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There are groups who target senior citizens for their crimes. Most seniors are fearful of burglary and robbery or physical assaults. These are terrifying crimes.
However, the greatest threat of crimes against seniors comes from fraud and con games, and these can be just as devastating, if not more so, than "traditional" crimes.
BE ALERT WHEN SHOPPING OR OUT IN THE COMMUNITY:
Don't carry credit cards you won't need or large amounts of cash.
Go with family, friends, or a group if possible rather than being alone.
Carry purses close to the body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
Keep all car doors locked at all times. Be particularly alert in parking lots or garages for people just "hanging around". Park near an entrance or exit if possible, there is more traffic at those locations.
Use direct deposit for any checks you receive regularly if possible (e.g. Social Security, retirement payments).
Sit as close to the driver or exit as possible when riding the bus.
If someone or something makes you feel uneasy trust your instincts and leave the area. If necessary move to where there are large groups of people.
KEEP YOUR HOUSE SAFE AND SECURE:
Install good locks on doors and windows, then use them. Don't hide keys outside where they can be found. Instead, leave an extra set of keys with someone you trust, perhaps a neighbor, friend or relative.
Ask for photo ID from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you have any reason to doubt call the company to verify before letting them in.
Vendors in the city are required to obtain licenses and should be able to present them on request. Don't conduct business with anyone selling door to door who doesn't have one. This process is for your protection, and although doesn't guarantee the quality of the company, it at least verifies who the person is and a records check has been performed.
Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstructions, and well lighted so that police and emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
DON'T GET CONNED:
Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true - a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for medical ailments and diseases, or high yield investment schemes.
Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security number, or bank account number to anyone over the phone.
Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything - a policy, contract, or agreement. Read these documents over carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
Beware of anyone claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee. As a twist on this same theme, cons sometimes pretend to be officials trying to "catch" a thief with your assistance. Never go along with these schemes.
If you are suspicious, don't hesitate to call and check with the Sheriff's Office.
If you would like further information regarding the above topics or any other matter that concerns you, please feel free to contact Deputy Greg Johns.
Deputy Greg Johns
Community Policing Deputy