This has been a sad week throughout the nation. The unnecessary and brutal death of George Floyd has sparked a response nationwide. I liken it to what happens in August when everything is dry and someone carelessly throws a match into the tinder dry grass. This was certainly a perfect storm - people had been sequestered in their homes for an extended period of time, the fear of COVID-19 had many people paranoid, and thousands (many of them of color) lost their jobs and now a sensational killing of a man in Minneapolis at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them. I think the peaceful demonstrations that have been very spontaneous, including the one today in Billings, may incite a feeling throughout the country that we must do something about racism. It will take some time, but we shouldn't get complacent like we did after the sixties, after Rodney King, etc. If it doesn't directly effect us, we forget about it. Hopefully we won't this time.
New on the COVID-19 front. We've said that the two ways you will get your Economic Impact Payment was by Check or Direct Deposit. Well, now IRS is sending out 4 million Visa Debit Cards as well. And because people have been warned that anything other than the above two ways are scams. People are shredding these cards when they get them. Uh. Oh. So it's important for people who deal with seniors to know that this is a third option AND that the debit cards are coming in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services". The letter accompanying it tells how to activate the card and people have to be careful to call the correct phone number. People are warned to not search the internet for the card, because scammers are putting up similar false web sites. Obviously, don't share your pin number debit card number (and your social security number) to anyone who calls or texts you. If you discarded or destroyed the card call 800-240-8100 (TTY: 800-241-9100) for a replacement card.
There is also a new organized crime ring sweeping the country. It was started by a gang member and drug dealer in Florida. These people hire folks to break into cars and steal purses. This could be likened to a physical pfishing scam. They then take the information and use it all the ways cons use stolen information. If they have credit cards and checks they use those until they can't any more - often doing cash back schemes in banks with information they have from other victims. This is nationwide - they know of two crews that are doing it in Florida and Texas, but it has been pulled in Washington State as well as one of my Executive Council members from Montana AARP indicated that it had happened in Bozeman. So once again it's important to make it plain that cars are not secure enough for valuables that can be lifted and used. I just finished reading a book entitled "Stealing your Life" by Frank Abignale. It's all about Identity theft and he goes into great detail to show just how far ranging identity theft is.
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I am truly hopeful that you will stay safe and well during this troubled time.
Alex E. Ward, CPP
MCPA in conjunction with the Yellowstone County DUI Task Force and Q2 produced these DUI PSA's. They paint a sad picture of DUI in Montana and have been viewed on television as well as on you tube. This is one way we can educate folks as to things they need to know about crime.