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DON'T BE A TARGET FOR CRIME

There are elements in every society that will pray upon the good will and trust of anybody.  Elderly people are often targeted by conmen and everyday thieves who know that that seniors are often home alone, are less likely to fight back, are easily intimidated, and often have cash and/or valuable property in the home.

Here are a few tips that will help to prevent crimes from even beginning.

When you are at home...

  • When the doorbell rings or someone knocks at your door, try to find out who your visitor is before you open the door. If you don't already have a peephole or a safe window, have one installed. 

  • Ask any stranger at the door to tell you his or her name. If he claims to represent a company or group, ask for proof or a telephone number you can call to confirm that the visit is legitimate. If you are not sure someone can be trusted, it is perfectly all right to keep your door closed and locked. Seniors are often targets for criminals who go door-to-door claiming to be servicemen.

  • To protect against crime such as a break-in, the locks on your doors and windows should be good ones. An alarm system is ideal. If you are not sure what other changes you should make to increase your home's security, most police departments have a crime prevention unit that can advise you.

  • Many police departments can lend you a tool that allows you to mark your name or a permanent identification number (such as your driver's license number) on valuable property.  Keep an inventory of all your possessions, especially those that have value such as jewelry or silver. One simple and effective way of doing this is to take a photo or video image of the valuable item(s). The picture or videotape should be stored in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.

  • If you don't use your valuable items (such as jewelry) frequently, they might be better off in the safety deposit box, too.  

When you are out...

  • No matter whether you are far from home or on your front porch, be alert. Try not to travel alone. Stay away from dark parking lots or alleys.

  • Your monthly pension or any other funds you receive regularly should be deposited directly to your bank account rather than sent by check.

  • If you go to the bank frequently, don't always go at the same time of the day or week.

  • Avoid carrying cash; and if you must carry a handbag, avoid keeping your money and credit cards in it. Put these items in an inside pocket or consider using a money belt.

  • Don't dress in a way that signals you might be carrying money. In other words, unless you know for sure you will be safe, don't wear your best jewelry or your fur coat.

  • If you do have the misfortune to be stopped by a robber, the best way to minimize your risk is to hand over any cash you have. 

Don't be conned by these criminal schemes...

  • Never withdraw and hand over money from your bank account if a stranger asks you to do it. Do not comply even the person tells you he is a bank employee and the withdrawal is designed to "test" a bank teller. Banks do not test their employees in this fashion.

  • Do not give your credit card or bank account number to a stranger who has telephoned you to sell a product or ask for a charitable contribution.

  • If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Stay away from it. In particular, avoid any scheme in which you have to provide money up front, even if you are promised a large or valuable prize. If you are offered this type of deal, check with your local Better Business Bureau or the police.

  • Quick fixes or miracle cures for most health problems do not exist. But advertisements and promotions for these products - such as cures for arthritis, baldness, or even cancer - can be persuasive and tempting. Always ask your doctor about these products first, because many can do as much harm as good.

 

 

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