Victim Resources and Crime Prevention Information

#VictimsMatter

Resources and information for victims, crime survivors, and their families. This page also includes information that will help residents identify crimes, and proactively avoid scams and fraud.

Victims can report crime by calling 911 if it is an emergency, contact your local Sheriff’s Station or police department, or remain anonymous by calling Los Angeles-Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or by visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

Crimestoppers Los Angles Logo, Type inset into an graphic of a city skyine

Resources for Crime Victims

VINE is an automated computer program offered to crime victims. The purpose of the VINE program is to provide victims of crime continuous access concerning an inmate's custody status. By calling the VINE number or registering on line, a victim can determine the custody status of the offender and register to be notified of the release or transfer of the specific inmate. VINE is a statewide program which provides access to information and notification of inmate releases and transfers. The VINE is separated by individual counties and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR). If an inmate is housed in the Los Angeles County jail system and is transferred to CDCR, the victim will receive a notification that the inmate was transferred to CDCR. The victim must re-register with the VINE indicating the inmate is in a CDCR facility.

https://www.vinelink.com/

Reference Information:
https://www.vinelink.com/docs/VINELinkQuickReferenceGuide.pdf

How does a victim register to be notified?

Victims may register themselves for notification using a touch-tone telephone. After dialing the VINE number, follow the instructions given by the system. You will be asked to give a telephone number and a four-digit PIN number. If you do not have a telephone you may use the telephone number of a relative of friend. Do not use a telephone number that reaches a switchboard. Victims may also register via the internet to receive telephone or e-mail notifications.

How will VINE notify a victim?

The VINE system monitors inmate movement, transfers, and releases. When an inmate is transferred or released, VINE will automatically react to contact the properly registered victims. Do not be startled if you receive a call from VINE in the middle of the night. VINE will begin calling as soon as new information regarding an inmate is received.

Call 1-877-411-5588 (TTY 1-866-847-1298) Follow the directions to enter the inmate's name or booking number using the keypad on your telephone. Or register on line at: https://www.vinelink.com/

  • You will receive immediate information regarding the inmate's status.
  • To register by telephone for notification select option 1 after the inmate's status is provided. You will be asked to provide a telephone number and a 4-digit PIN code that will become your ID for stopping future calls.

Victim Service Resources
https://www.vinelink.com/docs/Tollfreenumbers.pdf

Types of frauds, scams, and crimes

As the Internet and technology advances, so does the Internet and technology-related crime. Law enforcement has seen a sharp increase in these types of crime. Social Media, Dating Apps, Email, and Gaming Apps have been the most desirable places for cybercriminals to find their victims.

Click here to view the LASD PSA for Scam Safety Video.

Criminals rely on the trusting nature of their victims, preying on their victims from anywhere in the world. Many cybercriminals are organized criminal groups and also nation state-financed criminal groups who work together to further their crimes.

As the Internet and technology advances, so does the Internet and technology-related crime. Law enforcement has seen a sharp increase in these types of crime. Social Media, Dating Apps, Email, and Gaming Apps have been the most desirable places for cybercriminals to find their victims.

Cybercriminals have used encryption, VOIP phone numbers, and anonymous or unattributed emails to launch attacks on Los Angeles County residents, including grand theft, extortion, defamation, fraud, and hacking. Cyber-attacks can be emotionally and financially devastating.

The goal of this website is to provide the most up to date and relevant information on this subject so you can be better informed and equipped to defend yourself from a cyber-attack, scam or fraud.

An endless chain or pyramid scam usually starts with a friend or family member telling you of a very easy way to get rich fast with little or no risk. You are asked to join a group or organization by contributing a sum of money, usually $2000 to $5000. You are then asked to attend a seminar or meeting where your investment will be described to you. At the meeting, you are told all you have to do is recruit five additional members, who each contribute the same amount of money. As each recruitment occurs, you are told you will get a percentage of the contributions. The more people recruited, the more money you will receive.

In reality, the only people who get the money are those who are at the top, usually the organizers or suspects. Those towards the bottom get nothing.

Thousands of Los Angeles County residents visit online dating websites each year hoping to find a companion, close friend or romantic partner. But criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams. These fraudulent predators create fake profiles in the name of love to build online relationships. After scammers gain their victims’ trust on false pretenses, they glean every bit of personal information possible during the ‘relationship’ and use it to gain access to victims’ bank accounts or to commit identity theft.

Unfortunately, many victims do not report the crimes or their losses for fear of exposing embarrassing subject matter, a human emotion of vulnerability upon which these criminals depend to keep their momentum of extortion rolling.

Click to view our Community Forum on Online Dating Safety and Romance Scams.

During the online shopping event of the year, many of you will purchase items and expect those packages to arrive at your door step. Be mindful there will be “Porch Pirates” ready to take those valuable packages from your home.

Follow these package theft prevention tips to help keep your packages safe:

  • Buy online and pick up in store whenever possible.
  • Have your packages delivered to your office or to a neighbor who is usually home.
  • Have your package sent to a Hub Locker and collect the package there when it’s convenient for you.
  • Ask the shipper to hold your package at their facility. Most of them offer this service.
  • Track deliveries online. Many offer a text notification to your cell phone when a package has been delivered.
  • Request a signature confirmation of delivery.
  • Provide delivery instructions.
  • Install a parcel drop box in your home to make things easier for yourself. This will provide protection from mail theft and packages.

If you discover that your packages have been stolen, contact your local Sheriff’s Station or police department. If you see a crime in progress, call 911 and “Do Not” approach the suspect(s). When calling 911, stay calm and provide as much information as possible: Suspect description, vehicles, direction of travel, etc…

In this type of scam, the suspects work in pairs. One befriends an unsuspecting citizen, the “pigeon” claiming to have either a large sum of money he just found or the winning Lotto
ticket. He cannot go to a bank because he/she is an immigrant or another plausible sounding reason. As the first suspect is talking with the victim, the second suspect approaches and gets
involved.

One of the suspects will go to the phone and call a lawyer. The suspect returns and says they can keep the money and split it three ways but to get their share, all have to put up some “good
faith” money. The second suspect shows he has his money with a roll of what appears to be cash. Everyone agrees to get the money then meet at a designated place to divide the proceeds.

The victim contributes his “good faith” money as well as the second suspect, by putting the money into a bag. You are then given the bag to hold while the two suspects go to collect the money. Covertly a switch has been made, substituting worthless papers for the cash. You wait at the designated spot and after a length of time, no one has returned. You look in the bag and find only loose papers.

In these types of frauds, you are contacted, usually by telephone, and told you have won a grand prize which is a very large sum of money. To collect the winnings, you must pay the taxes/fees up front for the money to be sent to you. The money you send is usually to a location out of state or another country such as Canada or Africa. After a short period, you are contacted again and told there were problems with the winnings and you must send additional money to collect your prize.

There is no prize and there was no money. Although there are jurisdictional issues with this type of scam such as who should investigate it, a victim should report the crime immediately to their local sheriff’s station or police department.

This is the fastest growing crime in the United States and will impact one out of every four people. It is an invisible crime that victims only discover when they receive a bill, collection notice or attempt to make a large purchase such as a car.

Once discovered, it can have devastating effects on one’s credit. Fortunately there have been many new laws passed, both Federal and State, to help consumers and victims of this type of crime.

If you discover you have been the victim of Identity Theft, immediately contact your local sheriff’s station or police department.

This type of crime usually involves a caretaker, an acquaintance or even a family member. It usually involves a victim who has a reduced mental capacity due to age, medical condition or physical defect.

The suspect gains control over the victim’s financial assets through deceit, force, forgery of documents or threats. Once in control, the suspect can drain the victim’s accounts and transfer the assets to themselves.

California takes this crime very seriously and has enacted laws very specific to this type of crime. The Fraud Unit has investigators assigned specifically to this type of crime.

If you suspect any type of abuse against an elderly or dependent adult, contact your local sheriff’s station, police department, or Adult Protective Services (APS).

Click here to view our video on Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness.

Real Estate Frauds can involve the unlawful transfer or forgery of titles or deeds, adverse possession of abandoned or vacant property and loan fraud.

The Fraud & Cyber Crimes Bureau has a team of detectives who specialize in investigating these types of crimes.

Articles to help you identify and avoid fraud and scams

Image of fake pharmaceuticals confiscated by LASD.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property 900 503 SIB Staff

National Day of World Intellectual Property Today we mark National Day of World Intellectual Property. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to…

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Crime Resources for Victims from other agencies

Crime Survivors: For sexual and child assault/abuse

Human Trafficking:

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) – https://www.castla.org/

Journey Out: Los Angeles-based nonprofit helping victims of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation – https://www.journeyout.org/

Saving Innocence –  https://savinginnocence.org/

ZOE International – https://gozoe.org/

Homicide Victims and Family Support:

Justice for Murdered Children –  Helping families that have lost loved-ones to homicide.

Los Angeles County District Attorney – Victim services representatives work in courthouses and police stations, providing an array of services to help victims become survivors.

Scam and Fraud Resources from other agencies

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – Resources can help prevent, recognize, and report scams and fraud.

FBI.gov – Common Scams and Crimes.

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center – Victims should report their incident there as well if it involves the Internet.

Federal Trade Commission – 10 things you can do to avoid fraud.

Federal Trade Commission – Avoiding scams and rip-offs.

NCOA – National Council on Aging – How seniors can protect themselves from money scams.

USA.gov – Learn how to protect yourself from and respond to scams and frauds.