Saturday, September 20, 2008

Senior Safety

     As people grow older, their chances of being victims of crime decrease dramatically. But a lifetime of experience, coupled with the physical problems associated with aging, often make older Americans fearful.

     Though they're on the lookout constantly for physical attack and burglary, seniors are not as alert to frauds and con games; which, in reality, are the greatest crime threats to seniors' well being and trust. In order to conquer fear and prevent crime, it is important to take these common-sense precautions:

     - Go with friends or family, not alone.
     - Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps.   
     - Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pant's pocket.
     - Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
     - Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
     - Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
     - Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway.
     - If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.

     - Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
     - Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true; like a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for cancer and arthritis, or a low-risk, high-yield investment scheme.
     - Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
     - Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything like an insurance policy, a sales agreement, or a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
     - Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
     - If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, or local consumer protection office. Call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060.

 For information about Fire Safety for Seniors