Even though violent crimes against seniors are decreasing, property crimes against people over the age of 65 still take place at an alarming rate. Older adults are often the targets of scams that end up costing them thousands of dollars. However, these five steps can drastically reduce a senior’s risk of being targeted by criminals.
1. Invest in a Paper Shredder
It can be easy for a criminal to steal an individual’s identity by sifting through his or her trash. By stealing a few bills, the criminal can apply for new loans and credit cards in a senior’s name. Paper shredders aren’t completely foolproof, but they deter most criminal activities. Anything that has a senior’s name, address, phone number, social security number, or banking information on it should be shredded before it’s thrown away.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Rocklin families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
2. Take a Look at New Scams Once or Twice a Year
New scams make headlines almost every month. The vast majority of scams may not affect every senior, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for potential risks. Whether the scam involves fraudulent IRS bills or fake companies asking for donations, seniors need to be aware of the most common crimes aimed at older adults.
3. Avoid Unusual Files & Downloads
Even seniors who don’t use their computers or smartphones often might have some personal data stored on these devices. The easiest way for criminals to steal digital information is to trick seniors into downloading unusual files or documents. As a general rule, seniors should never download anything unless they know the sources of the files. They also need to update their computers and software as often as possible to keep their systems secure. Educate your loved one about the dangers of downloading suspicious files, and keep a watchful eye on the files he or she downloads.
4. Always Research Companies
With access to the internet, seniors can easily carry out research on companies. In addition to skimming over the past work and the history of a company, seniors should look at reviews as well. Fake reviews do exist, but seniors can typically get a pretty good sense of a company by reading recent reviews. Companies that don’t have reviews or references should be avoided.
Seniors can also use social media to search online support groups and communities. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional home care seniors can trust and rely on.
5. Turn Away Solicitors
The two most common types of solicitors are those who repeatedly call landlines and door-to-door salespeople. While the occasional salesperson may be from a legitimate company, it’s a good idea to avoid anyone who’s trying to aggressively sell a product or service. Signing up for the Do Not Call registry is one of the best ways to avoid unwanted phone calls, and putting up a “No Soliciting” sign on the front door is one of the most effective ways to legally keep solicitors away.
Seniors with dementia are particularly vulnerable when it comes to protecting themselves against crime. Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Rocklin families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737 to learn more about our customized care plans.