Friday, October 5, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Scam
Elderly people are known for their kindness, sense of trust and need for companionship making them easy targets for con-men, but there are tips to avoid falling prey in tonight's Don't Be A Victim.
WSVN -- Eighty-year-old Virginia Coleman was attacked in her own home when she returned from church.
Virginia Coleman: "I just walked in, and he appeared in my bedroom door."
Ninety-one-year old war veteran Leonard Simms, brutally attacked in broad daylight.
Leonard Simms: "Before I could answer he started punching and hit me on the face."
This woman was told she needed new tires.
"I didn't do any of it, I just let him con me."
The con got her to drive to her bank and withdraw a large amount of cash.
Officer Frank Jackson: "To see them becoming victims, it really bothers us."
And, for police, crimes on the elderly are the most difficult to solve.
Mainly because the elderly often don't report crimes fearing their loved ones might think they are not capable of taking care of themselves.
But don't be a victim.
Make sure you're parents or grandparents know what to look for and what to do.
First, the most common elderly crime is the telemarketing scam.
Officer Frank Jackson: "They will probe the elderly, they will ask them questions and get a lot of personal information"
Before they know it, the older person has given out their social security number or, worse, credit card and bank account numbers.
So if you get a phone call from someone asking for that kind of information, hang up the phone.
Officer Frank Jackson: "Understand that is OK for them to just say no and hang up the phone."
If you have a caretaker, be on the lookout.
Officer Frank Jackson: "A lot of times we see employees becoming very friendly over the course of many years, and they end up taking advantage of the person that they are supposed to take care for."
To protect yourself, have a legal agreement of the terms of employment and never give care takers access to financial information.
Officer Frank Jackson: "They are more likely to keep large sums of money at home, these criminals and these con-men know that."
Making the elderly a common target for home invasions.
Thieves will break in to steal monthly social security or pension checks.
Officer Frank Jackson: "So it's very important to get that direct deposit."
And if an older person lives alone, make sure they have an alarm system and good locks.