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Common sense is a prerequisite for serving in Alaska law enforcement.

Velma June Cox, 91, died peacefully on May 6, 2017, in Port Angeles, Washington.
Charles Murphy James Sr., 80, died April 2, 2017, in Big Lake.

Watch out this time of year for fraud.

With the holidays, there often is an increase in telephone calls and emails devised to acquire money illegitimately.

Such a call or email likely would have an urgency about it. For example, the caller or sender would say that action is required immediately. The threat is that if the recipient doesn't provide personal information or account numbers as soon as possible, then the security of one's funds or the funds themselves could be in jeopardy.

Sometimes the callers sound like they might be legitimate. And emails might look like they are from the bank or other company with which we do business. But one website or communication can be designed well enough to imply, but not really be, from a legitimate business.

The key to responding or not responding to these is to remain cool. A legitimate business will completely understand if we tell them we want to check that they are who they say we are. Only an illegitimate caller will get irritated.

But take the time to verify. It takes considerably less time than to recover from fraud. Recovery can take years, depending on what information is provided to crooks.

Banks and other honest financial institutions will welcome our caution and care. They don't want to have to deal with the outcome of fraud, either.

Fraud happens all of the time. It appears to increase around the holidays, perhaps that's when crooks seek extra cash for gifts (maybe for themselves) or a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years vacation.

Be on alert.