TRIAD Of Rockland County

Reducing Crimes Against Seniors

To contact us:  Email us at  or call us at (845) 638-5582

Triad & You

Rockland County Senior Fraud & Safety Day Forum November 17, 2017

For A Slide Show Of The Event, Click Here


TRIAD is a program of philosophy which focuses on reducing criminal victimization of older Americans, and the enhancement of the delivery of law enforcement services to these individuals. It is a symbol of unity between local police, the Sheriff, and the American Association of Retired Persons ( A.A.R.P.)   The main purpose is to reduce senior victimization, enhance a sense of security among seniors through education, training and involvement and improve the overall quality of life for seniors. The Rockland County TRIAD and all police agencies in Rockland County recognize the safety concerns of our senior citizens  is a priority consideration.  They are most vulnerable to the criminal element and require a special effort and plan for their protection.  Therefore, by identifying these needs we will be able to develop methods of crime prevention techniques that will benefit the senior community and enable them to live in a secure environment.  By developing programs to combat crime,  we will be able to reduce both criminal victimization and unwarranted fear of crime affecting older people.  The main area of focus is on programs that will teach prevention techniques geared toward the elderly in cooperation with the law enforcement community.  TRIAD is a not for profit organization and its intent is to educate and enhance crime prevention services for the elderly.




Crime and the fear of crime create special problems for the elderly. Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility, not just a job for law enforcement. Seniors can learn how to protect themselves from crime by following these simple, commonsense suggestions. Share these tips with your neighbors and friends, to make it tough for criminals to work in your neighborhood.

AT HOME . . .

  • Never open your door automatically. Install and use a peephole.
  • Lock your doors and windows. (Three quarters of the burglaries involving older persons involved unlocked doors and windows; and, less than one half of these robberies are reported.) Keep your garage doors locked.
  • Vary your daily routine.
  • Use "Neighbor Watch" to keep an eye on your neighborhood. A concerned neighbor is often the best protection against crime because suspicious persons and activities are noticed and reported to police promptly.
  • Don't leave notes on the door when going out.
  • Leave lights on when going out at night; use a timer to turn lights on and off when you are away for an extended period.
  • Notify neighbors and the police when going away on a trip. Cancel deliveries such as newspapers and arrange for someone - a neighbor's child, perhaps - to mow the lawn if need be. Arrange for your mail to be held by the Post Office, or ask a neighbor to collect it for you.
  • Be wary of unsolicited offers to make repairs to your home. Deal only with reputable businesses.
  • Keep an inventory with serial numbers and photographs of resaleable appliances, antiques and furniture. Leave copies in a safe place.
  • Don't hesitate to report crime or suspicious activities.
  • Install deadbolt locks on all your doors.
  • Keep your home well lit at night, inside and out; keep curtains closed.
  • Ask for proper identification from delivery persons or strangers. Don't be afraid of asking . . . if they are legitimate they won't mind.
  • If a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to place the call for him or her yourself.
  • Never let a stranger into your home Do not leave notes on your door when you are gone, and do not hide your keys under the mat or in other conspicuous places.
  • Never give out information over the phone indicating you are alone or that you won't be home at a certain time.
  • When you are gone for more than a day, make sure your home looks and sounds occupied . . . use an automatic timer to turn on lights, radio or TV.
  • If you arrive at home and suspect a stranger may be inside, DON'T GO IN. Leave quietly and call 911 to report the crime.




The elderly are abused at alarming rates in their own homes; relatives’ homes and facilities responsible for their care. 
Elder abuse is often generally defined as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.

As an elder becomes more physically frail, they may be less capable of resisting abusive actions. Seniors are being abused or harmed in many cases by people who are directly responsible for their care.  Unfortunately, there is a tendency for many of these cases to go unreported to the proper authorities.

Where the abuses tend to occur.  Elder abuse tends to take place where the senior lives: most often in the home where abusers are apt to be adult children; other family members such as grandchildren; or spouses/partners of elders. Institutional settings, especially long-term care facilities, can also be sources of elder abuse.

Different types of elder abuse.  The incidents or patterns of abuse may come in a variety of forms.  The most common areas are:

· Physical abuse:  the physical force that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. It includes assault, and inappropriate restraint.  This may also include inappropriate use of drugs and confinement.
· Sexual abuse:  Any non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an older person.
· Domestic abuse: An escalating pattern of violence by a domestic partner where the violence is used to exercise power and control.
· Psychological or Emotional abuse: the willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct.  Verbal abuse may take the form of yelling or threats; humiliation and ridicule; or habitual blaming of the elder.  Non-verbal may occur when ignoring the elderly person; isolating an elder from friends or activities; or terrorizing or menacing the elderly person.
· Unscrupulous Caregivers:  Might misuse an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, or accounts; steal cash, income checks, or household goods; forge the elder’s signature. or engage in identity theft.

A few scams that target the elderly:

· Announcements of a “prize” that the elderly person has won, but must pay money to claim.
· Phony charities.
· Investment fraud.
· Door-to-door bogus solicitations by transients.
What should you look for if you suspect elder abuse?

If you're concerned that an older adult might be abused, knowing the signs and symptoms of abuse can help you determine if a problem exists. These signs and symptoms may include:

· Physical injury. Examples of questionable injuries that can't be explained. These might include bruises, cuts, burn or rope marks, and broken bones or sprains. Other signs of potential problems include sudden changes in behavior, comments about being battered, or the refusal of the caregiver to allow you to visit the older person alone.

· Lack of physical care. Indications of substandard physical care include dehydration, malnourishment, weight loss and poor hygiene. Bed sores, soiled bedding, unattended to medical needs and comments about being mistreated also may indicate a problem. Lack of physical care can happen to older adults living in their homes, as well as in institutional care settings, such as a nursing home or other care facility.

· Unusual behaviors. Changes in an older person's behavior or emotional state may suggest a problem. Examples include agitation, withdrawal, fear or anxiety, apathy, or reports of being treated improperly.

· Unaccounted financial changes. Financial problems may include missing money or valuables, unexplained financial transactions, unpaid bills despite available funds, and sudden transfer of assets, as well as comments about being exploited. Another sign may be other adults who are controlling the finances but don't allow relatives to see their records.

What should you do about elder abuse?

Talking with the suspected abuser about the problem isn't likely to help. Though you might be afraid to get involved or be unsure of whom to contact, it's important for you to speak up about suspected elder abuse. There are agencies that can help. A problem can't be remedied until it's reported.  If you see something – say something!

Elder abuse at home: Actions to take
Call the police if you suspect an older adult is in imminent danger. If you're not aware of immediate danger, but you suspect an older adult is being abused, check with welfare and social service agencies. Most cities and counties, according to state law, will investigate and protect vulnerable adults from elder abuse.

The Adult Protective Services agency is typically responsible for investigating reports of domestic elder abuse and providing families with help and guidance. Other professionals who may be able to help include doctors, nurses, police officers, lawyers and social workers.

If you are uncertain about an incident of suspected elder abuse, please feel free to call us at Rockland County TRIAD – (845) 638-5582, or, email us at   Your information will be held as confidential.


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The most common threat to your home is burglary.  Statistically, about 70% of the burglars use some amount force to enter a dwelling, but their preference is to gain easy access through an open door or window. Ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, channel-lock pliers, small pry bars, and small hammers are most frequently used by burglars in a forced entry. 

A burglar may bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than he or she possesses. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Experienced burglars know that the garage door is usually the weakest point of entry followed by the back door.


Doors & Locks

Doors and locks are your first line of home security. Exterior doors should be metal or solid-core or 1 ¾ “ hardwood. Hollow doors should only be used for interior applications. Make sure each door fits snug in its frame with no more than 1/8” clearance. When locked, the door should shut tightly with no play.  If there is a gap between the door and the stop, the door is much easier to force open. The easiest way to force entry through a door with a wooden jamb is to simply kick it open.

You have security with a lock only when you can account for every key.  If you’ve lost keys or are buying an existing home, pay for a qualified and reputable locksmith to change the keyways.  Consider a quality deadbolt lock.  It should have a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used to shear off lock cylinder pins.  Key-in-the knob locksets offer very little security.   A higher quality door knob-in-lock set should have a “dead latch” mechanism to prevent slipping the lock with a shim or credit card.  Double-cylinder deadbolts are those that have no inside thumb-turn, but require a key to open from both the exterior and interior. While much more secure, they can pose a threat to personal safety in the event of fire. Most law enforcement officials agree that this threat can be minimized by forming the habit of inserting yours key(s) in the main entry lockset whenever anyone is home.  The safest locksets are called panic-proof deadbolts; they give you the security provided by a deadbolt but, open from the inside with a single action (usually a turn of the knob), thus preventing any entrapment inside your home in the event of an emergency. On the down side, panic-proof deadbolts are somewhat vulnerable to manipulation from outside if adjacent to a glass panel.

Door viewers are available that give a very wide field of view.  The wider the field, the better the security.  Use a wide-angle 160° peephole viewer mounted no higher than 58 inches.


Sliding-Glass Patio Doors

Sliding glass doors are generally secured by latches not locks. They are vulnerable to being forced open from the outside because of these cheap latch mechanisms. This can be easily be prevented by inserting a wooden dowel orM-1200 Prime Door stick into the track thus preventing or limiting movement of the door while in the closed position. Other blocking devices available are metal fold-down blocking devices called "charley bars" and various track-blockers that can be screwed down.  Also, you can install a pin-lock (drill a hole completely through the sliding panel so that a solid metal pin can be inserted and secure the sliding to the fixed panel).


Garage Doors

Remember to always keep your garage door closed and locked. This will prevent thefts from your garage. Once a burglar is inside the garage, he can work on your house or property undetected.

Garage door openers are vulnerable to defeat by using electronic devices.  If your garaged door is equipped with an electronic opener, is it a current technology system with multi-channel (owner-selectable) or rolling coding?  Can it conveniently be turned off for vacations?  If not, it can always be unplugged.



Most burglars are generally reluctant to break glass as the sound carries a greater distance and might be heard by a neighbor. Windows are left unlocked and open by homeowners at a much higher rate than doors.  Windows have latches, not locks, and therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside.  Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and through-the-frame pins or screws work well for vertical sliding windows.  The least expensive and easiest method is to install screws halfway into the upper track of the movable glass panel to prevent it from being lifted out in the closed position.  Double-hung sash windows can be secured with a pin-lock similar to those described above for sliding doors; a hole is drilled completely through the inside sash so that a pin can be inserted which projects into the outside sash, thus securing both in place.



Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night. A darkened home, night-after-night, sends the message to burglars that you are away on a trip. Light timers are inexpensive and can be found everywhere. They should be used on a daily basis, not just when you’re away.  You should use more than one timer, setting each to go on and off at different times during the evening hours.  The same light timers can be used to turn on radios or television sets to further enhance the illusion of occupancy.

Exterior lighting is also very important.  Good lighting is definitely a deterrent to criminals, because they don't want to be seen or identified.  It’s important to have the perimeter of your home well lighted, especially at the entryway.  Use at least a 60 watt bulb.  Your exterior lighting should also be on a timer or photocell, to turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn. The practice of leaving the garage or porch lights turned on all day is a dead giveaway that you are out of town.  Very inexpensive motion sensor light fixtures, or motion sensor devices can also be installed in almost any existing exterior fixture that will turn on the light automatically when anyone approaches the door.


Alarm Systems

Alarm systems, although somewhat costly, are a good investment and are definitely a vital part of your home security game plan.  First, weigh the advantages against the cost factor. Alarm systems can significantly enhance your security if installed and properly maintained.  Such systems may deter burglaries because they increase the potential for the burglar being caught.  The preferred system is that which will dial a monitoring company if there is a breached entry into your home.  If you don’t feel you can stand the expense of a monitored alarm system, consider one that sounds a loud audible alarm outside your house.  Unfortunately, an improperly maintained audible alarm system could trigger false alerts and become an annoyance to your neighbors.  An additional deterrent value comes from the alarm company lawn sign and from the alarm decals on your windows.  Many alarms systems can also monitor for fire as well as burglary.  If you’re considering having an alarm system installed in your home, always use a licensed vendor to install, repair, or service an alarm system.


Your Home’s Exterior

Take the time to walk around the outside of your home and look at it from a burglar’s point of view.  Where would you find the easiest place to force entry?  Are their places or large bushes where a burglar could hide if a car approached?  Are there entry points that can’t be seen from the street or from your neighbor’s window?  Keep your shrubs trimmed below windows to reduce cover for a thief. A burglar would rather enter through a window that is hidden from view than one where he or she is exposed.


Identify Your Property

Engrave some sort of  personal coding, not your social security number, on televisions, stereos, computers, and small electronic appliances. This enables you to identify your property if your stolen items are recovered.  We recommend that you photograph your valuables in their locations around your home and make a list of the make, model, and serial numbers. This is very important for proof when filing insurance claims. You should keep this list in a safety deposit box or with a relative for safekeeping. Keep receipts of the larger items in case you need to prove the value of the items for insurance purposes.


Common Sense Tips

·         Keep all your doors locked, even if you’re home.

·         Never leave your house key hidden outside under a doormat, in a flowerpot, or on the top ledge of a door.

·         If you’re going to be away for an extended period, make your house appear "lived in".  Use your timers for lights and radios. Stop mail and other deliveries when you leave for vacation or have a neighbor pick your mail, packages and newspapers.  Arrange to have your lawn mowed.

·         Notify your local police department when you will be leaving and when you will return. Leave your trip plans and an emergency phone number with a relative, trusted neighbor, or friend.

·         Make sure you know who is at the door before you open it. Do not rely on chain locks. Insist on identification from repair and sales persons. If in doubt, call their company to verify their identity – before you let them in.

·         Do not admit persons asking to use your telephone. Offer to make the call for them.

·         If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, do not enter.  Go to a neighbor and call the police for assistance.  The responding officers will check your house first and then will come to your location and advise you of their findings. If in fact your house was burglarized, the officers will conduct an investigation and will need your assistance in providing a list of the stolen items. They may also request you to submit to a set of fingerprints for elimination purposes if any fingerprints are located within the residence.

·         If a burglar confronts you in your home, remember that in general, most burglars may not resort to violence unless cornered. Once the burglar has fled, notify the police department immediately by calling 911, and advise the dispatcher of this information and the direction the burglar fled, if available.

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Through TRIAD’s continuing interaction with the various police agencies in Rockland, we have learned there are emerging patterns of contents thefts from the vehicles of Rockland residents.  Although this has not reached epidemic proportions, we sometimes facilitate these incidents by not exercising good judgment.  With that in mind, here are 10 easy steps a resident can take that may help to reduce your chances of being a victim.

1.    Lock Your Car Doors
While this piece of advice should be a no-brainer, up to a quarter of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars, according to some law enforcement agencies. Even if you're running into the store for a quick purchase, that's too long to leave your vehicle's contents open for the taking. Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be waiting around for an easy target.  Lock the doors, even if your car is parked in your own driveway at home.  Battery operated garage door openers left in an unlocked vehicle provides a thief with easy access into your home for a future burglary.

2.    Keep it Tidy
Almost any worthless personal item that's visible from the outside--even an empty shopping bag--could be seen as a valuable or a carrier of valuables. If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area on display, consider getting a cover. Most of these vehicles can be fitted with inexpensive retractable covers to help keep shopping bags or other belongings out of sight.

3.    Conceal valuable items. Don't leave any bait out for thieves; stow your electronics and accessories well out of sight--or better yet, bring it with you. The evidence alone might be enough to pique the interest of thieves, so hide that too, including power plugs, telltale iPod adapters, or navigation system windshield suction-cup mounts, and even put the cigarette lighter back in place.  If you use a portable navigation GPS that attaches to your windshield with a suction cup, after you have removed the GPS, periodically wipe clean the area on your windshield where the suction cup was attached and remove the visible rings of residue left by the suction cup.

4.    Stash Before (Not After) You Park
Get in the habit of putting shopping bags in the trunk right when you return to the vehicle, rather than after you park at the next place. Thieves sometimes linger in busy parking lots looking for valuables being moved out of sight. Don't display to them what you have.

5.    Completely Close Windows and Sunroofs
No, it's not just because thieves might reach in through the gap and open your locks with a coat hanger. Open windows may sometimes disable the pressure sensor in some car alarms, leaving the vehicle more vulnerable to break-in and potentially giving thieves more time before the alarm sounds.

6.    Get an Alarm
If you don't have an alarm system, get one. The noise alone may be enough to scare away an inexperienced thief and prevent the break-in. Factory-option alarm systems are generally best, but a carefully installed, properly calibrated aftermarket system can provide just as much safety. Beware - many less-expensive new cars have remote entry but not a true alarm. In some instances you may be eligible for an auto insurance policy discount from the installation of your alarm as well.

7.    Stick With Your Original Audio System
Thefts of car audio components are on the decline, but having an aftermarket system still makes a car more attractive to thieves thinking of breaking in. There's no black market to speak of for factory stereos, and they've become much better sounding in recent years. Beyond that, an original audio system can often fall under your auto insurance policy during a theft claim, where a custom unit may be more difficult to file in a claim (if at all).

8.    Park for Visibility
Park in a busy, well-lit area, and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Except for the most brazen thieves, the greater the chances are that someone might see a crime in progress, the lower the chances are that the potential thief will attempt it.

9.    Get physical
A significant portion of vehicles are broken into with the intent of stealing the vehicle itself, so combining several visible simple, inexpensive physical theft deterrents like steering wheel locks (The Club), steering column collars, or brake pedal locks may discourage the would-be thief from breaking in and trying.

10. Layer your Defenses
Layers include warning devices such as alarms, wheel or window glass etching, or decals; immobilizers; and even tracking systems (LoJack is one). None of them are foolproof, but if they're used in tandem they can really keep the chances down.

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When TRIAD visits the various senior clubs in the county, invariably the topic of email scams is brought up and by a show of hands, usually a few club members report they have received emails that constitute phishing, advance fee scams or Nigerian 419 scams.  Although we advise the seniors to file an incident report with their local PD, in most cases, we don't know if that's ever accomplished.

IC3 (The Internet Crime Complaint Center) is a joint operation between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).. The IC3 receives, develops, and refers criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism utilized to alert authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local, and international level, the IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet-related crimes.  Complaints may also be filed by 3rd parties.

This IC3 website opens up a mechanism for seniors to strike back against those who engage in financial crimes against the elderly.  In addition to filing a report with your local police department when you receive one of these bogus offerings, you may now also file an online report with IC3

No matter how tempting and legitimate these scam emails appear to be, DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY!. 

To view and complete the online IC3 Reporting Form, please visit the "LINKS" pull down menu on the opening page of our TRIAD website and click on IC3.  If you elect to file a complaint with IC3, we strongly suggest you print your completed complaint form and retain a copy for future reference.

If you have any questions, please call TRIAD at (845) 638-5582 and leave us a message.  We will return your call as soon as possible.

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Lock Bumping

“Lock Bumping” – have you ever heard of the term? Chances are that the deadbolt lock on your door is not as safe as you may think.

Almost every commercial location and every consumer can potentially be the victim of a burglary by a technique of opening locks known as “bumping”. If a thief has a key that fits the keyway of the target lock, then bumping may provide the fastest method of entry and requires virtually no skill. Often, locks can be opened in less than five seconds by lock bumping. Virtually all older conventional five or six pin door locks are at risk and there is a high probability of opening your door within a few seconds. Lock bumping can open the vast majority of American homes that use an old style cylinder lock. Your home's door lock can even be bumped by a 10 year old child. Anyone can make bump keys in 5 minutes or less.

The tool used in lock bumping is a so-called “bump key” - a special key that is created by filing down a regular key which would normally be used for a person’s entry door lock. Bump keys can also be purchased on the Internet.

The bumping method of illegal entry is non-destructive. When a bump key is used to break into a house there may be no signs of forced entry or damage to the lock, which can make a home insurance burglary claim a somewhat difficult procedure.

High security locks are protected from the bumping method when they have bump resistant cylinders. Standard residential cylinders can now be made bump resistant with new Anti-Bump technology.

The Lock Bumping Technique Itself

The whole deal behind being able to bump a lock successfully is by applying the force properly. After inserting the key in the lock, the key must be pulled back from the lock by one notch, giving you the space which allows you to create the momentum necessary by giving it a firm, but controlled strike into a full and deeply inserted position. One has to apply a rotational pressure on the pins to trap the key pins below the shear line, but not that much pressure that would hold the pins in place. The key hits the rim of the lock, comes to a sudden stop, which transfers the force through the notches down through the driver pins, and then to the key pins. Bingo….the lock is now open.

If you have any concerns about the security of door locks at your residence, you may wish to confer with a certified locksmith.

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Take these tips and be a partner for a safe community.

Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility, not just a job for the police. And crime can be reduced by simple measures like remembering to lock a door, knowing about common con games, and watching out for your neighborhood.

Although surveys consistently show that persons over 65 are victims of crime far less frequently than young people, many senior citizens are so worried about crime that they shut themselves up in their homes and rarely go out. But isolating ourselves behind locked doors, not getting together with our neighbors, actually makes it easier for criminals to work in the neighborhood.

Seniors are more vulnerable to certain crimes - purse snatching, mugging, and fraud. But you can reduce opportunities for criminals to strike by being careful, alert, and a good neighbor.


*If you must carry a purse, hold it close to your body. Don't dangle it.

*Never carry a wallet in your back pocket. Put it in an inside jacket pocket or front pocket.

*Make sure someone knows where you're going and when you expect to return.

*Avoid dark, deserted routes, even if they're the shortest.

*Carry change for emergency telephone and transportation use.

*Whenever possible, travel with friends to stores, the bank, or the doctor. Check with your police or sheriff, or senior citizen center about escort services.

*When using the bus or other public transportation, sit near the driver if possible.

*Don't overburden yourself with packages and groceries that obstruct your view and make it hard to react.

*Have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.

*Carry a shriek alarm. In some areas, community groups offer free alarms to seniors.

*When you drive, keep doors locked and windows up. Park in well-lighted, busy areas. If you have car trouble, be wary of strangers who offer help. Stay in your car and ask them to call a service truck or the police.

*If a friend or a taxi takes you home, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.

*Communicate the message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.


*Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Keep your doors locked at all times, even when you're inside.

*Protect windows and sliding glass doors with good locks or other security devices.

*Make your home appear occupied when you go out by using a timer to turn on lights and a radio.

*Never let strangers in your home without checking their identification. Call their company if you're not sure. Install a peephole in your door and use it.

*If you live alone, don't advertise it. Use only your first initial in phone books, directories, and apartment lobbies.

*Get to know your neighbors and keep their phone numbers handy for emergencies.

*Work out a "buddy" system with a friend to check on each other daily.

*Engrave your valuables with a unique identification number recommended by the police. Local youth groups may provide this service free to seniors. Keep bonds, stock certificates, seldom worn jewelry, and stamp and coin collections in a safe deposit box.

*Don't hide extra house keys under a doormat or other obvious spots.


*If you receive checks in the mail regularly, arrange for them to be sent directly to the bank instead.

*Avoid carrying large sums of money. If you must take a large sum, have a friend accompany you.

*Don't display large amounts of cash in stores or other public places.


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