Older Americans become victims of crimes that they are not prepared to protect themselves from. They understand locks on doors but they don’t understand the dangers of answering the phone or the door when someone knocks.
Some of my elderly neighbors keep the front screen locked, and beyond that door is a porch door, also locked. Beyond the porch door is the interior door to the home, that sometimes has multiple locks. The doors are kept locked.
Fewer violent crimes are committed against older Americans than against any other group but they are more susceptible to certain types of crime than any other group.
They are crimes like credit card fraud, mortgage fraud and identity theft. Scammers call during the day trying to get credit card numbers or bank account numbers. Phishing emails that look legitimate arrive almost daily.
There is some consumer information about crimes against seniors on the MN department of commerce web site, and I found some information on the FBI’s web site, but I don’t know how many older Americans are getting this information. The Minnesota site has a fairly comprehensive guide that covers financial planning and outlines common scams.
If you have friends, parents or neighbors who are older Americans, read up on crimes against seniors and don’t be afraid to talk with them about it. Educate yourself and teach someone else. It may be a challenge to get past their spam blockers, caller I.D.’s and locks, but they need to know that there are people out there who can trick them out of their home, no matter how many locks it has.