Crimes Against the Elderly-Financial and Home Security Advice for Seniors by Security Expert Jordan Frankel
As a senior citizen, you have much to think about and plan for in terms of your health and your financial well-being during your golden years. But there’s one thing many seniors don’t give enough thought to—their increased risk of a wide range of financial crimes and abuse.
Financial Crimes Against the Elderly
At present, there is no uniform crime report that accounts for the financial victimization of the elderly population in the U.S. However, studies by the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEB) and the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging reveal alarming numbers. For example, in 1998, the NCEB estimated that nearly one third of the elderly abuse crimes reported involved financial fraud. In a study conducted in 2000 by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, it was found that over $40 billion had been manipulated from senior citizens through telemarketing scams.
The cleverness of today’s criminals can make identifying a scam very difficult. From fancy business cards and flyers to phony uniforms and credentials, some criminals go to great lengths to disguise their scams as legitimate business transactions.
A Popular Phone Scam Among Senior Citizens
One popular phone scam that elderly citizens easily fall victim to involves a company that calls and claims that as a result of a recent class action suit, they have been ordered to reimburse their previous customers a certain sum of money. The caller then states that you are one of those customers and explains that all they need to process the refund on your behalf is a credit card number. For those who take the bait, often times the scammer will call back to ask for another credit card number because the first one provided was declined.
What’s really happening here? You got it. The scammer is stealing the victim’s credit card information and making multiple purchases with it as they speak. In many of these cases, the scammers reside in foreign countries, making it virtually impossible to enforce any type of legal action.
Dishonest Service Contractors and the Elderly
Another common problem among seniors is dishonest contractors charging them much more for their services than what they know they can charge their younger customers. This is often the result of contractors with no integrity preying on the memory and other cognitive incapacities that come with age. It’s usually not until after the contractor leaves that you realize you got scammed. These situations can be very difficult to resolve because there is not much you can do to get your money back if you agreed to the contractor’s terms.
Consumer Protection Tips for Seniors
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling prey to a fraud and other financial scams. Such steps involve practicing safe consumer habits, which include the following:
- Verify the credentials and reputation of service vendors with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB). As a consumer, you can also request a copy of their local business license prior to hiring someone. Reputable service contractors should have nothing to hide.
- Beware of door-to-door salespeople seeking donations for charity organizations, as this is a popular scam in some areas. While the charity may be a legitimate one, the person asking for money may not be. Don’t take any chances!
- If you’re uncertain about how much you should pay for a particular service, do some research before agreeing to the transaction. The internet, other business competitors, friends, and family can all be excellent resources for gathering the necessary information you need to make a competent decision.
- NEVER give your credit card number or other financial or personal information to anyone who unexpectedly shows up at your door, calls you on the phone, or emails you. As a rule of thumb, if you didn’t request to do business with the person, don’t give them your time or your money.
Harassment and Elderly Abuse
Another common problem among the elderly is harassment and abuse. As we age, our physical and mental health declines, making us more and more dependent on family, friends, and professional caretakers to meet our daily needs. Unfortunately, not everyone has the best interests of the elderly at heart, and some find pleasure in taking advantage of their frailties.
In cases involving harassment by one or more individuals within your neighborhood, such as a neighbor doing donuts on your lawn or teenagers trespassing and vandalizing your property, providing the police with evidence is your best bet to putting a stop to the harassment and the crime. The same is true when you’re looking to prove mistreatment or theft by a caretaker.
Catch the Criminal with a Home Security Video Monitoring System
One of the easiest ways to capture a crime and the criminal behind it is to equip your residence with a wireless home security camera system with a built-in DVR and wireless plug-and-play LCD monitor. The benefit of having a wireless LCD monitor with plug-and-play technology is it allows you to keep an eye on whatever is going on inside or outside your home from any room in your house. All you need to view camera footage on the monitor is an electrical outlet. The built-in DVR allows you to record the video feed from one or all of the cameras included with the system, even when you’re not home.
A quality home security video surveillance system does not have to break the bank. You can find a high quality system with multiple cameras and other important video monitoring features for less than $600. Some of the important features you want to look for include the following:
- Multiple (3 to 4) weather-resistant indoor/outdoor video cameras with built-in microphone for audio.
- Infrared (IR) night vision (up to 15-feet of visual range at night).
- Portable LCD monitor with built-in DVR and audio speaker for listening to camera audio feed.
- Multiple DVR/recording options (motion activated, schedule, manual)
- High quality video display (640 x 480 resolution).
- Secured spectrum 2.4 GHz system to prevent privacy leaks and interference.
- Video output feature for optional external display monitoring (allows you to view video footage from your TV).
- Affordability—you should be able to get all of this and more for less than $600!
With age, our physical and cognitive abilities gradually decline. So the older you get, the more vulnerable you become to crimes. To protect yourself against financial fraud and other crimes against the elderly, be sure to include consumer protection and home security into your plans so that you can enjoy better peace of mind during your golden years.
Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.
Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:
The American Society for Industrial Security.
The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.
The Society of Professional Locksmiths.