Crime & Safety
Current Crime Trends
The content of this section will be periodically updated to inform and update the citizens of Oregon about crime trends that are occurring in our neighborhoods. With this information citizens may be able to be more alert, take necessary precautions, and possibly provide the Oregon Police Division with helpful information. Citizens of Oregon are encouraged to check our website often for updates.
Scam Alert/Senior Citizens
Several senior citizens in the city are receiving phone calls from person claiming to be garndchildren or great grandchildren in trouble and in need of money. The bad guys have gone as far as arranging cab transportation to pick them up, take them to the bank, and wire money to a specific location. many times this money is being picked up at different location outside of the country. Please discuss these types of issues with your elderly relatives.
Scam Alert/Counterfeit Money Orders
Oregon Police Division has received several calls regarding counterfeit money orders they have received in the mail. In most cases, the receivers of these money orders are victims that have legitimately posted items for sale on “Craig’s List” or “EBay.” Victims will usually be contacted by the “scammers” through email and sent a money order that is made out for more money than the seller was asking. The “scammers” will then re-contact the seller by email explaining that they or their business partner/secretary made a mistake by sending out this much money. They then request the seller to cash the money order, keep a little extra for their trouble, and wire the overpayment back to the “scammers.”
These money orders are of very good quality and banks have been known to take them. It’s only after several days that the banks discover these to be counterfeit and will hold the depositor responsible. If the depositor then wired their own money back to the “scammers,” they will be out of the cash. In most cases police departments have been unable to recover loses for victims. The locations usedas addresses arebogus as well as the email addresses used to contact sellers. The problem is almost always tracked overseas.
Be on the lookout for counterfeit bills especially if you having a yard/garage sale. Since the weather has warmed and garage sales have started in the City of Oregon, we are getting several reports of bogus twenty-dollar bills being passed. Please check the links provided below to help you identify counterfeit money. Never try to take the law into your hands, but if you can provide the police with an accurate description of the persons and/or their vehicles involved, it greatly increases our chances of catching those responsible.
Many area businesses have continued to receive counterfeit bills. Generally, the counterfeit bills have been in the denomination of twenty-dollar bills. Many times the bills that were passed had the same serial numbers. Take precautions. If the money feels different look more carefully. You should be able to see a watermark on the bills as well as a visible security strip. If you suspect that you received a counterfeit bill, try to take note of the suspect’s description and/or the type of vehicle they used. Report this activity as soon as possible.
The City of Oregon, as well as other neighboring communities have also experienced a number of vehicle break-in’s at local business establishments. This is a crime of opportunity where the intruders can easy spot valuables left inside your vehicle. If you must leave items in your car, try to hide them outside the site of others or put them in your trunk.
In many instances, responding Officer’s are finding that several victim’s of this type of crime have left valuables such as purses, laptop computers and jewelry in plain site. It only takes an intruder seconds to gain entry to your vehicle and leave the area.
Identity theft is a criminal offense that occurs when a person knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.*
*Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, 18 USC 1028 [a]
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. Last year more than $49 billion was lost by financial institutions and businesses and individuals lost an estimated $5 billion. An estimated 8.4 million Americans were victims of Identity theft.
Common Types of Identity Theft
- Phishing: Pretending to be legitimate financial institutions or companies and sending email spam, spoof websites or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
- Dumpster Diving: Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
- Old-Fashioned Stealing: Stealing wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. Stealing personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.
- Phoney Prize Promotions and Foreign Lottery Schemes: Letters, phone calls or emails stating you have won the lottery or a prize in another country; Foreign lotteries are illegal in the United States; Be wary of anything that promises winnings in exchange for your advance payment, donation or investment.
- 419 Nigerian Scams: An email or letter stating they are looking for someone, for their deceased client, who will transfer funds into their account for a cut of the total; you will be asked to put up money in advance to pay for “taxes”, “attorney costs” and “fees”; in reality, you will never receive any money.
- Auction Fraud: The most common type of auction fraud is failure to deliver the purchased item.
- International Auction Fraud: Legitimate auctions or legitimate seller’s identities are taken over by scammers to sell items, usually high dollar, to unsuspecting buyers where the item is never delivered; Most often the scammers are in European countries; They ask for money to be transferred via Western Union, bank transfer or money order which are untraceable.
- Counterfeit Check and Money Order Scams: The scammer purchases something you are selling using a cashier’s check or money order. By the time you have sent the product, you have realized the check is counterfeit. In other scenarios, the buyer will send you too much money and ask you to send back the balance, along with the merchandise. You are responsible for the full refund amount to the bank.
Tips to Protect Youself from Identity Theft
- Guard your information: Trash doesn’t always end up in the dump. Stolen wallets and purses can become stolen identities. Purchase a shredder.
- Don’t respond to email or phone calls asking for your account information: Phishing emails. Spoof websites. Unsolicited Phone calls from customer service centers requesting sensitive personal information.
- Stay Alert: Get free security help using a credit alert. Monitor your accounts frequently. Shop on only secure online sites. Act quickly if you think you have been scammed or your identity used. Law entitles you to one free report a year from each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies if you ask for it. Online: http://www.annualcreditreport.com/; by phone: 1-877-322-8228; or by mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
If You Think You’re a Victim of Identity Theft
- Contact the local police.
- Follow the victim contact procedure document at the bottom of this page.
- Call the fraud units of the three major credit bureaus and have a fraud alert placed on your credit file.
- Order copies of your credit report.
- Contact your financial institution and ask them to flag your account and report any unusual activity.
- Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 (general) or 1-800-525-6285 (fraud); PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374; http://www.equifax.com/
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742 (general and fraud); PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013; http://www.experian.com/
- TransUnion: 1-800-888-4213 (general) or 1-800-680-7289 (fraud); PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19002; http://www.transunion.com/
You are your best defense against victimization. Most crimes are committed as a result of opportunity. Your awareness of your surroundings and preparedness can be the difference between being, or not being, a victim. Many options are available to the individual when confronted and each individual must rely on their own judgment regarding how they will deal with that situation. For example, you might:
- Whistle/scream/make loud noise
- Physically resist or fight with the attacker
- Call 911 should time allow and you have a phone
Being prepared for the worst is the best defense. Your safety is the utmosrt importance and your actions/preparedness can be the difference. To that end we would like to offer you some personal tips that might assist you in brining you safely through a potentially dangerous situation.
In Your Car
- Especially in unfamiliar areas, whether or not you are alone, you should drive with the windows shut and the doors locked.
- Do not leave valuables (purses, laptops, etc.) out in plain view even when driving your vehicle. Doing this may be seen as an opportunity. Remember that certain SUV’s and trucks may sit higher allowing it’s occupants to see clearly what is lying on your seats.
- Park in well lit, highly traveled areas.
- Always lock your car when you walk away from it.
- When approaching your car, have your keys firmly in the palm of your hand. Make a fist with the hand holding the keys, with a key tip protruding between two fingers.
- Always look inside the car before you unlock it and get in.
- If you believe you are being followed drive directly to the police department or get the attention of a patrol officer you might observe in the area. DO NOT drive home or pull over to the side of the road.
- Have your doors locked at all times
- Do not allow access to anyone you do not know
- If someone asks to use your phone, request the name and phone number they want to call and offer to make the call for them
- Never tell an unknown caller that you are home alone
- Do not converse with “prank callers” or “wrong number callers”. If the calls persist, press *57 on your phone immediately after hanging up and notify police so a report can be taken and followed up. *57 generates a trace to the source of the nuisance calls. A police report is needed to get that information released to the police. A fee is associated with this service through your service provider
- Never give personal information such as full name, date of birth, social security numbers, etc to unknown callers
- Plan and use the safest and most direct route
- Travel in a group when possible
- If walking to a friend’s or acquaintance, call them when you are leaving and let them know when to expect you
- Stay alert to what is around you and look confident
- Carry your keys in your hand as if you were walking to your car
- If walking at night, be aware of businesses that are open late along your path of travel
- Do not walk in unlit areas
- Keep money in a secure place on your person
- If at any time you feel uneasy, go to a place where you know people will be
- Do not open or close by yourself
- Be sure of who is on the other side of the door before you leave
- Check the area for unknown people or vehicles before leaving after closing
- If you wish a police escort to a bank deposit location at any time, contact the Oregon Police Dispatcher at 419-698-7064. Tell the dispatcher your name, business location, and the bank you wish to be escorted to. An available officer will be dispatched to follow you to the bank.
Always mentally and physically prepare to defend yourself. Always have a plan. Remember there is no right or wrong way to react to a hostile encounter. No two situations are exactly the same. The best response depends on the threat, location, the presence of weapons and your physical capabilities. Remember that your safety is paramount. If surrendering personal items will insure your well being remember, any item can be replaced. If the method you are using to deal with the situation is not working, be prepared to try something else.
Self defense tools are advertised and readily available. In the right hands they can be an excellent deterrent. Carrying these items without knowledge of how they affect a person, (i.e. personal experience) may be more of an aide to a would-be attacker than to a person attempting to use it. Always remember that whatever incapacitating effect these tools may have on another; they will have on you as well. Do not carry anything that you have not been trained to use, and that you are not prepared to use.
Brandon H. Begin
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