Check Fraud

Check Fraud

The Wichita Falls Police Department has received information in regards to counterfeit checks being passed and would like to remind you of a few tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.

 

  • Even if the check has “cleared,” you may not be in the clear. Under federal law, banks must make deposited funds available quickly, but just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check or money order. If you have any questions about whether or not the check is good, talk to your banker. Be sure to explain the source of the check, the reasons it was sent to you, and whether you are being asked to wire money back.
  • Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the check.Scam artists are using sophisticated technology to create counterfeit checks that mirror the appearance of legitimate checks. Some are counterfeit money orders, some are phony cashier’s checks and others look like they are from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has dummied up the checks without their knowledge.
  • Never ‘pay to play.’ There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back or send you more than the exact amount —that’s a red flag that it’s a scam. If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashier’s check for the exact amount, preferably from a local bank or one with a local branch.
  • Do not respond to online solicitations for “easy money.”Social media scams like card cracking may offer “quick ways to earn extra cash,” but keep in mind that easy money is rarely legal money.
  • Verify the requestor before you wire or issue a check.It is important to know who you are sending money to before you send it. Just because someone contacted you doesn’t mean they are a trusted source.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.Bank staff are experts in spotting fraudulent checks. If you think someone is trying to pull a fake check scam, don’t deposit it—report it. Contact your bank and report it to the Federal Trade Commission or The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

Information from American Bankers Association

WFPD Reminder: All Fireworks are Illegal Inside City Limits

fireworksAs we get closer to celebrating July 4th the Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind everyone of the City Ordinance prohibiting the use or possession of fireworks.

The possession of all fireworks is illegal in the city limits of Wichita Falls. If you are found to be in possession of or discharging fireworks you can be subject to a fine. It is important that the public recognize the potential dangers in the use and handling of fireworks.

With safety in mind, we would like to remind residents and visitors that the best way to celebrate the 4th of July holiday with family and friends is by attending the 4th in the Falls celebration at the MPEC.

8 tips to keep your pets safe this summer

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Many of you are likely enjoying these long summer days outside with your pets. Although this can be a fun time of the year for your furry friends, it’s also important to remember that higher temperatures mean higher risks for pets. To keep your pets safe, follow these precautions from experts at the ASPCA:
1. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors.
2. Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse.
3. Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.
4. Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool- not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats.
5. Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
6. Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.
7. When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pet’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
8. Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbecues can be poisonous to pets.

WFPD Arrest Suspect on Two Counts of Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant and Burglary

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Steven Oliver

On Wednesday June 5th at approximately 10:50 pm officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department responded to a check welfare at a residence in the 1200 block of 35th.  Officers were advised that the suspect had forced his way into the residence and threatened the victim inside with a firearm.

When officers arrived they approached the door of the residence when they heard a male voice tell them not to open the door.  Multiple rounds were then fired out the door. Officers set up a perimeter around the house and attempted to make contact with the suspect.

At approximately 11:18 pm officers were able to make contact with the suspect and get him detained.  He was identified as 23 year old Steven Oliver.

Oliver was arrested and transported to the Wichita County jail where he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and burglary of a habitation.

No one was injured in this encounter.

WFPD Releases Recent Click it or Ticket Stats

Click-It-or-TicketThe Wichita Falls Police Department participated in this years TxDOT Click It or Ticket campaign which ran from May 20th through June 2nd. During that time the WFPD had additional Officers on the street focusing on Occupant Protection for all passengers in vehicles.

Adult Seat Belt Citations                   227
Child Safety Seats                               18
Distracted Driving (Cell Phones)     26
Intersection Violations                      75
Speeding                                               25
Other Violations                                  140
Arrests                                                   3
Vehicle Impounds                               2
Hours Worked                                     220.3
Miles Driven                                        1,469
WFPD has partnered with TxDOT’s Click It or Ticket since 2002.

 

WFPD Make Second Arrest In Aggravated Robbery at Local Apartment Complex

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Meredith Lopez

On Monday, June 3rd, at 3:00 pm Detectives with the Wichita Falls Police Department served an aggravated robbery warrant on 25 year old Meredith Lopez.  The warrant was in connection with a May 16th aggravated robbery that took place in the 5300 block of Professional Drive that resulted in one male victim being shot. Lopez was already in custody at the Wichita County jail for an unrelated drug arrest that took place on May 31st when the warrant was served.

This is the second arrest in this case.  On May 16th Detectives with the WFPD charged 20 year old Khiry Taylor for aggravated robbery.

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Khiry Taylor

On Thursday May 16th at approximately 3:00 pm officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department were dispatched to the 5300 block of Professional Drive at Tealwood Apartments in reference to a shots fired called.

Upon arrival officers located a 21 year old male that had been shot multiple times.  The suspect had fled the scene prior to officers arrival and was described by witnesses as a black male in his early twenties, 5 foot 6 inches, long hair on top and short on the side, wearing a red shirt and dark color shorts and carrying a blue bag.  The victim was transported to the hospital by AMR. WFPD Detectives arrived on scene and began their investigation.

At approximately 4:40 pm as WFPD Officers were continuing their investigation into the shooting they conducted a traffic stop on a red Nissan Altima in the 1900 block of Old Windthorst Road.  Upon approaching the vehicle, which was occupied by three individuals, officers detected the odor of marijuana emitting from inside the vehicle.  The occupants were removed and identified.  The backseat passenger was identified as Taylor.  A search of the vehicle revealed over an ounce of marijuana which Taylor advised was his.  He was arrested for possession of marijuana and transported to the Wichita County Jail.

After further investigation into the shooting WFPD Detectives were able to develop sufficient probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant on Taylor for aggravated robbery.  The warrant was served on Taylor at the Wichita County jail.

Vehicle Burglaries: See Something, Say Something

Vehicle-BurglaryThe Wichita Falls Police Department has received numerous burglary of a vehicle reports where the victim vehicle was unlocked. The WFPD would like to remind people that one of the best ways to help prevent from becoming a victim of vehicle burglary is to simply lock your vehicles, and a special reminder to not leave unsecured firearms in your vehicle. Also, if you see something or someone suspicious in your neighborhoods, contact police.

Take, Lock, Hide. The basic crime fighting tool to help reduce vehicle burglaries.

Lock your vehicle. It takes seconds to break a window, but doing so makes noise – and criminals hate making noise.

Hide valuables from sight, or take items with you. If a criminal doesn’t see anything, they’re less likely to break in, and will move on. Park in areas that are not secluded. Well lit parking lots, with good “sight lines”, make it more likely your vehicle is visible to the general public. Aftermarket car stereos; consider models with removable face plates.  Take the face plate with you when you leave your vehicle. Record serial numbers of property you may leave inside your vehicle. If stolen, it makes it more likely the suspect, if he tries to pawn, will be identified.

There is no 100% fool-proof way to prevent all crime. You can make yourself less likely to be a victim of a burglary. Simply locking your vehicle and removing property from inside is half the battle.

WFPD Provides Vacation Patrol Check

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With Summer getting closer and the increase in homes being left unattended due to families going on vacation the Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind the public of a free vacation patrol check service that is available to them.

The WFPD offers Vacation Home Checks to all Wichita Falls residents.  While you are away on vacation, Sentinels from the Wichita Falls Police Department will periodically stop by your home to check for open doors, broken windows or any other suspicious circumstances.  In the event that something out of the ordinary is discovered, you or your listed emergency contact will be contacted immediately.  This is another added security precaution you can utilize to safeguard your possessions and assure your peace of mind while you are on vacation.  This is a free, but invaluable service provided by the Wichita Falls Police Department.  Please fill in the form below to request a vacation check.

Click here to request your Vacation Patrol Check

Homeowner realizes that the Police Department and the City do not assume any liability for loss or damage to property during specified dates. Homeowner understands there is no guarantee that vacation checks will be done daily, only when Sentinels are available.

Are You Prepared for Severe Weather?

severe-weatherSEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS

Texas is always susceptible to severe weather and damaging storms that threaten lives and property. Whether its tornados, severe thunderstorms, lightning, or floods, stay informed and protect yourself against potential severe weather threats in your area.

 

OUTDOOR WARNING SYSTEM

Wichita Falls has 53 Outdoor Warning Sirens. These sirens are used to warn people who are outside during an event. This system is activated when:

1. There is a verified report of a tornado within the City limits or a verified report of a tornado that will be entering the City limits.

2. There is a verified report of sustained winds at or in excess of 58 mph. The term “sustained” is defined as three minutes long.

NOTE:  It is possible that sirens may not be heard while indoors or in loud environments. If there is a threat of severe weather, please monitor local media coverage.

TESTING AND USE

The Outdoor Warning System is tested with an audible signal and silently on the first Monday of each month to ensure that they are working properly. If the weather appears threatening, this monthly test will be canceled.

The sirens can also be used as a public address system to provide a verbal message such as the status of an event or an all clear. This feature is only utilized on an incident by incident basis.

When the sirens are used, residents and visitors are advised to take shelter immediately and tune into the local TV or radio station for additional information.

MONITOR LOCAL TV AND RADIO WEATHER REPORTING

Residents and visitors should monitor weather forecasts so they know when severe weather is expected and how to plan accordingly. Weather forecasts for tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, flooding, snow, ice and high winds require preparation and knowledge.

NOAA weather radios and apps are also available for purchase that will alert you of severe weather. However, before making a purchase, please research the item/app and make sure that it will meet your needs.

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TORNADO SAFETY TIPS

More tornadoes strike Texas than any other state. They can occur at any time of year, including winter, but are most frequent from mid-March through May. Tornados are also a common occurrence during hurricanes. Take the following precautions during tornadic activity:

  • Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of your home, such as a bathroom, closet or room without windows. Cover yourself with a mattress or cushions.
  • In an office building, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor.
  • If you are in a mobile home, get out and take shelter in a nearby building. If no shelter is available, lie flat in a ditch or ravine.
  • Never stay inside a car! Get out and lie flat in a ditch or a ravine. If a building is nearby, take shelter inside. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car.
  • At school, follow plans and go to a designated shelter area, usually interior hallways on the lowest floor. Avoid auditoriums, gyms and areas with wide, free-span roofs.
  • In a shopping center, move towards the interior away from exterior glass walls.
  • If you are in open country, take cover in a low spot away from trees.
  • Remember there is a difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. A Tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar, and you must seek shelter immediately!

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND LIGHTNING SAFETY TIPS

Texas ranks among the top states for lightning fatalities each year. Lightning can occur up to 10 miles away from a storm, and may be conducted through a number of surfaces including the ground. A direct strike is not necessary for severe injury or death to occur. Individuals in the general vicinity of a strike may experience minor to significant side effects from a strike, such as brain or cardiac damage. Always seek immediate shelter when storms approach. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!

Take the following precautions during thunderstorm and lightening activity:

  • When severe storms threaten, the safest place to be is indoors.
  • If you are outdoors, seek shelter in a home, large building or automobile. Do not take shelter in sheds, pavilions, tents, dugouts, or other small, open sided buildings.
  • Do not take shelter under isolated trees, cliffs, or rocky overhangs.
  • If you are in a vehicle roll up your windows.
  • Avoid high objects that may attract lightning. Stay away from tall isolated trees, telephone poles, or communications antennas.
  • Avoid being taller than your surroundings by standing on an open hilltop.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks and faucets. Do not take a shower or bath during a lightning storm.
  • Stay away from concrete floors and walls.
  • Do not use the telephone unless you have a true emergency.
  • If lightning begins while you are swimming or boating, get out of the water.
  • If outdoors, avoid contact with metal surfaces and do not carry anything made of metal. Stay away from metal fencing and pipes, as these objects are conductors of electricity. Also, avoid contact with metal farm equipment or small metal vehicles (such as golf carts).

FLASH FLOOD SAFETY TIPS

Flash flooding is the number one weather-related killer in Texas. Nearly 50 percent of all flash flood fatalities nationwide involve vehicles. Saving your life can be as easy as turning your car around when you see water on the road. Never attempt to drive through flooded roadways – Turn Around Don’t Drown (TADD).

Remember:

  • Even in relatively shallow water, tires can act as flotation devices, lifting up big vehicles and sending them downstream. It takes only two feet of water to float a 3,000-pound car.
  • Beware that water covering roadways may hide washed-out bridges or gouged-out roadbeds. If you attempt to drive across, you may not be driving on a road.
  • In rainy weather, be alert and stay tuned to local radio or TV.
  • If you are in a low-lying area when flooding is occurring, get to higher ground quickly. Be sure to avoid canyons and washes that can channel swift water.
  • Do not attempt to cross-flooded roads or streams on foot. It can take as little as six inches of water to knock an adult off his or her feet. Furthermore, water may be flowing more rapidly than it appears.
  • Never allow children to play near ditches and storm drains.
  • During stormy weather, do not camp or park vehicles along streams or washes.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.

ALWAYS BE PREPARED

Always be prepared for any severe weather or emergency that may arise. Preparing and maintaining an emergency supply kit is a simple and effective way to sustain you and your family following a disaster. Developing an emergency plan for you and your family is another way to protect yourself should a disaster occur.

More information about TADD can be found at: www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/tadd/

For more information on emergency supply kits visit:www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/Preparedness/emerSupplyKits.htm.

Additional information on emergency planning is available at:www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/Preparedness/emerPlanningTips.htm.

WFPD Participating in TxDOT Click It Or Ticket Campaign

Click-It-or-TicketThe Wichita Falls Police Department is participating in this years TxDOT Click It or Ticket Campaign which runs from May 20th through June 2nd. We will have additional Officers on the street focusing on Occupant Protection for all passengers in vehicles. WFPD has partnered with TxDOT’s Click It or Ticket since 2002.

Here Is the Law

Texas law now requires drivers and all passengers in vehicles to be secured by a safety belt.

Any child under the age of 8 must be restrained in an approved child passenger safety seat unless taller than 4 feet, nine inches.

Safety Seat Guidelines

Safety belts are designed for adults, not children. Use a booster seat to lift your child up and prevent severe injuries in a crash.

Please remember the following guidelines when buying the proper seat for your child:

Birth-1 Year, Up to 35 Pounds

  • Use a rear-facing seat until your baby reaches the weight limit or height limit of the seat.
  • Secure the chest clip even with your baby’s armpits.
  • Fasten harness straps snugly against your baby’s body.

1-4 Years, 20 to 40 Pounds

  • Use a forward-facing seat for as long as the safety seat manufacturer recommends it.
  • Fasten harness straps snugly against your child’s body.
  • Secure the chest clip even with your child’s armpits.
  • Latch the tether strap to the corresponding anchor if your vehicle has one.

4-8 Years, Over 40 Pounds

  • Use a booster seat.
  • Fasten the lap belt across your child’s thighs and hips, not stomach.
  • Strap the diagonal belt across the chest to rest on the shoulder, not the neck.