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- Chicago, IL
Even though the elderly are less likely than younger people to be affected by crimes, crime is still a major concern for the elderly and their families. As people get older, they can become more targeted for petty theft, purse snatching, fraud, and more.
The safety of you, your family, and the elderly people in your life is important. Knowing the risks and how to prevent crime is important to staying safe and secure. To help you and your family, SeniorHousing.net has put together a guide about crime, how it can impact the elderly, and how to prevent it.
You should feel safest when you are home. Unfortunately, criminals sometimes take advantage of vulnerabilities like unlocked windows, doors, and no alarm system. In order to make your home as safe as possible and less of a target for crime, you should always lock your doors and windows. You should also use caution when opening the door. If you are not expecting a delivery or don’t know the person at the door, don’t answer it. You have the right to refuse anyone access to your home if you feel unsafe. You should also try to avoid keeping large amounts of money in the house as it can make you more vulnerable to theft.
Finally, make sure that you get to know your neighbors. Close communities are less likely to suffer from crimes. If your neighborhood has a watch program, join it! The more people who are keeping an eye on the community, the better.
When you are out and about, stay aware and alert. Try to not walk alone and always pay attention to your surroundings. Listen to your gut. If a certain walking path feels unsafe or someone on the sidewalk looks suspicious, change your path. Your gut feeling is there for a reason. Don’t ignore it.
When you are in your car, don’t stop for strangers. Avoid rolling down your window to talk to people you don’t know and make sure that you are parking in well-lit areas. A little extra caution can go a long way.
If you get a monthly pension check or social security check, have them direct deposited into your bank account instead of delivered to your home. More people than you think have their checks were stolen from their mailbox than you would assume.
When you carry your wallet, keep them in an inside pocket or your front pants pocket. Keep it close to your person at all times and make sure that you don’t carry excessive cash. If you can, keep your checkbook separate from your credit cards. This makes it harder for someone to steal your signature and commit check fraud.
Fraud is quickly becoming the most frequent crime committed against the elderly. From insurance fraud and sales pitches over the phone to online scams, fraud is a serious problem. Know that you can hang up the phone or say no to any sales pitch you are given over the phone or in person. You are not being rude. You are just protecting yourself.
Never give out your credit card information, social security number, or bank account numbers. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank or Medicare, ask that they verify their identity. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t give out any information. Inquiries from legitimate sources will follow up with a paper letter in the event that they actually need something from you.
If there are deals that seem too good to be true or people going door to door asking for money or work, trust your instinct. A deal that is too good to be true is often a scam and people going door to door asking for work or promising work are usually scammers. Don’t hire anyone for work unless you can confirm that they are from a legitimate company and that you need the service.
When it comes to crime against the elderly, there are ways that you can avoid it. Stay smart, stay alert, and trust your instincts. Make sure that you are checking in on your parents. Have them run deals from online, strange phone calls, or emails by you before they commit to anything. Do your due diligence and you can prevent crime before it happens.