Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people who are all too eager to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Whether through identity theft, property crimes, or abuse, the elderly are particularly susceptible to crime. Believing that the elderly are more easily physically overpowered or more easily confused than the average person, criminals often target elderly victims. However, there are steps you can take to protect your elderly loved ones.
1. Protect financial assets.
Identity theft and fraud are on the rise everywhere, but the elderly are especially vulnerable to these crimes. Your loved one may not be technologically savvy and may not use features like online access to financial information. However, if you set up online access for bank accounts and investments, you can monitor their financial activity for signs of fraud. You can also sign up for credit monitoring so that you receive alerts whenever there is suspicious activity, and you can work with banking institutions to set specified maximums for cash withdrawals and credit card purchases.
2. Secure the home.
In addition to fraud, the elderly can be easy prey for burglars and thieves. There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your loved one’s home. For instance, consider installing motion-detecting lights inside and outside the home, and make sure that the external door has a peephole. You should also make sure that your loved one does not leave a spare key in an obvious location such as above the doorframe or under the mat.
3. Restrict who has access to your loved one.
There may be numerous people with regular access to your loved one, such as cleaning services, home health care providers, and the like. You should not assume that these individuals have been subject to careful screening. If you are using a service, request to see the background check results on anyone who will have access to your loved one’s home. You can also run a background check, yourself.
4. Protect telephone communications.
Some of the most common crimes against the elderly are telephone scams, where criminals coax victims into divulging protected information such as bank account numbers and Social Security information. You can protect your loved ones by adding their telephone numbers to the Do Not Call Registry, and also by ensuring that their numbers are unlisted. In addition, consider programming your telephone number into their speed dial settings.
5. Educate your loved ones.
Some of your loved ones need to be educated about crime and criminals. Some elderly people today don’t really seem to show much concern that they will be targeted by criminals. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to put them through a school of criminal justice which will help them to be more aware of their surroundings and teach them what to do if they are being attacked or targeted by criminals.
Although the elderly are vulnerable to a variety of crimes, you can exercise good judgment to minimize risk for your loved ones. You can start today with the easiest crime prevention strategy: talk to your loved ones, and be involved in their daily lives.
This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.