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Safety Tips

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Identity theft and fraud

How to keep your children and teens safe

Safety tips for your home

Safety when walking or jogging

  • Don't jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late at night when the streets are quiet and deserted.
  • Vary the routes and times of day that go for your walk or run.
  • Don't wear or listen to an iPod or MP3 player when you go for a walk or run. If you do, keep the volume low enough that you can hear an approaching person or vehicle.
  • Don't wear a hood, scarf or hat that obstructs your peripheral vision.
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.  Appear alert in order to send the message that you're calm, confident and know where you're going.
  • Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots or alleys.

Basic street sense

  • Wherever you are on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving or waiting for a bus, stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  • If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant or lighted house. If you're scared, yell for help.
  • Have to work late? Make sure there are others in the building, and ask someone — a colleague or security guard — to walk you to your car or bus stop.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants or stores that are open late.
  • Do not walk around talking on your cell phone. This is a distraction.
  • Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like jewelry or expensive clothing.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Try to use automated teller machines in the daylight. Have your card in hand.
  • Don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movement.
  • Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.

On wheels

  • Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get where you're going and back.
  • Always roll up the windows and lock your car, even if you're coming right back.
  • Check inside and out before getting in.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas with little foot or auto traffic. Be especially alert in lots and underground parking garages.
  • If you think someone is following you, don't head home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help.
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike yourself. 

Telemarketing fraud

It can be hard to resist. A phone call from a charity seeking desperately needed funds for flood victims, endangered species or the homeless. A postcard claiming you've won an amazing sweepstakes prize if you'll just call and send an "administrative fee." Or an investment offer giving you an "exclusive" chance to earn potentially enormous profits.

  • If a caller asks for your credit card, bank account or Social Security number to verify a free vacation, a prize or a gift, say, "NO," and hang up.
  • If you're calling a 900 number in response to an advertisement or something you received in the mail, make sure you know all the charges up front.
  • Before you agree to support a charity that calls seeking money, ask for written information about its finances and programs.

Consumer beware

  • The following are possible signs of a fraudulent appeal for your hard-earned dollars:
  • High-pressure tactics aimed at forcing a quick decision.
  • Demands for "cash only" or special delivery/pick up of your payment.
  • Companies and charities with "copycat" names, e.g., Salvation League instead of Salvation Army.
  • Delayed delivery of a product or a prize.
  • No risk, high-yield investments.

Feel free to hang up the phone - it's your choice!

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Ann Arbor Justice Center
301 E. Huron St., 2nd floor
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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