Chief Chris McKinstry

Internet and Email Scams

By Chief McKinstry  – Lady Lake PD

As the Chief of Police for the Town of Lady Lake I am often asked, “What can I do to stop folks from becoming a victim of a scam?”   I can tell you the most important thing we all can do is pass the following information along to our friends, family and co-workers so they are aware of these common scams and prevent them from becoming a potential target.

Phishing

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The most widespread internet and email scam today is the modern day “sting” con game. “Phishing” is where digital thieves lure you into divulging your password info through convincing emails and web pages. These phishing emails and web pages resemble legitimate credit authorities like Citibank, eBay, or PayPal. They frighten or entice you into visiting a phony web page and entering your ID and password. Continue reading

As the Chief of Police for the Town of Lady Lake I am often asked, “What can I do to stop folks from becoming a victim of a scam?”   I can tell you the most important thing we all can do is pass the following information along to our friends, family and co-workers so they are aware of these common scams and prevent them from becoming a potential target.

Phishing

The most widespread internet and email scam today is the modern day “sting” con game. “Phishing” is where digital thieves lure you into divulging your password info through convincing emails and web pages. These phishing emails and web pages resemble legitimate credit authorities like Citibank, eBay, or PayPal. They frighten or entice you into visiting a phony web page and entering your ID and password. Commonly, the guise is an urgent need to “confirm your identity”. They will even offer you a story of how your account has been attacked by hackers to lure you into entering your confidential information. Continue reading

As the holiday season approaches, many Lady Lake residents will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate. Whether you are traveling out of town or hosting festivities at home, the Lady Lake Police Department wants you to be safe. Here is a security checklist to help protect your home and family.

Before you leave town it is important to make sure your home appears occupied. Place timers on your lights and set them to turn on and off at different times. Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener. Most importantly, tell a trusted neighbor that you are going to be away and ask them to dial 911 immediately if they see anyone on your property.

Here are some additional home security tips to keep in mind: Continue reading

School’s Open – Drive Carefully

No matter where in Florida you may live, keeping our children and students safe is a community responsibility. There are many guidelines put in place to ensure that our students arrive to and from school safely every single day – designated crosswalks, Community Service Aides, seat belt laws, and so on. But one law that is absolutely crucial – and yet often gets ignored – is ALWAYS stopping behind a school bus.

The State of Florida has enacted laws that require every single driver to stop when a school bus has its “Stop” sign extended and its red lights flashing. But sometimes impatient drivers may think to themselves, “There are no children crossing the street, and I’ll drive very slowly so I can stop if I see one. I don’t have time to sit and wait for this bus!” Drivers like these should think again: the penalties for passing stopped school bus could literally stop you in your tracks for quite a long time. Continue reading

Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, e.g., name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), mother’s maiden name, etc., and uses that information for any unlawful purpose is guilty of a crime. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Every year about 15 million people become victims. Everyone is vulnerable. Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information. These include the following:

Dumpster diving:  They rummage through trash looking for bills and other paper with your personal information on it.

Skimming: They steal credit- or debit-card numbers with a special storage device when processing your card.

Phishing, spear phishing, smishing, vishing, and whaling:  They send realistic-looking e-mail that asks recipients to go to a bogus website and provide personal information, use text messages instead of e-mails, and send fake e-mails to high-ranking executives to trick them into clicking on a link that takes them to a website that downloads software that secretly records keystrokes and sends data to a remote computer over the Internet. Continue reading

As our thoughts turn to relaxation and family fun this summer, keep in mind that thieves and burglars don’t take vacations from criminal activity. Stay vigilant about protecting yourself, your home, your belongings and your identity. Don’t let crime or weather ruin your summer fun.

The best advice is to stay alert. Be aware of what’s going on in your neighborhood. Never hesitate to report suspicious activity to law enforcement. If you notice activity at your neighbors’ house when you know they are away on vacation, call 911 immediately. Your tip might be the one that helps the Lady Lake Police Department catch a burglar. If you notice someone lurking around cars in a parking lot, phone in that tip. Teaming up and keeping the lines of communication open between law enforcement and observant residents is the best defense against criminals. Continue reading

“Those who have not learned from history are doomed to repeat it.”  That is especially true with hurricanes.   Even though forecasting methods and tools are improving year after year, people are still at great risk if they are not prepared.

Experience has taught us that the best thing to do before a hurricane is prepare, so you can be confident during a storm that you’ve done everything you can to keep your family safe. As your Chief of Police, I want you to know that during a hurricane, you can depend on the resilience and resourcefulness of the men and women of the Lady Lake Police Department.

As a local law enforcement agency, we work year-round with our local, county, state and federal partners to improve our response, cooperation and communication during hurricanes. Just as we at the police department plan for unexpected weather emergencies, there is plenty you can do to make yourselves, your families and your homes ready for hurricane season. Don’t wait for a storm to threaten. Continue reading

Have you ever approached an intersection and heard a siren? Perhaps you have looked in your rearview mirror and saw flashing lights behind you. Chances are that you have passed an emergency worker or a law enforcement officer who pulled off the roadway with his or her lights flashing. You should be aware that in Florida the law requires that you move over, make way and slow down when approaching all emergency and law enforcement vehicles stopped on the roadway. The law, known as the Move Over Act, is designed to protect law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency workers from needless, accidental tragedy.

After 40 years in law enforcement and public safety, I have learned that driving, especially when responding to calls for service, is the most hazardous duty performed by law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency service professionals. Many fatalities and injuries to emergency service workers could have been avoided had the driver simply slowed down and moved over.

The Lady Lake Police Department strictly enforces the Move Over Law to help keep you and all public safety professionals safe. While on the roadway, please be alert, pay attention and remember the following: Continue reading

This month I would like to again discuss a very important community/law enforcement partnership, CRIMELINE.  CRIMELINE is a non-profit organization led by citizens against crime that offers cash rewards of up to $1000 to persons providing anonymous information that leads to the felony arrest of criminals and fugitives.  Anonymous CRIMELINE tips are received through a secure tips line or through a secure web connection manned by a professional program coordinator.  Each caller is assigned a code number for the purpose of ensuring anonymity. CRIMELINE is based on the principal that someone other than the criminal has information that can solve a crime and was created to combat the three major problems faced by law enforcement in generating that information:

  • Fear of REPRISAL
  • An attitude of APATHY
  • Reluctance to get INVOLVED

Continue reading

Remember – Light it UP!

Many people ask, how can I keep my house safe from potential burglars?   Here are a few tips about home security lighting to help prevent break-ins to your home:

Keep the outside of your home well lit!  Keeping the outside of your home well lit can help to deter any would be criminals by shedding light on all possible areas of entry into your home. This can be done with flood lights or well-placed landscape lighting.

Front porch/entry lighting: Keeping your front porch light on while you are away can give the facade of being home even if you are on a week-long vacation. This can be achieved by purchasing a timer that will turn the lights on and off at certain times of the day that can be set differently for each day to give the illusion that you are home. Continue reading

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