Photo from Laurel Lake Senior Care Center in October 2015
One of Prosecutor Walsh's primary goals is to educate as many senior citizens as possible on ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim of crime. Speeches to senior groups range from how to minimize the chances of being targeted by a criminal, to protecting themselves from assaults, car-jackings, purse snatchings, robberies, burglaries, and con artist scams.
As part of Prosecutor Walsh's outreach efforts, she declared September as Senior Citizen Safety Awareness Month and produces an annual calendar that captures her crime safety tips.
To schedule Prosecutor Walsh's safety speech or to order a calendar, you may contact the Prosecutor's Office.
DID YOU KNOW?
'Credit Card Skimming,’ is a method thieves use to steal your credit card information. They use a little illicit technology that captures the card’s magnetic information, allowing the data to be used for fraudulent purchases. Criminals can have a skimmer stashed out of sight of customers. Make sure your card stays within view at all times. If you have become a victim of skimming, call the police. Contact the bank or credit card issuer and immediately tell them your card data has been stolen.
What is Phishing? - Facebook Topic
In 2015, the most common type of Facebook scam is called Phishing. You could get links from people informing to click to get prizes or cash. These are received either by chat or posting on your Facebook page. This needs to be reported to Facebook once these types of messages are received.
FOR THE HOLIDAYS
1.Beware of phony charities.
2. Do not confirm your identity in emails.
3. Leave lights on when you are not home.
4. Keep your garage door closed at all times.
5. Get estimates and referrals for home repairs.
6. Take a friend or family member when shopping.
7. Don’t talk on the phone while walking to the car!
8.Go through a licensed company for health care aids.
9. Do not give out personal information on the phone.
10. Check your finances regularly for fraudulent activity.
11. Don’t answer the door if you are not expecting someone.
12. If you feel uneasy about someone, get security to escort you to your car.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO KEEP YOUR SELF SAFE
- Don't assume you are safe because it is daylight. Crime occurs just as often during the day as during the night.
- Consider carrying a cell phone for emergencies.
- Criminals look for victims who they think will be easy targets and will be surprised - walk confidently.
- If something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
- Be aware of your surroundings! Constantly look to your left, to your right and behind you to see if anyone is following you.
- Do not carry identification with your name and address on your key ring. If your keys are stolen, the thief has your address along with your keys.
Protect Your Home
- Do not hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Give an extra set of keys to a trusted neighbor or friend.
- Stop newspaper and mail deliveries if you are going away.
- Consider an alarm system for fire, burglaries, and medical emergencies.
- Don't lève your house unlocked during the day while doing outside projects.
- Never open your door before knowing who is there. Install and use a peephole. Have deadbolts installed on doors. For sliding glass doors, have a hole drilled through both doors and secure with a pin through both holes.
- If you arrive at homes and suspect a stranger may be inside, don't go in. Leave quietly and call 911 to report the crime as soon as possible.
- If you have an answering machine, leave a message so it seems as though you don't live alone - something like "Sorry, we cannot come to the phone..."
Avoid Deceptive Lending Practices
- Slow Down! Never act quickly! Avoid lenders who promise guaranteed, low-interest loans and next-day approval if you pay them some money today.
- Never sign the title to a property without clearing the mortgage.
- Avoid balloon payments! These loans sound attractive because the monthly payment is small, but the last payment is very large.
- Have at least two other people you trust read a contract before you sign it.
If you have questions about the mortgage loan, call Housing Contact Services at (330) 376-6191.
- Beware of workers driving around neighborhoods offering repairs for a low price with leftovers from previous jobs! It will cost you a lot more when the job is done.
- Get at least three estimates before hiring someone to do home repairs and call the Better Business Bureau ((330) 253-4565) or check their website (www.akronbbb.org) before you hire someone to do a job for you.
- If someone starts repairs on your home without your permission, call the police immediately!
- Ask for I.D. from service representatives who come to your home and check with their company to verify their identity before letting them in.
Beware of Con Artists
- Beware of men and women who approach you with a sad story and ask to borrow money from you. This is a common scam!
- Beware of persons dressed as construction workers or meter readers wanting in your home! They usually work in pairs and while one is distracting you, the other is stealing your valuables. Call the company where they say they work before letting them in your home.
- Beware of men and women who approach you in stores asking for help with finding an item. These con artists work in pairs. While one person is distracting your attention by asking for help, another person is stealing your wallet.
- Beware of a professional-looking person who tells you he is a bank official and needs your help in the investigation of a dishonest teller. He asks you to withdraw cash from your savings account and give the money to him so he can check the serial numbers. You do what he asks, and you never see him or your money again.
- Don't fight with a purse snatcher! Let go of your purse. Your safety is more important.
- If carrying a wallet, don't carry it in your pocket. Keep it in the front pocket or inside pocket.
- Don't dangle a purse so a thief can run by and grab it! If wearing a coat, carry your purse over your shoulder and under your coat.
- Don't leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart.
- Beware of cars driving past you slowly. Purses are often snatched by criminals in moving vehicles.
- When driving, keep you purse on the passenger floor of the car where it is more difficult for someone to reach in and grab it.
Be Cautious of Telemarketers
- Don't give out personal or financial information over the phone.
- Don't give out your name. If they called you, they should know your name.
- You may want to invest in a Caller-ID box to see who is calling before you pick up the phone. If you don't recognize the number, you don't have to answer it.
- Be cautious of high pressure sales tactics such as prizes, awards, and deals that are only available if you act right away. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true. If in doubt, hang up the phone. In Ohio, it is against the law to require anyone to make a purchase or pay anything to claim a prize.
- Request written information form any organization soliciting you over the phone and have someone you trust review it before you act.
If you suspect fraud, call the National Fraud Information Center at (330) 876-7060.
Safeguard Your Finances
- Have your social security or pension check directly deposited into your account.
- Be sure the person who handles your money can be trusted. Do not sign a check or contract until you are sure it is for a legitimate reason.
- If you receive checks in the mail, arrange for them to be sent directly to the bank.
- Vary the routine of your banking: days, times, and branches.
- Never withdraw money from your bank accounts for anyone except yourself.
- Use your body as a shelf while you enter your access code, so no one can see you type it and never tell your access code to ANYONE (including bank employees, the police, etc.)!
- Use a shredder to keep sensitive information from inadvertently falling into the wrong hands.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone. Also, do not confirm the information someone may say they have.
- Put outgoing mail in a secure box so no one can take it.
- Do not put your social security number on checks or other documents.
- Cancel unused credit cards and shred them. Shred checks left from a closed account as well.
- Never keep your pin number in your wallet or purse or allow someone easy access to it.
- Take credit card receipts and carbons with you so someone else does not have access to your name and number.
- Go with a family member or friend when possible and park near an entrance.
- Don't carry large sums of money.
- Lock bundles or bags in the trunk. If interesting, packages are out of sight, a thief will be less tempted to break into your car.
- Have your keys ready when you approach your car.
- Follow your instincts! If you get a bad feeling about someone while walking to your car, don't ignore that feeling. Return to the store and find someone to escort you to the car.
- Pay close attention to any persons sitting in a car or van parked next to your car. If you feel uneasy, enter your car from the opposite side or return to the store for an escort.
- When returning to your car, check the front and back seat before entering.
- Don't carry large sums of money on you. Use travelers' checks instead that can be easily replaced.
- Carry your money, ID cards, and credit cards in a money belt under clothing rather than carrying a purse or wallet. This keeps it hidden from plain view and close to your body at all times.
- Don't count your dollars in public when leaving a restaurant, store, etc., or display large sums of money. Use a cash card or credit card whenever possible.
- If you go on vacation, set timers for lights and appliances to go on at different times. A lived-in house is less likely to be targeted.
- If you will be renting a car, study the area in advance. Ask your hotel clerk or travel agent about unsafe areas to avoid.
- When you stop behind another car at a traffic light, make sure you leave enough room so you can safely pass around the front.
- If you are alone in your car and someone bumps your car from behind or if your car breaks down, stay in your car. Ask another motorist to call for help if you do not have a cell phone.
Is Your Friend A Victim of Abuse
- Notice changes in your friends. Does your friend have unexplained bumps, bruises or cuts?
- If you don't hear from elderly friends for several days, stop by and check on them.
- Be alert to salesmen at elderly friends' homes.
- If elderly friends tell you about someone, including family members, inappropriately spending their money, report it to the police.
- Notice the condition of elderly friends' homes. Are their homes clean? Does your friend look malnourished? Is your friend receiving proper medication?
- Start a buddy system where you and a close friend or neighbor check in with each other once a day.
Call Adult Protective Services for help at (330) 643-7217.