This is one for the books: a Texas man who checked a book out of his local library in 2010 and failed to return it was arrested and jailed.
According to KWTX-TV, 19-year-old Jory Enck of Copperas Cove, Texas, was put behind bars Wednesday over an unreturned a GED study guide. His booking is a result of a local ordinance the city put in place nearly four years ago that allows police to arrest patrons for not returning overdue library materials after at least 90 days and failing to promptly respond to phone calls or emails from the library.
"The reason they passed it was that they were spending a tremendous amount of money replacing these materials that people just didn't return," Copperas Cove Municipal court Judge Bill Price said. Price said that the ordinance has faced more than a little resistance, saying local reaction has been one of, "Universal hatred, nobody wants to get arrested over a library book."
"The other side of that is people that go to our library and can't have these materials, they're put out, too," he added.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Sergeant Julie Lehmann of the Copperas Cove Police Department confirmed that if police come across a patron during a routine stop who has been issued with a library warrant, they will always make an arrest.
Enck was later released on a $200 bond, which Price said is standard.
According to the Killeen Daily Herald, Enck was also arrested in 2012 for a much more serious crime. The publication reported at the time that Enck, then 18, was a suspect in a string of 13 vehicle burglaries that took place overnight. Enck was jailed on $50,000 bond.
However, Enck is apparently not the first, or youngest person to run into trouble from the law for an overdue library book.
Last year, Infowars reported that police officers visited 4-year-old library delinquent Katelyn Jageman after she amassed $81.60 in overdue library fees for failing to promptly return items including "Dora the Explorer: The Halloween Cat," "Sleeping Beauty" and "Corduroy's Halloween."
One For the Books: Man Arrested for Overdue GED Guide
Make a copy of your Medicare card and block out the last four digits of your Social Security number so if you lose it or your wallet is stolen, no one can get your full Social Security number.
Seniors are often the target of phone scams. Don't respond to incoming phone calls requesting personal information. If a creditor or organization calls with a seemingly legitimate need for your personal information (account numbers, Social Security number, or credit card information), hang up and verify the phone number and legitimacy of the caller before returning the call.
Don't carry more personal documents than necessary with you when you leave the house. Leave Social Security numbers, checks, extra credit cards, Medicare cards, and financial statements in a locked security box at home or another secure location. If you're ever admitted into the hospital or other care facility, credit cards and personal documents should be locked up or put in the hands of someone you trust. Adopt a need-to-know approach to your Social Security number and mother's maiden name. If a business asks for this information, ask what it will do with the information, why the company needs it, how the company will protect it, and what will happen if you refuse to provide this information.
The federal government offers a guide to help you decide how long you need to keep various types of paperwork. Shred anything you don't need to keep, such as documents that contain account information, Social Security numbers, PINs, or sensitive information -- including credit card statements, other bills, credit card receipts, unused checks, canceled checks, and credit reports. Also shred or otherwise destroy expired credit cards and driver's licenses. And never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or gas pumps.
As tech-savvy seniors know, you should protect your computer and your Internet activity. Consult with a network professional to make sure your computer system is secure. Install antivirus software, anti-spyware, and firewall software to prevent cyber-programs that steal personal information. Use unique passwords for your computer and any online accounts and change them on a regular basis. A strong password includes a mix of numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lowercase letters. Don't use your birthday or pet's name, your phone number, or anything that could be easy to guess. Never send personal information via email, and never respond to emails asking you to verify your password, account number, Social Security number, or credit card numbers.
When you're out of town or out of the country, consider purchasing a portable router to create your own Wi-Fi hotspot so you can safely use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone while on the road. You'll need a local SIM data card, which is available at most electronic stores and at airport kiosks for travelers. This will help you avoid using public Wi-Fi spots. Also, before going on vacation, ask the post office to place a vacation hold on all mail.
Many seniors don't think about checking their credit since they're often not in the market to borrow money for a house or car. You should, however, request a free credit report via annualcreditreport.com on a regular basis. You can request your credit report from one of the three credit reporting agencies at a time (and therefore check your credit three times each year for free) or sign up for a credit monitoring service to make sure no suspicious activity occurs.
Whether you're a senior yourself or are concerned about an elderly loved one, maintaining vigilance over personal information can prevent identity theft, and regularly checking for activity in your credit file will make it easier to stop the damage faster if you do fall victim to this crime.