Crime and older peopleWith recent events in our county, I thought it was time for a reminder on what we can do to keep ourselves safe.
By: Mary Krueger, Alexandria Echo Press
With recent events in our county, I thought it was time for a reminder on what we can do to keep ourselves safe.
The number of crimes that happen to older people is hard to ignore. Older people are often targets for robbery, purse snatching, pick-pocketing, car theft and home repair scams. During a crime, an older person is more likely to be seriously hurt than someone younger.
Don’t let the fear of crime stop you from enjoying life. Be careful and be aware, but don’t be afraid. Don’t isolate yourself, stay involved.
Following are some basic tips:
• Join groups that meet during the day.
• Make sure your locks, doors and windows are strong.
• Keep doors and windows locked.
• Look through the peephole in your door before you open it.
• Ask strangers for identification before opening the door.
• Avoid keeping large amounts of money in your house.
• Get to know your neighbors and have them watch out for you.
• Stay alert when you are out. Try to avoid unlighted areas like dark streets or parking lots.
• Do your errands during day time hours.
• Keep car doors locked at all times. Don’t open your car door or roll down your window to strangers.
• Always park in well lit areas.
• Carry your purse close to your body with the strap over your shoulder and across your chest.
• Don’t resist a robber. Hand over your cash or anything else they demand.
• Have your monthly pension or Social Security checks electronically deposited.
• Try to vary the times that you go to the bank. Never go at the same time on the same day every week.
• Put your wallet, money and credit cards in an inside pocket. Don’t carry a lot of cash.
Older people can become victims of fraud through telephone and Internet scams. Don’t forget that you can say “no” to any telephone sales pitch or simply hang up.
Sign up for the “do not call” list and take yourself off mailings lists. Visit www.donotcall.gov.
• Try not to let your mail sit in the mailbox and try to mail your bills at the post office or secure drop box rather than your own mailbox.
• Don’t give your credit card or bank account numbers to people who call. Your bank will not call you and ask you for your account numbers. They already have them!
• Deals that seem too good to be true usually are. Be on guard when hiring people who come door to door. They may overcharge you. Never pay for a whole job in advance.
• Be an informed consumer. Do your research before you donate to a cause.
• Take a friend, neighbor or relative with when you are making large purchases.
• Don’t buy from a high pressure salesperson. Take your time. If the offer is good today, it is usually good tomorrow, too.
• Keep information about your checking account private. Put new and cancelled checks in a safe place. Check your monthly bank and credit card statements carefully.
• Shred everything that has personal information on it.
• Don’t respond to e-mails asking for personal information such as credit card or bank numbers.
Be careful, be aware, but don’t be afraid.