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Westonites Urged to Change Passwords Periodically

WESTON, Conn. – Around the holiday season, online purchases become increasingly popular in Weston. But with the convenience of shopping from the comforts of home comes the possibility of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.

Weston Police Detective Carl Filsinger is warning all residents to take steps to ensure your private financial information, such as credit cards, remain safe. “Changing your password on a regular basis is always a good idea. You really want to secure anything that could be compromised by criminal activity,” he said.

When not on duty, Filsinger runs an online neighborhood alert group on Yahoo!Groups called Weston-eWatch . The email issued group is designed to alert residents of recent criminal activities in town. According to his group, the eWatch “will act as a cyber neighborhood watch, providing citizens with information to help reduce crime in their neighborhoods and to increase interaction between residents and the Police Department.”

One of the most recent eWatch bulletins sent out by Filsinger reports that several Weston residents have been the victims of financial crimes. The bulletin states that Nov. 8, “An Alwyn Lane resident reported that fraudulent credit accounts were opened using the resident’s personal information. The accounts were closed, and the victim was instructed to place a fraud alert on their credit report.” The eWatch bulletin also states that Nov. 10, “A White Birch Road resident reported a second incident of identity theft. The first incident took place in August. Attempts were made to open accounts using personal information. A fraud alert has been on the resident's credit report since the first incident. This time a spouse's name and personal information was used.” According to police, a David Hill Road resident reported Nov. 14 a fraudulent PayPal account was opened using personal information. Filsinger advised all members of the eWatch to “carefully check your accounts and statements and report any unusual activity. Periodically check your credit report as well.”

On Wednesday, Filsinger said another easy way criminals can steal personal information is through old computers. “If any residents are throwing away their computers, we advise them to destroy the hard drives,” he said.

Besides Internet safety, Filsinger said residents should be leery of anyone trying to sell a service either door-to-door or over the phone. At this time of year, con artists prey on individuals who need of lawn maintenance or snow removal. In many cases, criminals claim to do a service for a lower fee than what is offered locally and either take the money up front and never return or take partial payment and do half of the job.

“I don’t know how many times I need to say it, but, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he said.

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