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I found this check list from The Costa Mesa Police Department. It seems to be the best I’ve seen, so I re-print it A LOT. Please, if you are a senior READ THIS LIST and if you are a friend or caretaker of a senior PASS IT ON!!
When You Are Out
If you must carry a purse, hold it close to your body. Do not dangle it.
Never carry a wallet in your back pocket. Put it in an inside jacket pocket or front pants pocket.
Make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’re expected to return.
Avoid dark, deserted routes, even if they are the shortest.
Carry a cell phone for emergencies.
Whenever possible, travel with friends.
When using public transportation, sit near the driver.
Do not overburden yourself with packages and groceries that obstruct your view or make it hard to quickly get into your vehicle.
Do not leave your purse in the child seat of a grocery cart, whether in the store or in the parking lot.
When you drive, keep doors locked. Park in well lit, busy areas.
Invest in a roadside service program.
If your car breaks down, stay in your car and call for roadside assistance.
When walking, walk with confidence and know where you’re going. Pay attention to your surroundings.
If someone wants to steal your purse or other valuables, do not resist. Your life and safety are worth more than your possessions. Be a good witness.
DO NOT use an ATM when it is dark outside.
Trust your gut instinct! If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave!
When You Are At Home
Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Keep your doors locked at all times, even when you’re inside.
Protect windows and sliding glass doors with good locks and use a secondary security device.
Make your home appear occupied when you go out by using a timer to turn on lights and a radio or television.
Never let a repair or sales person into your home without checking their identification. Call their company to verify their identity if you’re not sure.
Make a list of important phone numbers (gas, electric, phone, cable, and water companies) and place the list on your refrigerator. Then when a repair person comes to your door and you need to call to verify their identity, you have the number at your fingertips.
Install a door viewer and use it when someone comes to the door.
If you live alone, do not advertise it. Use only your first initial in telephone books, directories, mailboxes, and apartment lobbies.
Get to know your neighbors and keep their telephone numbers handy for emergencies.
Create a buddy system with a friend to check on each other daily.
Keep bonds, stock certificates, seldom-worn jewelry, etc. in a safe deposit box.
Do not hide extra house keys under a doormat, planter, above the door, or in other obvious spots.
Make a list of “Important People in My Life” (family members, doctors, friends) and post it on the refrigerator for police or fire personnel to use in an emergency.
Keep informed about the latest con schemes (TV, internet, newspapers). Be skeptical about any proposal that sounds too good to be true or has to be kept a secret. Do not rush into anything. Check it out with friends, lawyers, the police, or the Better Business Bureau.
Never use “I” on your answering machine; use “we.”
If you are the victim of fraud, call the police immediately. You may be embarrassed because you were tricked, but your information is vital in catching the con artist and preventing others from being victimized.
Protect Your Money
Have all checks (social security, pension, investment, payroll) automatically deposited.
Avoid carrying large sums of money.
Do not display large amounts of money.
Do not sign a check or contract until you are sure it’s legitimate. Know the details. If in doubt, check with a friend, lawyer, or the police.
Never put your purse/wallet on the counter while you examine merchandise in a store.
I know it is a lot to grasp all at once, but it does pay off. An alarming number of seniors are being victimized daily, prevention is more important now than it has ever been. Remember KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN for suspicious behavior around your senior family members, friends or neighbors.
By Lisa Magno