October marks National Crime Prevention Month and now, more than ever, it is important to remind our neighbors and loved ones that not every crime can be prevented by locking your doors. We all must take steps to ensure that our families are protected from fraud, theft, and schemes targeting our pocketbooks.

One easy and convenient way to do that is for those who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks in the mail to switch to electronic payments. By changing to electronic payments, the money is automatically entered into your account and there exists no paper check that can get lost or stolen through the mail.

Criminals use any number of phone, Internet and old-fashioned scams to try to get your money. Electronic payments reduce the amount of personal and financial information out there and add a significant level of protection against these sophisticated crooks.

It's easy to sign up for electronic payments. If you have a bank account, sign up for direct deposit by visiting your bank or credit union. You can also call the Go Direct helpline at 1-800-333-1795, or visiting www.GoDirect.org.

If you don't have a bank account, you can sign up for the new Treasury-recommended prepaid debit card, the Direct Express card. Sign up by calling 1-877-212-9991 or visiting www.USDirectExpress.com.

Have a safe October and share these valuable tips with your loved ones and neighbors. And remember, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Kathleen Rice

Nassau County District Attorney

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