How Seniors Can Protect Themselves from Being the Victim of a Crime

Health and Safety

Install a peep hole for home safety

Protect yourself by being smart and alert when home, carrying cash, or in your car.

Unfortunately, criminals tend to view senior citizens as excellent targets for crime.  The assumption is often made that someone older will be living alone, be more gullible, or otherwise is just easier to dupe with lies and schemes.  Seniors are often the victims of home repair fraud, car theft, robbery, purse snatching, pickpocketing, and monetary scams.

For everyone, especially senior citizens, it is important to be mindful that these crimes can occur and take preventative measures against them.  One way to do this is to systematically eliminate anything that could give a criminal a better opportunity to commit a crime against you.

This means that you should:

  • Check the locks on all of your doors and windows, and repair any that are not functioning.  In addition, you should keep your windows, doors, and even your screen door locked when you are at home, as well as when you are away.
  • Install a peephole if your front door does not already have one, and do not open the door to anyone you do not know.  Remind yourself, even if it goes against the way you were raised, that it is not impolite not to answer the door for an uninvited solicitor.
  • Never hire an individual who has shown up randomly on your doorstep or approaches you when you’re outside in your yard, to perform any work inside or outside your home.
  • Arrange to have any regular money you receive, such as a social security check, directly deposited to your bank account rather than mailed to your home.
  • Avoid the urge to keep large amounts of cash stored in your home.
  • Trim back any bushes around your home that could act as cover for someone trying to break in.
  • Never give out your social security number, credit card number, bank account number, or any other personal information over the phone, and never transfer or wire money to someone based on a request made via telephone.  Remember that you cannot verify someone’s identity over the phone.  They may be telling you that they are a police officer, a relative, someone raising funds for charity, or a bank teller, but they are not necessarily telling you the truth.
  • Never roll down your window or open your car door for a stranger.
  • Park in well-lit areas if you must drive at night.

These safety tips are good reminders for not only seniors, but for caregivers alike.