Sadly, as we get older, we are viewed by many as an easier target for crime. Older people are viewed as being more vulnerable and alone and as such, there are a lot of people who will attempt to take advantage of that situation.
It is important to be aware of what types of crime seniors are more vulnerable to and also what to do to help prevent those crimes from taking place.
The following are some useful tips on how to defend yourself if you feel as though you may be the victim of a crime.
Emergency phone and contacts at hand
One thing that is going to be essential when it comes to protecting yourself is a suitable phone for seniors. If you have an accident or you need to contact someone quickly, you need to make sure you have a good cell phone that you keep with you at all times.
You can also ask a family member to help you set up a speed-dial option so that you can contact them quickly in times of an emergency.
Make sure you check all locks regularly
Whenever you leave your house, you should always make sure that all of the doors and windows are locked properly. Leaving any windows or doors open will be an invitation to criminals and you may end up having some of your most treasured possessions stolen.
You should also regularly check that all of the locks in your housework properly and if they don’t, you should either contact a local locksmith to come and fix them or let a family member know who can help you arrange for them to be fixed.
If you have any concerns about suspicious people around your property, you should also let a member of your family know or if you think it is justified, you should contact the local law enforcement and let them know as well.
Another smart option is to get a peephole installed on your front door. This will allow you to see who is outside your property and will also allow you to decide whether or not to answer the door.
Do not leave your belongings in plain sight
This is another one that is incredibly important to pay attention to. A lot of senior people own a lot of special jewelry or sentimental items and these can often be easy targets for thieves. You should make sure that you do not leave any of these in view of your windows or doors, especially when you leave your property.
On the same note, you should also not keep huge amounts of money in cash in your house. A lot of seniors tend to prefer to keep their money in cash or hidden away in a pot somewhere on their property. This is not advisable, especially if someone finds out where you keep it.
Be careful online
The internet is an excellent invention that has changed the way we live our lives. Unfortunately, some people use the freedom of the internet to target vulnerable people and to make money from them. These are some tips you should follow to ensure you are safe on the internet:
Always check with a family member: For those who are not used to using it, the internet can be a terrifying place. Asking a family member to help you use the internet safely and watch out for you is a wise move. Younger people have grown up with the internet and they understand what to do better than a lot of seniors. You could also ask them to help monitor your e-mails and interactions so that you can be sure that no-one is going to try and scam you.
Never follow links from unknown sources: When you are browsing the internet, you may see adverts pop up on your screen telling you something like ‘you have been selected for a prize’ and asking you to follow a link. Do not follow these links.
One useful way you can stop this happening is to get a good anti-virus installed on your computer. You can ask a family member to help with this or visit your local computer store.
Do not reply to unsolicited e-mails: A common type of scam online is when a person receives an e-mail from an unknown source asking for some sort of help or offering to give away some sort of inheritance. As much as these e-mails may pull on your heartstrings, it is important to make sure that you never respond to them. You can also ask a family member to help you get these kinds of e-mails re-directed to your spam folder so that you never have to encounter them again.
Never give away your details: A lot of online scams tend to involve you giving away some of your details in order to obtain a prize or to help out a person in need. You should never give away your details, especially your bank details, online unless it is a trusted website. A site will never ask you to give away your pin number or your social security number so be aware of any website or form that does.
Another important thing to remember is to never share your passwords with someone that you don’t trust. Sharing them with a trusted family member may be useful for you, but you should make sure that you do not give them to anyone else.
Phone calls can be another way that people attempt to scam elderly people out of their money, so keep an eye out for the following:
Unsolicited calls: If someone calls you from a number you don’t recognize, then you should avoid answering the phone. You can consult with a family member or caregiver to check whether or not they recognize the number. If you have a missed call from an unknown number, then don’t ring it back unless they have left a voicemail and it is someone you know.
Sales call: One of the most persistent types of scam calls is the sales call. These are people who may sound friendly when you answer the phone but they are trying to sell you something that you don’t want.
These kinds of calls can be incredibly persistent and you should make sure that you do not hand over any sort of details if you get in a phone call with them. If they begin to ask questions about your bank account or social security, politely tell them no and hang up the phone. You can also contact a family member and ask them to help you get these kinds of numbers blocked.