Montgomery County, TN – Citizens who attending Saturday’s Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Community Information Exchange learned more about the SO and how to protect themselves from forgery and fraud.
The meeting, held at Living Hope Baptist Church, was kicked off by host Pastor Derek Smith.
“We are glad to host this meeting, and appreciate everything you all do to keep us safe,” Smith said.
Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson spoke to everyone about the duties of the Sheriff’s Office, and explained how the various sections work.Sgt. Steve Heise introduced the investigators responsible for cases occurring in that geographical area, what the SO refers to as a zone, and talked about how they investigate crimes.
“It’s not as easy as it is on CSI,” Heise said. “We need open communication with you, the public, to continue closing out cases. If you see something, anything, that may be useful to us, please let us know.”
Fuson added that earlier in his career on patrol, one stolen piece of lawn equipment helped close out several burglaries and led to several arrests. The owner of the piece of equipment didn’t even want to report it missing, because of its low value.
“If he wouldn’t have reported it, we wouldn’t have been able to close out all of those burglaries,” Fuson said. “That just shows the importance of reporting these types of things to us.
Inv. Larry Hodge highlighted several things citizens should watch out for to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of forgery or fraud.
He provided photos of checks that seemed real, and were for large amounts of money, but he explained they were fraudulent. If someone had deposited that check and spent the money, the bank would later realize it wasn’t authentic and the citizen would be responsible for those funds.
“If you get a check you’re not expecting, be careful,” Hodge said.
He added that everyone should own a document shredder, which should be used to destroy any sensitive mail received, such as credit card applications and other sensitive information.
For those of you paying bills via postal mail, he suggests taking those envelopes to the post office instead of leaving them unattended in your personal mailbox.
“Thieves see that raised red flag and they know it’s possible they could find a check in there, from which they will have access your bank account and routing numbers,” Hodge said. “From this, they can create their own checks.”
There will be two more community meetings this year, and dates, times and locations are to be determined.
“We have a wealth of information to share with our community, and I think citizens will find it’s information you can use,” said Fuson.
The next meeting is slated for June in the southern part of Montgomery County.