From the daily archives: Thursday, November 18, 2010

EL CENTRO – November 18, 2010 – Heart & Hand Assisted Living and In-Home Care announced the addition of Susie Nickel as in-home care coordinator.

Ms. Nickel joins the Heart & Hand team with experience in In-Home Care. In her role she visits various clients in their home at least two times per week to assist clients in the comfort of their own home. Heart & Hand In-Home Care services are available from 4 to 24 hours daily.

“We’re lucky to have Susie join our team,” said Patty McGrew, owner of Heart & Hand. “Her experience will help us continue to service our wonderful In-Home care clients and provide the quality of care they deserve.”

Ms. Nickel resides in Imperial with her three daughters. She is a native of Germany where she was a registered nurse. She relocated to the Imperial Valley in 2000.

Heart & Hand Assisted Living and In-Home Care is located in El Centro. The organization currently provides housing for six residents and in-Home care assistance to seven clients. Residential Manager Sabrina Butler has been with the organization since 2007.

“Jennifer (co-owner) and I are both very excited and very proud of our managers and hard-working team,” said McGrew. “It is more than a business. It is a family. We are truly an organization ‘Driven by love, focused on care.”

A number of services are offered include bathing, grooming and hygiene; meal preparation; medication reminders and safety supervision; companionship; housekeeping; and family respite care. This is a non-medical facility. All staff are trained, licensed and bonded.

About Heart & Hand Assisted Living and In-Home Care

Heart and Hand Assisted Living and In-Home Care is a family-owned business located in El Centro, California. Situated on one acre, the house and gardens are a welcome respite for our residents. We employ CNAs as well as home caregivers.  Although we are a non-medical facility, every caregiver is well-trained, as well as screened.  Each is bonded and insured, and is required to have a background check and drug test performed as a condition of employment. Heart & Hand is a licensed facility, #134601388. For more information visit


This holiday season the FBI reminds shoppers that cyber criminals aggressively create new ways to steal moneyand personal information.  Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims, including conducting fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased with stolen credit cards, and selling fraudulent or stolen gift cards through auction sites at discounted prices.

Fraudulent Classified Ads and Auction Sales

Internet criminals post classified ads and auctions for products they do not have, and make the scam work by using stolen credit cards. Fraudsters receive an order from a victim, charge the victim’s credit card for the amount of the order, then use a separate, stolen credit card for the actual purchase. They pocket the purchase price obtained from the victim’s credit card and have the merchant ship the item directly to the victim. Consequently, an item purchased from an online auction but received directly from the merchant is a strong indication of fraud. Victims of such a scam not only lose the money paid to the fraudster, but may be liable for receiving stolen goods.

Shoppers may help avoid these scams by using caution and not providing financial information directly to the seller, as fraudulent sellers will use this information to purchase items for their schemes. Always use a legitimate payment service to ensure a safe, legitimate purchase.

As for product delivery, fraudsters posing as legitimate delivery services offer reduced or free shipping to customers through auction sites. They perpetuate this scam by providing fake shipping labels to the victim. The fraudsters do not pay for delivery of the packages; therefore, delivery service providers intercept the packages for nonpayment and the victim loses the money paid for the purchase of the product.

Diligently check each seller’s rating and feedback along with their number of sales and the dates on which feedback was posted. Be wary of a seller with 100% positive feedback, with a low total number of feedback postings, or with all feedback posted around the same date and time.

Gift Card Scam

Be careful when purchasing gift cards through auction sites or classified ads. It is safest to purchase gift cards directly from the merchant or retail store. If the gift card merchant discovers that your card is fraudulent, the merchant will deactivate the gift card and refuse to honor it for purchases. Victims of this scam lose the money paid for the gift card purchase.

Phishing and Smishing Schemes

In phishing schemes, a fraudster poses as a legitimate entity and uses emails and scam web sites to obtain victims’ personal information, such as account numbers, user names, passwords, etc. Smishing is the act of sending fraudulent text messages to bait a victim into revealing personal information.

Be leery of emails or text messages that indicate a problem or question regarding your financial accounts. In this scam, fraudsters direct victims to follow a link or call a number to update an account or correct a purported problem. The link directs the victim to a fraudulent web site or message that appears legitimate. Instead, the site allows the fraudster to steal any personal information the victim provides.

Current smishing schemes involve fraudsters calling victims’ cell phones offering to lower the interest rates for credit cards the victims do not even possess. If a victim asserts that they do not own the credit card, the caller hangs up. These fraudsters call from TRAC cell phones that do not have voicemail, or the phone provides a constant busy signal when called, rendering these calls virtually untraceable.

Another scam involves fraudsters directing victims, via email, to a spoofed web site. A spoofed web site is a fake site that misleads the victim into providing personal information, which is routed to the scammer’s computer.

Phishing schemes related to deliveries are also rampant. Legitimate delivery service providers neither email shippers regarding scheduled deliveries nor state when a package is intercepted or being temporarily held. Consequently, emails informing of such delivery issues are phishing scams that can lead to personal information breaches and financial losses.


Here are some tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
*  Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) email.
*  Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
*  Be cautious of email claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
*  Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
*  Always compare the link in the email with the link to which you are directed and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
*  Log directly onto the official web site for the business identified in the email, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email. If the email appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
*  Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
*  If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
*  Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information.
*  Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

To receive the latest information about cyber scams, please go to the FBI web site and sign up for email alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam email, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI’s New E-Scams and Warnings webpage at


Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials along with Mexican officials announced the opening of a new SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Traveler’s Rapid Inspection) vehicle lane at the Calexico East port of entry today.

The new SENTRI lane will open on Tuesday, November 16th, and will operate seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The non-SENTRI vehicle lanes will remain under the current operating schedule: Monday through Friday, 3 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

The new lane at the Calexico East port is in addition to the existing SENTRI vehicle lanes available at the Calexico downtown port that are open seven days a week, including holidays. The hours of operation of the existing SENTRI lanes downtown port were recently expanded. The SENTRI lane at the downtown port of entry is open from 5 a.m. to midnight on Sundays through Thursdays and remains open until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

The downtown port also features a pedestrian SENTRI lane that operates from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.

“The addition of a SENTRI vehicle lane at the Calexico East port along with expanding SENTRI hours of operation at the downtown port will provide shorter wait times for trusted travelers at California’s fourth busiest port,” said Port Director, Billy Whitford.

“Expediting legitimate traffic at our border crossings goes hand-in-hand with enhanced security at our borders,” said Port Director, Billy Whitford. “By segmenting traffic and separating low-risk travelers for whom we have advanced information from those about whom we have little or no information, we can better focus our resources.”

Customs and Border Protection’s SENTRI program provides dedicated vehicle lanes and expedited processing at various ports of entry on the Southwest border for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Currently the SENTRI program has more than 34,000 members enrolled locally. Nationwide, there are nearly 250,000 SENTRI members, and combined membership in CBP’s trusted traveler programs NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST exceeds 900,000.

The SENTRI lane first opened at the downtown port on December 29, 2005.

Interested travelers may apply for the SENTRI program by visiting the following website. ( SENTRI Program Description ) The application process takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete with a membership fee of $122.25.

The program gives members access to the dedicated vehicle and pedestrian lanes for five years. Applicants must pass a background check, fingerprint submission, and an in-person interview with a CBP officer.

Program members receive a radio frequency identification SENTRI card that meets the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for proper documents for U.S. citizens who cross the border by land or sea, which went into effect on June 1, 2009.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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