Monday, April 2, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland Police News Service

The Baltimore County Police Department announced this week that it is now providing a weekly online news resource, including a crime blotter, for each of its 10 precincts.
The precinct officers supply content for the pages, including a summary of crimes listed on their weekly significant crimes reports.
The precinct web pages will not be used to provide breaking news alerts, but each page includes precinct-level contact information.
Department officials said that communities accustomed to receiving local crime information from precinct captains through email distribution lists will continue to receive communication from those officers.
Elise Armacost, director of media and communications for Baltimore County Public Safety, said the new pages were not a direct response to the brief controversy surrounding the weekly emailed crime reports that have been sent to residents from the Towson precinct for several years.
"The issue of precinct-level news is something we've been looking at for months because we know people want this information," Armacost said.
"The goal is not to make every precinct a carbon copy of the other," she said. "Each precinct is different, each captain is different and they will be providing the content. ... There's going to be variation in pages. … But at minimum, we want to provide weekly crime blotter information to every precinct.
"As it is, some of our residents are getting that. In Towson they were, but there are residents of other precincts that were not getting it," Armacost said. "By making this information available on our website, we're making it available to many, many more people than it has been."
The pages also include a "news you can use" section about upcoming police events, crime prevention tips, police fund raisers, planned road closures and accomplishments by local precinct officers.
Officials said that posting community police news at is an attempt to make information available to all citizens.
The Fire Department Twitter feed is and the Emergency Management feed is

Robocalls: To file a complaint.

FTC Consumer Alert

Robocalls are Illegal: Scammers Use False Caller IDs to Hide

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, along with state and local law enforcement agencies, and consumer organizations across the country, are getting complaints from consumers about unsolicited robocalls. At the same time, individuals and businesses that have nothing to do with blasting the illegal robocalls are being blamed for these calls because their phone numbers are being misused by unscrupulous telemarketers.

Robocalls are prerecorded telephone calls. Robocalls pitching goods or services are illegal unless you've given the caller express permission to call you. And, says the FTC, in addition to the phone calls being illegal, most likely, their pitch is a scam. In fact, the FTC is cracking down on illegal robocalls offering fraudulent credit card services, and so-called auto warranty protection, home security systems, and grant procurement programs.

Fraudulent telemarketers often manipulate Caller ID information to hide their identity. In some cases, the fraudulent telemarketer may want you to think the call is from your bank, or another entity you've done business with. Sometimes, the telephone number may show up as "unknown" or "123456789." Other times, the number is a real one belonging to someone who has no idea his or her number is being misused.

If you have Caller ID, you can choose not to answer calls from numbers you don't recognize. Should you answer the phone and find yourself listening to an illegal robocall, hang up. Get the Caller ID information if you can, and file a complaint immediately with:
For more information, see New Rules for Robocalls.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, How to File a Complaint, at to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
February 2012

FTC....Robocalls Illegal

FTC Action Puts Robocallers Out of the Telemarketing Business

Defendants Allegedly Responsible for Billions of Calls; Will Give Up Assets Totaling Roughly $3 Million

The Federal Trade Commission put a robocall operation out of the telemarketing business under a settlement resolving FTC charges that it bombarded consumers with more than two billion calls pitching a variety of products and services, including worthless extended auto warranties and credit card interest rate-reduction programs.
The final settlement order against SBN Peripherals, based near Los Angeles, which did business as Asia Pacific Telecom Inc., is part of the FTC's ongoing crackdown on deceptive robocallers. The order bans the defendants from telemarketing and requires them to give up roughly $3 million in assets.
The FTC's complaint alleged that the defendants delivered illegal prerecorded phone calls falsely claiming the caller had urgent information about the consumer's auto warranty or credit card interest rate. Consumers who pressed "1" for more information were transferred to telemarketers who used fraudulent practices to sell inferior extended auto service contracts or worthless debt-reduction services. According to court papers filed by the court-appointed receiver, from January 2008 through August 2009, the defendants completed approximately 2.6 billion outbound robocalls that were answered by approximately 1.6 billion consumers, approximately 12.8 million of whom were connected to a sales agent.
As alleged in the complaint, the defendants violated the law by using robocalls to contact consumers without their written permission and called telephones listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. To make it difficult for consumers to identify the seller, the FTC also alleged that the defendants' robocalls often transmitted caller ID information vaguely identifying the caller as "SALES DEPT" and displaying telephone numbers registered to an offshore company it controlled called Asia Pacific Telecom.
Under the proposed settlement order, Repo B.V.; SBN Peripherals Inc., doing business as SBN Dials; Johan Hendrik Smit Duyzentkunst; and Janneke Bakker-Smit Duyzentkunst are banned from telemarketing. The order also prohibits them from misrepresenting any good or service, and from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers' personal information, and requires them to properly dispose of customers' personal information within 30 days. The order imposes a $5.3 million judgment that will be suspended, based on their inability to pay, when they have surrendered assets valued at approximately $3 million, including more than $1 million obtained from a bank account in Hong Kong, a $375,000 lien on a home, a 50 percent interest in an office building in Saipan, the defendants' interest in seven parcels of undeveloped land, as well as three cars and a recreational vehicle. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The Commission vote approving the proposed consent order was 4-0. It is subject to court approval. The FTC filed the proposed consent order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
To hear telemarketing sales pitches used in this case, clickAuto Warranty audio 1Auto Warranty audio 2Credit Card audio 1, and Credit Card audio 2.
To learn more about telemarketing scams, read Who's Calling? Recognize and Report Phone FraudYou Make the Call: The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the FTC's new consumer alert, Robocalls are Illegal: Scammers Use False Caller IDs to Hide. The FTC also offers How to Steer Clear of Auto Warranty Scams and Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams. To inform business owners, the FTC offers Reining in Robocalls and Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
NOTE: This consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants that the law has been violated. Consent orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs

Steven M. Wernikoff
FTC's Midwest Region

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The Black Emergency Managers Association International support(s) the Sustainable Development Goals

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