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Another sweepstakes scam (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention March 5th, 2009 @ 11:31 am by Linda 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently issued a press release warning people that scam artists are illegally using Publishers Clearing House name to steal your money. In Minnesota as well as other states, people are receiving notices of sweepstakes winning on phony Publishers Clearing House letterhead along with a bogus check for several thousand dollars.

All of these letters have a common theme. The envelopes contain no return address but have a Canadian postal stamp. The letter says that the recipient must keep winnings confidential, which should be the first indication that this is a scam. A check is enclosed to cover taxes, fees or other costs required to redeem prizes but the check is drawn on an account that doesn’t match the name of the sweepstakes. Of course, the letter says that you should immediately call an agent to redeem your winnings before you deposit the check as well as sending money via wire transfer after depositing the check. This should be another red flag warning that this is not legitimate.

In these tough economic times, many people may fall for this scam thinking that they are getting free money. However, it turns out that these criminals are the only ones making money and not you. Fraudulent lottery and sweepstakes scams account for at least $30 million in losses each year in Minnesota. Many of the scams target the elderly.

If you receive one of these letters, call the Minnesota AGED (Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division) at their toll-free number 866-347-0911 or you can submit the information at http://www.mnscams.org/; or forward suspect emails to report@mnscams.org . Or you can forward fraudulent mailings to Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, 444 Cedar St., Ste. 133, Saint Paul, MN 55101.

Teaming to help fight cyber crime (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention March 4th, 2009 @ 2:12 pm by Linda 

Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) for an Internet investigations and law enforcement personnel teamed with Microsoft Corporation recently for cyber crime training. The 100 people who attended also included members from the Minnesota Internet Crimes Task Force.

The goal of the training was to give law enforcement the tools needed to investigate and solve cyber crime. This one-day session was filled with important information. The training included understanding the Internet, how to use it to conduct an investigation and how to help create a safer Internet experience for consumers. The attendees learned about the ways criminals use the Internet as a tool to commit various crimes, as well as how investigators can initiate an investigation to identify the perpetrators. In depth discussions included the foundations of Internet investigations including IP addressing, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), e-mail header analysis, website investigation, basic encryption, anonymity techniques, Wi-Fi, Voice Over IP (VoIP), and basic search engine techniques.

With public-private partnerships, such as Microsoft, offers a great resource for catching cyber crimes and crimes committed with new technology. This type of teaming helps law enforcement agencies to solve crime and prevent crime while increasing the levels of public safety.

Good Samaritan turns into a low-life criminal (0)

Posted in Misc Crime March 3rd, 2009 @ 11:07 am by Linda 

During these snowy months of winter, it is always refreshing to hear about a Good Samaritan helping people. Recently one Samaritan turned out to be nothing but a low-life criminal.

In West St. Paul, Richard Regis, age eighteen, helped a stranded woman motorist dig out from a snow bank. When he was done, he jumped into the car and drove it away leaving her abandoned in the snow.

The police finally caught up with him, but Mr. Regis ran from the police. It was easy to follow his escape by tracking his footprints in the snow. When he was arrested, he said that he was just “playing around”. This one criminal who gives a bad name to being a Good Samaritan. If he needed a ride somewhere, the motorist would have probably given him a ride. However, to steal a car and leave someone abandoned in the cold and snow is unthinkable.

Regis is charged with theft and receiving stolen property, both felonies, and misdemeanor fleeing police. He remains behind bars in the Dakota County Jail.

Meth related drug treatment in Minnesota declines 7% from last year (0)

Posted in Illegal Drugs March 2nd, 2009 @ 10:44 am by Linda 

A recent drug trends report issued by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, reported that admissions to area treatment programs for addiction to methamphetamine declined in 2008 by at least 7%. Meth related treatment accounted for only 5.5% of total metro area treatment admissions in the first half of 2008 compared to 12% for the same time in 2005 where the admissions were the highest.

However, alcohol addiction treatment programs continued to treat more patients when compared to other drug treatment programs. In the first half of 2008, 52.1 percent of admissions reported alcohol as the primary substance problem. More metro area hospital emergency room reported incidents involving underage alcohol consumption than those involving any single illicit drug in the first half of 2008.

The report also showed results of drug testing among arrestees in Hennepin County. Of the 881 male arrestees tested in Hennepin County in 2007, 43.4 percent tested positive for marijuana, 28.5 percent tested positive for cocaine, 5.3 percent tested positive for opiates, and 5.1 percent tested positive for meth.

Community awareness, aggressive law enforcement, prevention efforts and treatments accounted for the downward trend of meth use in Minnesota.

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