Statistics show that as we age we are less likely to become victims of a traditional crime. This, perhaps, due to a lifetime of experiences and learning to be alert during times and situations where crimes occur. Studies show that while Seniors are often very alert when it comes to physical crimes like physical attacks, burglary, etc, they tend to be less alert and on the look out for more sophisticated crimes. That is crimes such as frauds, scams and cons. In short, Seniors are more vulnerable to crimes that involve trust. In this era where virtual cash and payments are more common than cash, seniors are increasingly becoming the targets of phone and computer con men out for a quick buck. It is estimated that today, 60%-80% of fraudulent telemarketer calls are directed towards seniors.
Today, the phone is increasingly becoming the method of choice for con men and scammers to target seniors. Here are some tips and advice on protecting yourself.
- Control the conversation when speaking to a stranger. Do not volunteer any information like name or address.
- Always ask strangers to identify themselves when seeking information. If they ask "Who am I speaking to", reply with "whom do you wish to speak with". Hang up if you do not receive a suitable response.
- Do not allow yourself to be engaged in a conversation with a stranger, regardeless of the nature of the call.
- Never give out any personnal information. If in doubt, ask for the name and type of business as well as a number where they can be reached at so that you may call them back.
- Be especially weary of unsolicited Telemarketing calls. Be weary of "too good to be true" calls and do not fall for the pressure sales calls. End the conversation as quickly as possible and ask that you be placed on their do not call list.
Next to phone calls, this is possibly the most common and perhaps the most dangerous encounter. Not only are you in danger from being scammed, you could also be in physical danger from a home invasion type crime.
- Never open the door to a stranger. Resist any temptation even if you have a door chain. Have a 1 way peep hole installed if you do not have one already.
- Establish communication with the door closed. If they are there for a legitimate reason, they will not object to your caution.
- Ask them to identify themselves and purpose of visit. Ask for identification if they identify themselves as being from a legitimate business such as the telephone, power, water company, etc.
- Quitely notify the police should they refuse to identify themselves and will not leave. Do not initiate confrontation.
- If they produce a valid ID and you are still not sure, ask for their business number and ask that they return in say 30-60 minutes. This will allow you enough time to verify their identification with their company and/or contact a friend or relative so that they are present when they return.
Seniors are far more likely to experience accidents in the home. As we age, we are far more likely to become victims of slips and falls. The CDC estimates that over 33% of people 65 and older will fall in their homes each year in the United States. It is no surprise that the falls are the leading cause of injury amongst people 65 and older. Approximately 16,000 seniors die each year from fall related injuries about 2 million are treated in the emergency room for fall related injuries. Amazingly, seniors are far less likely to own a cell phone and use it during an emergency. So what can seniors do to minimize their chances of becoming a victim from fall realted injuries?
- Regular excersice. Low impact exersices like swimming can increase strength and improve balance
- Remove obstacles in the home and/or increase walking space by removing excess furniture
- Improve lighting around the home by adding additional lighting fixtures or lamps
- Always have a phone or a cell phone around in case of an emergency. Cordless phones or cell phones are best as they can be carried around the house and can be accessed easily. Click Here for Senior friendly cell phones