Category Archives: U-Spy Questions

U-Spy Questions

Why is pepper spray used for self defense?

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A lot of people ask why should I use or carrying pepper spray. Responses for those questions quite are simple. Walking the dog or jogging late at night, getting out of work late, taking public transportation or having an ex-partner who is stalking or harassing. Continue reading

Illegal “Dumpers” Caught with Video Surveillance

In Springfield, Mass.,  police announced that 13 people had been caught dumping household trash and furniture in a wooded area near town. The alleged illegal dumpers were recorded by hidden camera detectors placed near the area in an investigation that included aid from both state, and local officials. This, according to the Springfield Republican. Continue reading

Words from the Boss: Cloned Debit Cards Add to ATM Thefts

Technology makes our lives easier, or at least it’s supposed to; yet, as our understanding  improves and complicated processes, such as computer programming, become more user-friendly,  some decide to use these innovations to prey upon others.

ATM skimming-devices, for instance, have evolved from clunky, obvious pieces of fake auto-bank teller equipment to sleek, undetectable theft devices that are unnoticeable to untrained eyes. As the equipment becomes better, the criminals grow in sophistication, often stealing hundreds of thousands in others’ money before being discovered. Continue reading

Hidden Camera Exposes Illegal Dentists

Going to the dentist isn’t something that we usually scrutinize to ensure our chosen practitioner has the necessary schooling and degrees that prove he’s a dentist. Usually, we opt for doctors or dentists who are recommended by our social circle, or, more likely, the ones covered by an insurance plan. Usually, the expectation is that they’re qualified; after all, masquerading as a dentist wouldn’t be the easiest scam to perpetrate.

In San Antonio, WOAI-TV News 4 recently published a news story by Jaie Avila using a hidden camera that might be surprising… Continue reading

Bank ATM “Skimmer” Busted

Romanian citizen Razvan Apostal, staying in Queens on a Visa was arrested near  Rye Brook, NY, last month for using an ATM “skimmer” to steal personal ATM card information. He also installed video surveillance cameras above ATM machines in order to steal Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

An ATM skimming device, or skimmer, is a device that covers the ATM card slot that reads the information on the magnetic card strip, plus, depending on the device, may record the PIN as well. For less-sophisticated skimmers, a camera can be installed to capture the PIN.

Depending on the ATM, and the crook’s knowledge of their workings, skimmers can be absurdly obvious or nearly impossible to detect.

The 31-year-old’s crimes were brought to light after a banking customer notified Chase Bank that an additional security camera had been installed above the ATM machines, allegedly aimed at the user interface portion of the machine. Chase Bank authorities notified local police. After viewing surveillance footage on the camera, Mr. Apostal was identified as the suspect.

A week later, another local ATM was found with a camera installed in the same general location.

Police searched for–then arrested–Apostal for placing a skimming device, the cameras, and a mirror at several local area ATMs. When arrested, he had the skimming device in his possession. Police discovered counterfeit $100 bills when a search of the man’s property was initiated.

Apostal is in jail awaiting trial. He’s being charged for eight counts criminal possession of forged instruments and one count of unlawful possession of a skimming device.

Radio Frequency Identification

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (called an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio fequencies.

RFID is utilized for open-road tolling, making payments using mobile phones,

The US government utilizes RFID for traffic management, and companies use the technology to keep track of expensive equipment, essentially initiating a surveillance program for inventory.  RFID’s future is currently not known due to privacy regulations that may keep many of the applications from moving forward.

A Westport, CT company–SecureRF–is currently examining applications to use RFID chips to keep track of children via student ID cards using radio frequencies much similar to GPS (although very different technologies).

Continue reading

Hidden Camera Catches Woman Trashing Cat

A woman in Coventry was caught via surveillance cameras dropping her cat into a trash bin. The woman was seen carrying and petting a cat–named Lola–before stopping in front of the trash can. She lifts the lid, drops the cat inside, and walks away.

The matter is under investigation by England animal rights group, RSPCA. Continue reading

Video Voyeur Captures Himself On Camera…

A 54-year-old Marion County, Florida man was arrested after a tip led authorities to a hidden camera containing over 300 images of people using his bathroom, officials claimed on Monday.

Edward John Phillips, age 54, of Reddick, FL, faces two counts of voyeurism using a video camera; one of the counts is juvenile voyeurism due to images that depict a person under the age of sixteen. Police claim that Phillips used a video game camera that is designed to take pictures when movement is detected. The camera was hidden inside a bathroom closet facing the toilet. Continue reading

GPS Application Leads Police to Thieves

A recent rash of New Hampshire thefts caused police to investigate and warn the public not to leave valuable items inside vehicles parked in the state’s national park areas–especially at trail heads. U.S. Forest Service agents also cautioned visitors to lock their cars.

A recent investigation was launched after thieves smashed car windows to get into vehicles, stealing electronics and cash.

Unfortunately for the unwitting criminals, police were able to track down them down within hours due to quick action stemming from a victim’s GPS application on his cell phone. Most of these smash-and-grab type cases go unsolved, especially due to the remote locations, time delay between the crime and report, and absence of witnesses to the crime.

In this case, the victim went to the State Trooper barracks and borrowed a police computer to track the location of his Smartphone; the phone was in a nearby community, and appeared to be with someone walking.

State Law Enforcement officers called the community’s police department, who dispatched officer to the area; the officer spotted a group of juveniles outside the residential area. A local Forest Service special agent also assisted, helping police determine four teens as the likely suspects. Police recovered the majority of property and the teens eventually confessed they’d participated in the crime spree, or were guilty of receiving stolen goods.

While the case remains under investigation, police expect charges to be filed shortly. Ah, technology!

Copyright Office Unleashes iPhone; Legalizes Jailbreaking

The U.S. Copyright Office announced that jailbreaking (software modifications that liberate iPhones and other handsets to run applications from sources other than those approved by the phone maker) the iPhone, and basically any Apple O/S, is legal. The decision stems from a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the new ruling rewrites the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Continue reading