Crime prevention tips for seniors
Personal safety and crime prevention tips apply to everyone regardless of age. However, seniors are even more vulnerable because they are predominately very trusting of people and have a desire to help others.
Every community experiences criminals that prey on the elderly. Most recently, a New Westminster senior was scammed for several thousand dollars by a suspect pretending to be the victims long lost relative in need of money due to some bogus emergency.
This type of scam usually involves the fraudster conducting some research and learns of the victims family names, such as grandchildren, nephews etc. The suspect will then make contact with the victim either in person, over the phone or, by e-mail. The suspect will ask for money to pay for a medical emergency, house repairs, sick children, airplane tickets etc.
Each year thousands of seniors are affected by investment frauds targeting seniors. Remember that there are several types of frauds, and they can be originated in person, by phone, through mail and e-mail.
There are some things seniors can do to further reduce their likelihood of being victimized.
Is someone claiming to be a relative or friend of a relative that is in need of emergency money?
Don’t provide them with money or personal information. Refer them to another family member. Ask them for their phone number and advise them that you will discuss it with other family members. Always confer with a family member or close friend. When in doubt, contact the police.
Were you called out of the blue about your personal finances?
Be wary of unsolicited callers requesting details about your finances.
Be skeptical about ‘get rich quick’ claims, be skeptical about the ‘sick’ relative call.
Don’t give out personal information such as birthdates, credit card numbers, social insurance numbers, bank card PIN numbers, family members names etc. Banks and credit card companies do not ask for such information over the telephone, e-mail or at your door. Criminals are able to send out e-mails to thousands of people at a time. These e-mails are allegedly from your bank asking you for all of your personal information and account numbers. These fraudulent e-mails are indistinguishable from a legitimate banks website even to an expert. However, banks do not ask you for personal information over the telephone or e-mail.
And lastly, family members and friends of seniors need to discuss the presence of fraudsters in our society. Openly discuss the types of scams that criminals will employ in an attempt to steal the seniors of their cash and property. Fraudsters are despicable for the clever tricks that they employ. Praying on the good graces of seniors is about as low as you can go.
For more information on this and great tips on senior safety, contact the New Westminster Police Crime Prevention Unit. Or visit, www.seniors.alberta.ca their website also includes some very helpful videos for seniors to view.