In March 2017, the Wholistic Health Team hosted Angela Larson, supervisor for Seniors Crime Assistance and Victim Witness Assistance section of the Collier County Sheriff’s department. Angela was a delightful and informative speaker. As many of you were unable to attend this important meeting, I thought I would summarize some of the more interesting points that Angela stressed. Learn methods to protect yourself, so that you may be smart and not fearful.
One of the contributing factors for seniors being dubbed with a scam is isolation. So as church members, we need to become “good neighbors”—get to know our neighbors, pew mates, those in facilities and homebound. Develop buddy systems.
Angela related that seniors over age 65 are more likely to fall prey to property crimes than violent crimes. She provided several suggestions to avoid becoming a victim:
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Walk with confidence.
- If you notice someone loitering, go ahead and make eye contact.
- Shop in pairs when possible.
- Women—never leave your purse in the shopping cart.
- If you intend to leave your purse in the car, place it in the trunk before you leave home.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Posing as a Warrants officer on the phone (if the county has a warrant on you they will never call ahead!).
- Tax Fraud—filing your taxes and receiving your return! The IRS will never ask for personal information over the phone.
- Grandparent Scam: Receiving a phone call from “grandchild” or family/friend asking for money. Spend time to develop a “code” word for family members that only you and they will know.
- Home Repair Frauds: Before hiring someone to work in your home, check with the County Building Department to see if they are certified. Ask for and check references. Don’t pay before work is completed.
Don’t call back to the number the person on the phone gives you. Call the Sheriff’s office at 252-CALL to verify if this is a scam/fraud.
- Threats over the phone/Internet
- Asking for money to be wired or green dot cards
New scams/frauds pop up daily. Talk to your friends before sending anyone money. Call the Sheriff’s department if you have any questions/concerns. Don’t let someone else steal your money and peace of mind.
Joyce Geary, Parish Nurse