The Maize Police Department has seen a noticeable increase in theft cases in Maize since the beginning of the year. With warmer weather upon us, residents are asked to increase vigilance in observing activity in your neighborhood and keeping property secure. Maize Police Officers do their best to be visible, but it is impossible for them to be in all places all the time. This is why we need the participation of observant residents of Maize to report any suspicious activity you observe immediately to 9-1-1. Be sure to provide the best description possible of suspects and suspect vehicles when calling. With actively engaged citizens, we can keep crime rates low and send a message to would be criminals to take their “business” elsewhere.
The Wichita Police Department has noticed an increase in weekday daytime burglaries in the northwest part of Wichita. In most of these cases the front door of the residence has been forced open. Similar burglaries have recently been reported in the northwest part of Sedgwick County around Maize. It is only a matter of time before these criminals find their way into our city. If you see ANY suspicious activity in your neighborhood please call 9-1-1 immediately. Be sure to let the police department and trusted neighbors know if you are going to be out of town so extra watch is available for your home. Also, with the warm weather, more residences are prone to keep their garage doors open. This is an open invitation to a thief looking for a quick opportunity to steal your property. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GARAGE DOOR CLOSED.
The Wichita area has seen a dramatic increase in trailer thefts including here in Maize. Within the past week two utility trailers have been stolen from the Maize city limits. One of these occurred during the evening hours and has been recovered, however the second has not yet been located. Thefts include everything from small one axle garden trailers, large enclosed trailers to large 2 axle flatbed trailers. The VIN plates on theses trailers are being removed so any owner applied personal identification marks in multiple areas are recommended. Tongue locks and wheel cables have been an effective deterrent in some cases but they have also been cut.
KEEP YOUR VALUABLES HIDDEN AND LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS! Purses and other valuables left in view inside cars are an open invitation to thieves. This recently occurred in the parking lot of the Pizza Hut on Maize Road. The vehicle’s window was smashed and the purse along with the victim's credit cards, checkbook, cash and identification were stolen.
Recent cases of mail theft have also been reported in the Mystic Lakes area and residences along 124th Street West. Thieves are stealing credit cards, checks and other personal information from the mail which typically then leads to unauthorized credit card purchases and identity theft.
SCAMS / INDENTITY THEFT
Everything from sweepstake prize winning phone calls to residents receiving checks in the mail to automated phone calls telling residents their credit cards have been de-activated have been reported. They are all scams and unfortunately too many people fall victim to them each year. In most cases these crimes are near impossible to solve and any loss incurred by the victim is not recoverable. Never deposit or cash any unsolicited check you receive in the mail until you have verified it is legitimate by calling the actual account holder shown on the check. If in doubt, contact an officer for help. If ever instructed to purchase a MoneyPak card or wire transfer funds DO NOT DO THIS. IT IS A SCAM. Our elderly are most often times the victims of these scams. If you have elderly parents, please check with them and educate them about these crimes. Never provide your credit card number or social security number to anyone over the phone unless YOU initiated the phone call and know for sure who your are speaking with.
SCAMS ENCOUNTERED BY MAIZE RESIDENTS
A resident of Maize recently received a letter from Global Advanced Financial Services with a check from Griswold Special Care, Everett, MA. included. The letter was an official notice which confirmed she was a 2nd prize winner in the second category of the USA Mega (under the international Sweepstake). The enclosed check, in the amount of $4,550.00, was provided to pay the processing fees. She was to contact a claims agent to start the claim processing and to activate her check, with a notice stating, "Please do not act on this notice until you contact your claims agent to avoid cases of misappropriation and mishandling of winning."
Andrew Brian, Promotion Manager and Donna Webb, claims agent, were the two names mentioned in the notice.
THIS IS A SCAM and the check is bogus. DO NOT DEPOSIT OR CASH THE ENCLOSED CHECK! If you you do, and your bank accepts it, you will ultimately take the loss. Simply shred or otherwise destroy the check and letter.
If someone contacts you claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House (PCH), and tells you that you’ve won a prize award – then asks you to send a payment or money card in order to claim the prize – STOP! You have not heard from the real PCH.
If you are ever contacted by someone claiming to represent PCH, or claiming to be a PCH employee, and asked to send or wire money (for any reason whatsoever, including taxes); or send a pre-paid gift card or Green Dot Moneypak card in order to claim a sweepstakes prize – DON’T! It’s a SCAM. If you are sent a check, told it’s a partial prize award, and asked to cash it and send a portion back to claim the full prize award, DON’T. The check is fake, but the SCAM is real!
Publishers Clearing House does not operate this way and would NEVER ask for money to claim a prize award.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards are legitimate reloadable debit cards that can be used to pay your bills. The MoneyPak works as a ‘cash top-up card’. Once you purchase it at a participating retailer with cash, you can use it to reload prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account, or make same-day payments to major companies. Unfortunately, scam artists love them because they are more convenient than a money wire and just as untraceable; and once they have the MoneyPak serial number, they are able to transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card.
Treat your MoneyPak number the way you treat your cash and your wallet. The best way to protect yourself from being ripped off is to be aware of common scams.
The MoneyPak website offers tips to avoid scams including the following 7 Tips on How to Protect Yourself from Fraud:
A resident of Maize recently received a letter from Links Financial Incorporated Lottery, Resource Management and Payment Verification and a check from Trent R. Redfearn DDS.PC, Highland Rand, CO. in the amount of $4,250.00. The letter was an official notice which confirmed she was one of the 2nd prize winners in the second category of the European, African and USA Consumer Sweepstake, in conjunction with USA Departmental Stores. The enclosed check was provided to pay the processing fee of $3,850.00. She was to contact a claims agent to start the claim processing and to activate her check, with a notice stating, "Please do not act on this notice until you contact your claims agent to avoid cases of misappropriation and mishandling of prize monies."
David Morgan, Promotion Manager and Mary Green, claims agent, were the two names mentioned in the notice.
THIS IS A SCAM and the check is bogus. DO NOT DEPOSIT OR CASH THE ENCLOSED CHECK! If you you do and your bank accepts it, you will ultimately take the loss. Simply shred or otherwise destroy the check and letter.
Mail theft is becoming an increased problem throughout the nation. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service recommend the following tips to protect your mail from thieves:
Never send cash or coins in the mail. Use checks or money orders.
Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items. If you won't be home when the items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
Have your local post office hold your mail while you're on vacation, or absent from your home for a long period of time.
If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
Always deposit your mail in a mail slot at your local post office, or hand it to your letter carrier.
Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes). Contact the Maize Police Department at 722-1433 for more information.
If you believe your mail was stolen, report it immediately to your local postmaster or nearest Postal Inspector. You'll be asked to file a formal complaint using PS Form 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint.
Many of the thefts reported in Maize are from automobiles. Unfortunately most of these thefts could have been prevented had the owners locked their car doors. Most thefts from vehicles in Maize occur during the night time hours and are committed by "opportunist". Individuals will walk neighborhoods late at night checking car doors.
When they find an unlocked car, they will rummage through the car looking for valuables and other items to take. Other thefts occur when people leave their purses or other valuables in plain site in their vehicle. REMEMBER: ALWAYS LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS AND HIDE ANY VALUABLES LEFT IN THE CAR.