Iâ€™ve looked and Iâ€™ve tried.
So where do the email scammers get your email address?
Answer: Email marketing companies.
Scammers and phishers go to several email-marketing resources. For example, when you buy something via the Internet, the Internet business has your email address. Many of these businesses make claims that they wonâ€™t share your email address or sell it. Many of them lie. Selling email addresses is a big business. These â€œmarketingâ€ companies gather email addresses and then sell the list to anyone. These companies donâ€™t get your permission to sell your email address and donâ€™t check out the buyers to make sure they are emailing legitimate sales pitches.
Some illegitimate marketing companies even pay people to sit and surf the web for email addresses. Easy places to go are Web sites that have a â€œcontact usâ€ button on the site or any Web site that has email addresses. They simply copy the email address, put it into a spreadsheet and sell all of these emails to their customers.
Another method they us is trying different combinations of your email address. Iâ€™ve received scam emails to my email address that was very close to my correct email address. For example, if my email address was email@example.com I would receive emails addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, I think you get the idea. These permutations were sold as â€œlegitimateâ€ email addresses.
Now these scammers or phishers arenâ€™t the brightest bulb in the pack. They arenâ€™t technical people so they count on email marketing companies to sell them â€œgoodâ€ emails. By â€œgoodâ€ I mean emails that get to you and me and donâ€™t bounce back as undeliverable. Some â€œgoodâ€ email marketing lists sell for as little as $10 for 1,000 names or as high as $100 for 1,000,000 names. The return on investment for these scammers is high even if they pay $100. There is a 1% chance that these emails will be responded to and that they have hooked an unsuspecting victim. Thatâ€™s what phishers do; they phish the Internet to hook a â€œsuckerâ€.
What can you do about these irritating and annoying emails? If you are receiving these types of emails at your work email address, notify your IT department. If you are receiving these emails at your home email address, mark the message as â€œSPAMâ€ and delete it. Remember, never, never respond to a scam email. You wonâ€™t get rich. You will have your identity stolen and the only one who will be making money is the scammer/phisher.
Lately, Iâ€™ve been getting a lot of email scams from the UK advising me that Iâ€™ve got a bank draft waiting for me. Maybe itâ€™s because these criminals know that this is the time of year we get back tax money and this year an economic stimulus check from the government. Either way, my â€œfreeâ€ money waiting so patiently for me is not what it seems.
Here is an excerpt from the scam email I received:
I have been waiting for you since to come down here in London and pick your Bank Draft cheque of Â£3.5 m GBP for your compensation that was transferred from BENIN REPUBLIC, by your agent, but I did not hear from you before now why?â€
(Why? Because this is a scam and do you think Iâ€™m an idiot?)
â€œIt will interest you to know that your cheque/Draft was deposited from MANAGER MRS. MARYAM UDOH, FINANCIAL BANK Of BENIN REPUBLIC and they deposited it to the BARCLAYS BANK PLC LONDON, now you should contact us before the cheque will be cancelled by the issued Bank.â€
(Benin Republic doesnâ€™t really exist, it was located in the western coastal area of Nigeria. It only lasted one day because the Nigerian forces captured the province and took it over.)
â€œWe wish to remind you that the Financial Bank of Benin had warned that failing to transfer the funds to you now will result to the cancellation of the Cheque so do contact BARCLAYS BANK LONDON on e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
(If there is no such Republic of Benin, I really donâ€™t think there is a bank as well. As for the email address in London, this is a scam, as well. Donâ€™t even waste your time clicking on the link.)
This is the part that gets really good. All I have to do is send them my name, age, address, bank account number and picture and voila â€“ Iâ€™m a millionaire! First clue that this is a scam is that they want my bank account number â€“never, ever give out your bank account number on the Internet. Now why do they want a picture of me? To put in their newspaper to advertise that Iâ€™m a millionaire? To verify who I am.
NO, this is how they steal my identity. If I comply with this email scam, they will have everything they need to open an account in my name in other banks to get loans, credit, credit cards and rack up thousands and thousands of dollars worth of bills that I am responsible for. Scary thought, isnâ€™t it?
But, according to my calculations, these emails that Iâ€™ve received so far are telling me that I have over $500 million dollars waiting for me. I DONâ€™T THINK SO!
Donâ€™t let this type of email scam from these free-loading scammers/phishers entice you into their bogus get rich quick schemes. Tomorrow, Iâ€™ll answer the question that is on everyoneâ€™s mind -
How do they get my email?