Crime Prevention for Senior Citizens

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
Getting older doesn't mean becoming a target for crime. Senior Citizens are the most rapidly growing segment of the population in the metro Atlanta. One in every eight Americans is currently age 65 or older and that number is expected to double in the coming years. Although national surveys indicate that senior citizens are the least likely to become crime victims, they are still one of the most vulnerable. Thefts and scams and generally the top ways that seniors are targeted.

Preventing Theft
Anyone can take active part in preventing theft, no matter what your age. Stay alert and aware of what's going on around you and pay attention to your instincts. If a person or situation seems suspicious, that should be a red flag. As a result, you become more aware of strange cars, persons, or circumstances which might be dangerous and require calling the police. Keep a close eye on valuables such as purses, wallets and cell phones and don't allow yourself to be distracted by people who may be trying to trick or steal from you. Carry only the credit cards or cash you need for that particular trip. Keep your head up, stay alert and self-confident.

Inside your home, you should feel safe. Remember that its not about being scared or worried, its about being confident and careful. Keep valuable items out of sight and be creative about where you hide things. If you need to have contractors or other service people in your house, know exactly who they are, what company they represent and always schedule them on your terms. Don't let them just "drop in" to do work. If possible, have a second person there to help you keep track of the workers. Don't let yourself be distracted and if you ever feel threatened or uncomfortable, don't hesitate to call 911.

Preventing Fraud and Scams
All too often, victims of fraud know they are being defrauded but are too scared or embarrassed to notify anyone. Sometimes victims can recount "red flags" of suspicious behavior after it is too late. Victims of these crimes need to understand that it is not their fault and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Perpetrators of these crimes are very good at what they do and will target specific people. Often when a perpetrator finds someone that gives them money, that person becomes a repeat target and a victim's retirement or life savings can quickly be depleted.

Telephone scams and door to door solicitation of labor or contract work are some of the most common scams specifically targeting seniors. No one should solicit you for business, you should initiate the call. Some scammers will try to build a rapport with you over the phone over the course of days or weeks, claiming to be someone they are not, sometimes even an authority figure such as a government official. Ask lots of questions and try to verify the information on your own. Most importantly, do not give out any information about yourself or send anything and make sure to tell someone that can help you.

Beware of anyone wanting to "inspect" your home, inside or out, as they may be distracting you or casing you for a crime later. A common scam is a criminal coming to your door unsolicited offering to fix your roof, wash or paint your house or gutters or show you a new product. They may try to act familiar to you, as if they did work for you before or they did work for a friend or neighbor. The criminal may make you think that the repair is "urgent" or pressure you in to signing or paying "now". These are all red flags and you should not hesitate to send them on their way. Again, don't hesitate to call 911 for help. If we make contact with these people, we may be able to prevent someone else from being scammed or solve a previous case.

Seemingly well intentioned people could be trying to trick or take advantage of you. Be weary of people who approach you unsolicited and be confident enough to send them on their way. Remember, if you ever feel threatened or uncomfortable, don't be afraid to call for help.