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Watch your wallet, home, car, children

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

So just as the police and sheriff are telling me  there is a surge in economic crimes in the county, our office gets hit  with a credit card scam.

Advertisers are calling and coming into the office  after being contacted by someone - with from a blocked phone number -  saying they are from the "Chiefland Bulletin" and they need credit  card information to update their records.

A call to the Levy County Sheriff's Office confirms  

that one customer has already called them to make a report. Chiefland  

Police Chief Robert Douglas sends Officer Nick Viaggio over to take a  

report as the staff quickly calls each customer to warn them about the  

scam and to remind them to never give that kind of information to a  

caller.

                  Our Web site gets a "breaking news" warning, readers  

get an email, and Twitter followers of News4Levy get a "tweet". Our  

sister publications and employees off for the day also get calls  

alerting them. We are urging anyone contacted to report it to  

authorities.

                  This is nothing new. Times are hard and it brings  

out the worst in some people who think your hard-earned cash should  

belong to them.

    Several weeks ago I dealt with a parent whose child had been taken

in  

by a check scam that got the young adult arrested. The family had to  

cover the worthless check that he cashed at a bank after he received  

it by overnight mail for an e-bay transaction. The charges were dropped  

against the young man, but still, his family is out thousands of  

dollars.

                  A couple of years ago I did battle with a delivery  

service about charges for items I did not ship. It changed the  

relationship forever when they said even though I did not use their  

service I had to pay because my account was used. And since I was  

denying I shipped the stuff they would close my account. Good riddance.

My credit card company went to bat for me when they got the paperwork  

with other people's signatures and my credit card number. The credit  

card company was nice enough to delete the charges and tell the  

shipping company they got it wrong and would not be paid.

                  It's always something nowadays. Someone steals  

information from the web. A former co-worker steals information off  

your laptop. A neighbor steals checking account info off the mail in  

your road box.

                  It makes you long for a cash-only economy. But  

then, that leaves you open to being accosted by an armed robber  

wanting your bankroll.

                  In addition to our office being hit, the sheriff's  

department is reporting a zooming increase in property crims,  

especially burglaries in the past six months. Actually it has been the  

past year that property crimes have been going up.

                  All this comes as the sheriff's budget is being cut  

and the Chiefland Commission tries to hold the line on its police  

budget.

                  We need to be more responsible. No longer can we  

leave our doors unlocked. Don't leave anything of value in your vehicle.

                  What it means is we all need to look out for  

ourselves and others. Get to know your neighbors, even if you don't  

like them.

                  They may be the folks who, when crime hits, will provide

vital information to officers that will help solve the  

case.