3 Questions for Police Chief Matthew Canelli: Sept. 1

Matthew Canelli, chief of the North Branford Police Department, fills us in on two new laws, shares tips for avoiding telemarketing fraud and more.

Before our town officials were, well, town officials, they had other jobs. Think back to your first-ever job. Ever wonder where our town officials, like Chief Matthew Canelli, got their start in the working world?

North Branford Patch: What's new in your department?
Canelli: Two new laws will be effective Oct. 1, 2012.

Domestic Violence: A new law gives family violence victims greater support from the courts, law enforcement agencies, and court-based victim service providers. Among other things, it: 1. strengthens certain court restraining and protective orders aimed at protecting family violence victims, 2. requires courts to provide copies of protective orders to victims’ employers and schools upon request, and 3. takes steps to create a standard police approach to family violence crimes. (HB 5548, most provisions effective October 1, 2012)

Reporting a Missing Child (“Caylee’s Law”): A new law makes it a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000 or both to knowingly fail to report the disappearance of a child under age 12. The duty to report applies to any parent, guardian or person who has custody or control of or is supervising the child and who either does not know the child’s location or has not had contact with him or her for 24 hours. (HB 5512, effective October 1, 2012)

North Branford Patch: What's something residents should know?
Canelli: It’s very difficult to get your money back if you’ve been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember these tips for avoiding

  • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, unfortunately, beware—not everything written down is true.
  • Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.
  • Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items.
  • Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.
  • Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. “What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?”
  • Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.
  • Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision.
  • Don’t pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are—the kinds of financial information you will and won’t give out on the telephone. 
  • Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.
  • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
  • Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.
  • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.

North Branford Patch: What was your first job?
Canelli: Real estate.

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