Archive for July, 2010

Ask a Cop? Photo Ticket Enforcement


—–Original Message—–
From: Sue
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2010 8:58 AM
Subject: Photo-ticket enforcement

In the process of moving from VA to MD I needed to drive through DC. While doing so, I’ve racked up several tickets from a photo-enforcement speeding camera (two tickets, both at the same camera set-up). Both tickets are on my VA plates and I’ve seen the photos of the infraction online. The way I know about these tickets is that I’ve received a failure notice and the fine has now doubled. I don’t know if it got lost in the mail or my mail-forwarding is slow. Anyway, I got on the DC site to investigate the ticket and learn I had the second one (no notification was sent to me). The delinquent notice, curiously, was directly addressed to me at my new address in MD). So the second ticket is now in danger of becoming delinquent, too. This is unfair.

Anyway, two days ago I gave up my VA license and car registration and now have MD plates and license. Will these tickets follow me to MD? DC will report them to VA, but will they report them to MD?

First off, I’d get all the documentation of your move together (locations, dates, etc) and contact the court. If you can prove that you were in the middle of a move and that you and the notices must have crossed paths while traveling, they might be sympathetic enough to waive the penalties. Being that you never received the original notice and yet the delinquent notice went to your new address shows that you notified the Post Office of your move and requested that they forward your mail. If you get a copy of the request of address change (or made a copy for yourself) that could help to show that you made an effort to get mail to your new address.  

In this economy, courts may not be as inclined to waive fees as much as they might have in the past but fair is fair. If you can prove that you were moving and never got the notices, I’d hope that they at least waive the penalties. It’s not like you just blew off the tickets.

As for one State notifying another of tickets, your VA license will show as surrendered to VA and when you apply for a license to MD, they will more than likely look up your license history there. Any violations you are convicted of will show up as violations against your VA license but will not show as violations against your new MD license. If you do nothing you will automatically be found guilty and a small warrant could be issued for your arrest from VA. Not that they’d extradite you for a small traffic violation but it could be on your record forever.

Best thing to do is to call the court, ask for a supervisor, explain your situation, and hope for a sympathetic ear. Some courts allow a judge to decide a trial by sending in a letter explaining your side of the story if you are unable to appear, such as being out of state. Call the courts and see what you can do. Let us know what happens.      

Some additional notes:

This could be different in your specific city, county or state. Some states like Arizona have banned Photo Enforcement or have very specific guidelines that pertain to how tickets need to be issued.

It is best to really look into your specific local laws to make sure our suggestions pertain to your specific area.

4 tips to protect you from ATM thieves

4 tips to protect you from ATM thieves

By Constance Gustke •


· "The technology of the bad guy is getting better and better every year."

· Hidden cameras are disguised so they can pick up your password.

· You must report fraud within 60 days to limit your liability.

ATMs are under siege more than ever from skimming. Skimming, where ATM thieves steal your PIN and account number using remote devices, is increasing dramatically. Often done by sophisticated crime rings from the Eastern bloc countries, ATM skimming is becoming a high-tech art that’s hard to detect.

That’s bad news for consumers. Experts say that losses from skimming are approaching $1 billion. Nearly one in five fraud victims reported having their credit card PIN or debit card ATM PIN information stolen in 2009, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. And Robert Vamosi, an analyst handling risk, fraud and security at Javelin, sees ATM skimming continuing to rise this year and next.

"Consumers aren’t aware of ATM tampering," he says. "ATMs have 40 years of trust."

Skimming isn’t new. It’s been around for at least 10 years. What has changed is that the "technology of the bad guy is getting better and better every year," says Robert Siciliano, a security expert based in Boston. "It’s up to consumers to watch their own backs."

Typically, ATM thieves use two devices to capture your PIN and card data. One device sits near where you swipe your card and reads the magnetic stripe on your card with your account number. Even more confusing, the device mimics the card slot. "The technology has evolved to a point where the molded plastic fits like it belongs there," says Siciliano. Devices are even readily available over the Internet for as little as $300.

A camera, hidden from view, captures the PIN. "You can get the data in real time," says Siciliano. "You can be in your car with a laptop remotely accessing the device."

Thieves then burn the data onto a blank card to access your money.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien wants consumers to be warned. "The public is notified after an event," he says. And don’t take bank security for granted. Fraud can occur at any bank in any part of the country. Thieves are even sending out false text alerts to get consumer data.

Banks, they say, are slow to adopt anti-skimming measures. When Javelin surveyed 25 banks, four stood out, though, for their anti-theft measures. They are Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo.


Experts add that debit card users are most at risk. Typically, consumers must report fraudulent charges within two days, limiting your liability to $50. If you report ATM skimming fraud within 60 days, you’re liable for the first $500 of any transaction. Siciliano adds that thieves carefully orchestrate ATM withdrawals, maxing out cash withdrawals one day and waiting until after midnight for the next stash, which quickly adds up.

Here are four tips to help you protect your account.

1. Cover your password with your hand

Hidden cameras are disguised so they can pick up your password. By protecting it, ATM thieves can’t access your account.

2. Use familiar ATMs and limit your visits

ATMs in dimly lighted spots or used late at night could be more susceptible to fraud, while ATMs under video surveillance can be safer. Stay away from ATMs at retail stores or restaurants, adds Siciliano. Recently, skimming devices were found on ATMs in a popular grocery store in central Florida. Airports, convenience stores or kiosks are equally vulnerable to ATM thieves. Still, even highly trafficked ATMs outside a bank branch have been targeted by thieves.

Also, try to limit your visits to the ATM. "With frequency, there’s risk," says Siciliano.

3. Check bank balances frequently

Given the two-day window for reporting fraud, it pays to check your account frequently. If you don’t report fraud within 60 days, you have unlimited liability. "Sign up for alerts and notice unusual withdrawals," says Vamosi.

With credit cards there are more protections in place, and you can dispute charges."You have at least a billing cycle," says Siciliano.

4. Observe the ATM

Vamosi cautions consumers to look at an ATM to make sure a card slot is "legitimate and not tacked on." Look for things that strike you, he says. "Some people have felt that when they inserted their card, something went awry," he says. In that case, try another ATM.

When protecting your account against ATM thieves, "it’s all about awareness, paying attention and understanding risks," says Sicilano. "There are 400,000 ATMs and every one of them is susceptible to fraud. The speed and convenience of technology has replaced the security of technology."

FBI Says New Cell Phone Scam Targets Your Bank Account


By Comcast Finance

Tue, 22 Jun 2010 18:15:24 GMT

Editor’s Note: This post by Jorgen Wouters originally appeared on June 21 on

The FBI is warning consumers to be on the alert for scammers who tie up their phone lines while emptying their bank accounts.

These "telephone denial-of-service" attacks are similar to ones that have been used by hackers for years to crash websites by flooding them with Internet traffic. But high-tech criminals are now using automated dialing programs and multiple accounts to overwhelm the phone lines of unsuspecting consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses.

The denial-of-service calls, which can include dead air, advertisements or phone sex menus, are actually diversionary tactics designed to tie up a victim’s phone lines. And while the lines are busy, the fraudsters — impersonating the victims — raid their bank accounts, online trading and other money management accounts.

The FBI first learned about this scheme through one of its private industry partners, which told the agency of a Florida dentist who lost $400,000 from his retirement account after a denial-of-service attack on his phones. So how does this "dialing for dollars" scam work?

Weeks or even months before the phone calls start, the FBI warns, a criminal uses social engineering tactics or malware to extract personal information such as passwords and account numbers from intended victims. These victims may have set themselves up by replying to phishing e-mails, inadvertently giving out sensitive information during a bogus phone call, or placing too personal information on social networking sites, which are constantly trolled by cyber criminals. Once the scam artists have enough information, they tie up the victim’s various phone lines and either contact a financial institution pretending to be the victim or siphon off funds from their online bank accounts.

Financial institutions typically call to verify such transactions, but can’t get through due to the denial-of-service attack. If the transactions aren’t approved, the criminals will contact the financial institution, pose as the victim and confirm the transactions. They can also add their own phone number to victims’ accounts, and simply wait for the bank to call and request approval. By the time the victim or financial institution realizes what has happened, it’s too late.

The FBI reports a surge in telephone denial-of-service attacks since April of this year, with reports of numerous incidents in several Eastern states.The FBI has teamed up with the Communication Fraud Control Association — a collection comprised of security professionals from communication providers — to educate the public, analyze patterns and trends of telephone denial-of-service attacks, and identify the con artists and bring them to justice.

The FBI urges consumers and small- and medium-sized business to take the following steps to avoid being a victim of this new scam:

• Never give out personal information to an unsolicited phone caller or via e-mail.
• Change online banking and automated telephone system passwords frequently.
• Check your account balances often.
• Protect your computers with the latest virus protection and security software.

If you think you may have been targeted by a telephone denial-of-service attack, contact your financial institution and your telephone provider, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Ask a Cop?: $700 Warrant – When will he get out?

—–Original Message—–
From: Melinda
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 6:20 PM
Subject: Warrants

My boyfriend was arrested on a $700 warrant (Tickets). He didn’t receive a court notice & therefore didn’t go to court. How long will he probably have to be in jail if he’s not bailed out?

We answered this on show #19:

But to sum up the answer we would say he would not be in jail for more than 72 hours if arrested on a Friday.

It would be for his next court date available till he is cite released but this can change from city to city.

Him not receiving the court notice is in question as we have seen this claimed many times only to find out the person gave a false address at the time of the citation, thus the mail would not get to them…

We would hope he is already out of jail and hopefully he will work out the issues with his address and make his court appearances as the consequences for getting a failure to appear can really ruin his day.