Senior citizens are often seen by criminals as easy targets. Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves and the Nassau County Police Department want to offer you some safety tips to help minimize opportunities for criminals to try and take advantage of you.
HOME SAFETY – • Always lock doors and windows.• Don’t rely on a chain lock to keep people out of your home.• Consider installing a security viewer on your home.• Have dead bolt locks placed on all exterior doors.• Never hide keys outside. Burglars know most hiding spots.• Always ask who’s there before opening door, even if you are expecting someone.• If the person at the door is wearing authoritative clothes or a uniform, ask that credentials and ID be held up to view before you open the door.• Most companies/utilities will call before sending personnel to your home and will make specific appointment times.
TELEPHONE SAFETY – • Do not volunteer any information to unknown people over the telephone; name, home address, social security or PIN numbers.• Hang up quickly on suspicious or obscene callers.• Be aware of phone scams, such as people calling as the IRS and saying you owe them money or telling you a relative is in trouble and needs money quickly.
MAIL SAFETY – • Thieves target senior citizens’ mailboxes to steal Social Security or retirement checks and know the date of their arrival.• To prevent this, place a lock on your mailbox or have checks directly deposited to your bank, credit union, etc.
STREET SAFETY – • Avoid traveling alone, there is safety in numbers.• Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.• Do not wear or display expensive jewelry.• Put your money in a secure place and don’t carry large amounts of cash.• If you must walk at night, choose busy, well-lit streets.• Always let someone know where you are going and when you are expecting to return.• If you take a taxi or car service, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside before leaving.• Always have your door key ready when walking up to your door to avoid becoming distracted while fumbling for key.
SHOPPING SAFETY – • Carry only a small amount of cash and a minimum of credit cards.• Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart or on a counter.• Place a thick rubber band around wallets and place them in front pocket to avoid being pickpocketed.• If someone distracts you as your are making a purchase be sure to close your purse or wallet and hold onto it.
BEWARE OF CON ARTISTS – • Con artists can work alone or in groups, they are women and men, young and old and may pretend to be repairmen, inspectors, police, lost, distraught or desperate people.• Con artists are smooth talkers with a well-rehearsed story. • Don’t believe the baloney! Beware of strangers with a story.