Con Artists Bank on Credit Card Chip Confusion

Many banks are issuing new debit and credit cards with an embedded chip for additional security. The new chips are meant to reduce fraud, but the hype around the new cards is having an unintended side effect… fodder for scams.

How the Scam Works:

You receive an email saying that your new credit or debit card with the chip is on the way. But first you need to update your account. The message seems to be from your bank or credit card issuer. It may have the company’s logo and even the reply email address.

All you need to do, claims the message, is reply and confirm your personal and banking information. Or, in another version, the message instructs you to click on a link to continue the process.

Don’t do it! If you share personal information, the scammer can use it to commit identity theft. If you click on the link, you may download malware to your device. Scammers use malware to steal your personal information, send spam and commit fraud.

Tips to Spot a Phishing Scam:

• Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.

• Consider how the company normally contacts you. If a company usually contacts you by phone, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving emails or text messages without ever opting in to the new communications. Banks and credit card issuers have secure communications channels that require you to log into your account before you can read the message.

• Don’t believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Scammers can fake anything from a company logo to the “Sent” email address.

• Check the company’s website or call them. If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by checking with the bank or credit card issuer. The customer service phone number will be on the back of the card. If you want to look on the company’s website, look for the URL on your statement or do a web search. DON’T click on any links in the message you suspect is a scam.

• Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.

National Teen Driver Safety Week

NT01-41330-Teen-Ads-350x300  Bryan Ohio Police are joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to promote the “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road.

“Even though your teens might be gaining some independence and getting older, protecting them from harm shouldn’t stop now,” said Community Relations Officer Matt Arnold. “The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign will give parents the tools they need to keep their teen drivers safe.”

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. In 2013, 2,614 teen (15-19 year old) passenger vehicle drivers were involved in fatal crashes.

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. NHTSA’s website,, has detailed information and statistics about the five rules designed to help save the lives of teen drivers.

The “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:

  1. No Drinking and Driving – almost one out of five (19 percent) of the young drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally buy or possess alcohol.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – 64 percent of all the young (13- to 19-year-old) passengers of teen (15- to 19-year-old) drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013 weren’t restrained.
  3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. – The age group of 15 to 19 years old has the highest percentage of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use and involved in a fatal crash. In 2013, 318 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.
  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger.

Teen drivers need to follow these rules and any other restrictions outlined in Ohio’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) law. Parents need to outline rules and explain to their teens the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices. The “5 to Drive” campaign can help parents start that conversation.

“We are hoping that Teen Driver Safety Week and the ‘5 to Drive’ campaign will get the word out to all parents of teens,” Matt Arnold said. “Don’t stop protecting them now that they can drive. They need you now more than ever.”

Halloween Safety Tips

Walk Safely

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Trick or Treat With an Adult

  • Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.

Scam Alert — How Scammers are Fooling Users of New App

Fake Emails Pose as WhatsApp

Scammers are always taking advantage of what’s new and popular. This time it’s WhatsApp, a smart phone application that allows users to send text, video and audio messages via the Internet. Scammers are impersonating the app to spread malware.

How the Scam Works:

You receive an email that appears to be from WhatsApp. The subject line reads “Incoming Voice Message” and a time stamp. Open up the message, and you’ll see a “missed voicemail” alert and a button to play the message.

The email uses WhatApp’ colors and logo, so it looks legitimate. But don’t click to play! WhatsApp says it does not communicate with customers via email unless they are replying to a specific customer request. The email is really a trick to download malware to your device.

This is far from the only scam pretending to be WhatsApp. Also look out for messages enticing you to click on links or download attachments. These scams typically claim that your account is being suspended or you are eligible for a new service.

Tips to Protect Yourself From a App Scam

Scammers love to impersonate popular apps. Here’s how to spot a con:

  • Get antivirus software for your phone. Just as you use antivirus software for your computer, you should get similar software for your mobile devices.
  • Know how a service communicates with you. Most apps communicate with you through the app, offering updates, bug fixes, etv. If an app suddenly communicates using a different channel, that’s a red flag. Be wary of any change from the norm.
  • Search before you click. If something seems suspicious, do a quick search online. You can easily find out if the new deal or feature is for real.
  • Watch for the usual warning signs. Scammers might be impersonating the latest tech companies, but that doesn’t mean their scams are sophisticated. Look for poor grammar and reply email addresses that don’t match the business.
  • Verify — but not by using a source scammers give you. Check if an offer is real, but don’t call the phone number or website in the email you suspect may be a scam. If it is a con, chances are the person on the other line will be involved, too.

Information from  BBB Scam Stopper

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over

As summer winds down, Bryan Police Department and Law Enforcement across the country are  ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on drunk driving. The 20-day, high-visibility campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, is a partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to curb impaired driving and save lives. August 21-September 7 (Labor Day)

And what a toll it is. In 2013, there were 10,076 people killed in drunk–driving crashes, almost a third of all traffic fatalities. Thirty-eight percent of crash fatalities on Labor Day weekend that year involved drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 or higher), amounting to 161 lives lost. And we’re not just talking about a little bit of alcohol, either. More than a quarter (27%) of the crash fatalities that occurred on Labor Day weekend involved drivers with BACs of .15 or higher—almost twice the illegal per se limit.

The reality is, people aren’t invincible. Of the 10,076 people who were killed in impaired-driving crashes in 2013, 65 percent were the drunk drivers themselves. Those 6,515 drunk drivers planned on making it to their destinations, but they didn’t.

NHTSA data shows that repeat offenders are an especially dangerous facet of the drunk-driving problem. In the month of August from 2009-2013, of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, almost 1 out of 10 (8%) of them had already been convicted of at least one drunk-driving offense.

Officer Arnold emphasized the preventable nature of drunk driving: “All it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive.” NHTSA has made it even easier to get home safely when you’ve been drinking. The new SaferRide mobile app (free from the iTunes store and Google Play), can help users call a taxi or a friend for a ride home. The app can even help you identify your location so you can be picked up. So this August and year-round, remember that there’s no excuse for drunk driving. If you choose to break the law, Bryan Police Department will see you before you see them. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Drive Sober

Attorney General DeWine Warns Consumers of Tree Trimming Scams

More Than 50 Complaints Filed in Past 12 Months

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers to be aware of contractors who come to their doors unexpectedly and offer tree-trimming services.

In the past year, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received more than 50 tree-trimming complaints, most of which involved a door-to-door or word-of-mouth solicitation.

“If a tree trimmer comes to your door and wants to cut down your trees right away, be careful. It could be a scam,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Under Ohio law, most door-to-door sellers, including tree trimmers, must give you a three-day right to cancel and must wait until that period ends before starting the work. Don’t trust a tree trimmer who doesn’t honor your rights under the law.”

Consumer complaints often follow a typical pattern. A tree trimmer comes to the consumer’s door while passing through the neighborhood. He offers a competitive price for his services, takes payment in cash or check, and then cuts down a few trees in the consumer’s yard, leaving the stumps in the ground and the limbs strewn on the lawn.

Then the tree trimmer leaves, promising to return to complete the job once he secures additional equipment or once the weather improves. Despite these promises, the tree trimmer never returns to finish the work.

Often, consumer victims are elderly and some may have dementia. The tree trimmer may try to scare the consumer into thinking the trees are damaged, diseased, or dangerous and should be removed immediately. Although the tree trimmer typically represents himself as a professional and draws up a contract, the contract is often incomplete and fails to mention the consumer’s cancellation rights.

Under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act, consumers generally have three business days to cancel most contracts that result from a door-to-door sale. Sellers are required to notify consumers about this right and generally they cannot start any services until after the three-day cooling-off period ends.

Signs of a scam include a tree trimmer who:

  • Comes to the door unexpectedly.
  • Claims trees are damaged, diseased, or dangerous.
  • Uses a handwritten, incomplete contract.
  • Fails to notify consumers of their cancellation rights.
  • Requires a large down payment.
  • Accepts only cash or check.
  • Drives an unmarked vehicle.
  • Starts work immediately.
  • Performs incomplete or shoddy work.

Consumers can protect themselves by following these tips:

  • Research the business. Check for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and do a basic Internet search of the tree trimmer’s name and words like “complaints,” “reviews,” or “scam.” Also talk to your neighbors and other past customers to ask about their experiences with the business.
  • Get a second opinion. If a tree trimmer comes to your door and says your trees need work, contact another business to get a second opinion and estimate.
  • Be skeptical of very low prices. If a tree trimmer quotes a price that is dramatically lower than prices other businesses are offering, be wary. The tree trimmer may later demand more money or do shoddy work.
  • Don’t pay in advance. Be wary of tree trimmers who ask you to pay before the work has started. They may take your money without completing the job. Take time to think about the offer before signing a contract or making any payments.
  • Get a detailed written contract. Insist on a written contract detailing the costs, the work to be done, and the starting and end dates. If the contract resulted from a door-to-door sale, make sure it includes notice of your cancellation rights.
  • Consider paying with a credit card. Paying with a credit card generally gives you greater protections to dispute unauthorized charges. On the other hand, if you pay in cash, it will be very difficult to recover your money if something goes wrong.

Attorney General DeWine has taken civil and criminal action against tree trimmers and other contractors who take advantage of consumers. For example, in June, the Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit against a Springfield man accused of doing shoddy, incomplete work and failing to give consumers notice of their cancellation rights.

Consumers who suspect a scam should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.

School Bus Safety Information

Riding The Bus

Riding a school bus is a great way for your child to get to school. In the United States, 23 million students take the bus to and from school each day. Unfortunately, you may already know that the greatest risk involved is not riding the school bus, but getting on and off the bus. An average of 24 school-age children die in school transportation-related crashes each year (11 occupants and 13 pedestrians). Talk to your child about school bus safety and ways to stay safe around buses.

Safety starts at the bus stop.

Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Visit the bus stop with your child so you can show your child where to wait for the bus: at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. Remind your child that the bus stop is not a place to run or play.

School Bus

Get on and off safely.

When the school bus arrives, your child should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Your child should use the handrails to avoid falling.

Use caution around the bus.

Your child should never walk behind the school bus. If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, tell your child to walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street, to a place at least five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus before crossing. Your child should make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing, to make sure the driver can see your child. If your child ever drops something, like a ball or book, near the school bus, the safest thing is for your child to tell the bus driver right away. Your child should not try to pick the item up because the driver might not be able to see your child.

School Starts in Bryan Ohio on August 19