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1 Safety Throughout Your Life Version: 1.0 (October 2, 2012)

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Presentation on theme: "1 Safety Throughout Your Life Version: 1.0 (October 2, 2012)"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Safety Throughout Your Life Version: 1.0 (October 2, 2012)

2 2 Presentation’s Goal: To examine the various crimes against persons from your age group and to look at what preventative measures can be taken to prevent them.

3 3 Objectives ‣ Review current data and future projections ‣ Review demographics ‣ Learn how you feel about crime ‣ Examine the most frequent crimes that occur including financial crimes, property crimes, violent crimes, and abuse ‣ Learn preventative measures to stay safe

4 4 What does the data indicate?

5 5 Elders Today ‣ A large demographic group ‣ Estimated 37 million Americans. (That’s 1 in 10.) ‣ Constitutes 12 percent of the U.S. population

6 6 More people getting older ‣ Americans 65 years old or older are a fast-growing demographic group. ‣ In 2012, the baby boom generation will begin to turn 66. ‣ By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 72 million seniors. This is equivalent to one in five Americans!

7 7 Predictions for elders: Elders will live longer. A larger demographic may make it possible for greater victimization.

8 8 Elders and Crime

9 9 Fear of crime ‣ Two-thirds of elders believe they will inevitably be victims. ‣ Many elders alter their lifestyles because they fear being victimized. ‣ Almost half of those age 75 or older are afraid to leave their homes after dark. ‣ One-third of elders say fear of crime has contributed to a sense of loneliness and isolation.

10 10 Fear of crime (continued) ‣ Other reasons why crime prevention is important to elders Potential recovery from physical or financial injury is often limited. Loss of money or physical faculties have more severe effects than on other age groups. Media frequently portray the elderly as victims or, at least, as being vulnerable.

11 11 Most common types of crimes against elders Financial crimes Property crimes Violent crimes Elder abuse Financial criminals generally seek to take cash, credit, credit rating, or other assets by deception. Property crime is any crime when money or valuables are damaged or stolen from a person, home, or business without direct personal contact. A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. Elder abuse is a general term used to describe certain types of harm to older adults.

12 12 Financial Crimes ‣ These crimes include: Fraud Scams Identity theft Healthcare fraud

13 13 Financial Crimes (continued) ‣ Financial criminals generally seek to take cash, credit, credit rating, or other assets by deception. ‣ These are very capable criminals. Many have excellent people skills and/or talent with computers and similar electronic gear. ‣ Robbery involves a confrontation and the threat or use of force, but financial crimes often involve people who are pleasant and seemingly helpful.

14 14 Why are elders frequently the target of financial crimes? ■Seniors often have accumulated resources. Many own their homes and have insurance, pension plans, savings, stocks and bonds, and similar assets that may not always be closely monitored.

15 15 Why are elders frequently the target of financial crimes? (continued) ‣ Vulnerabilities based on lifestyle Many are accessible by telephone and mail, have time to listen, are too polite to hang up, keep assets readily available, have limited experience with investments, can no longer perform home repairs, and are deeply concerned with maintaining finances to last them through their lives.

16 16 Why are elders frequently the target of financial crimes? (continued) ‣ Vulnerabilities based on lifestyle Many are isolated by disability, fear of violence in the community, lack of peer friendships, or lack of transportation. Many are trusting or complacent or forgetful of details and may be embarrassed to admit they were victims.

17 17 Fraud ‣ Fraud involves deceit in the commission of a financial crime. ‣ Those who commit fraud offer prizes, deals, opportunities, and bargains. ‣ They may advertise with a teaser (e.g., “Earn money working at home!”) or with a phone call announcing a “golden opportunity to invest.”

18 18 Fraud (continued) ‣ Fraud can take many forms. Examples include home repairs, auto repairs, new carpet or appliances at bargain rates, work-at-home schemes, weight loss and similar health-related programs, stock and related investments, overseas investments, overseas lottery prizes, amazing deals on commodities trades, and more.

19 19 Fraud (continued) ‣ Older people are major targets—they make up about 12 percent of the population, but 37 percent of telemarketing victims, according to one study. A telemarketing fraud artist told investigators, “It is an article of faith in this business to go after the old folks.”

20 20 Identity Theft ‣ A growing threat: More than 10 million Americans per year are victims of this crime; although seniors are currently a small percentage of that number.

21 21 How Identity Theft Begins: ‣ There are many ways that a criminal can capture key information about an individual. A “pre-approved” credit card mailing A reply to a phony request to verify account information A bill from a credit card company A receipt with a name and card number A list that a computer hacker has stolen and sold Mail or bills from discarded trash Stolen wallets or purses

22 22 Identity Theft (continued) ‣ The criminal uses information to make a purchase or obtain additional information about a person’s identity. Social Security number Bank account number Credit card number Driver’s license number

23 23 Identity Theft (continued) ‣ The criminal then exploits the identity by: Piling up charges on an account Taking money from a bank account Opening a new account Applying for a loan

24 24 Discovering the Theft ‣ Eventually the exploitation is discovered when the victim: Receives a bank statement with unknown transactions Finds newly created credit card accounts Tries to apply for a loan and is denied Is arrested for a crime committed by the thief when using the stolen identity

25 25 Reporting and Restoring the Identity ‣ The victim reports the identity theft to the police and to the major credit bureaus. ‣ The victim asks the credit bureaus to note the crime on his or her credit reports. ‣ Depending on the state, the victim may need to consult with a local victims’ assistance agency or an attorney for specific steps that can be helpful or necessary.

26 26 Reporting and Restoring the Identity (continued) ‣ The victim should also file a complaint through the Federal Trade Commission registry at ‣ The victim needs to complete an affidavit of identity theft, available at’s identity theft

27 27 Preventing Identity Theft ‣ Make sure you are aware of these prevention tips: Shred all discarded mail with personal information. Routinely monitor financial accounts and billing statements. Make a copy of everything in their wallet in case it is lost or stolen. Keep records of conversations and copies of all correspondence.

28 28 Preventing Financial Crimes ■If someone makes an offer that seems too good to be true, assume that it is too good to be true!

29 29 Preventing Financial Crimes (continued) ‣ Demand details in writing via U.S. mail and save the envelope, which permits the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to help investigate any criminal acts. ‣ Assume that anyone who “must have an answer immediately” is trying to get you to act before you think. Insist on time to investigate the offer on your own.

30 30 Preventing Financial Crimes (continued) ‣ Keep track of everything you own that is a financial asset. ‣ Monitor credit accounts, bank statements, stock and pension fund statements, properties you own, and similar assets.

31 31 Financial Exploitation ‣ Many criminals consider senior citizens easy targets for scams because they: May have a “nest egg” to spend or invest Might be lonely and more willing to talk to strangers Are less likely to report fraud than other age groups May not have their partner and confidant to talk to

32 32 Preventing Financial Exploitation ‣ Minimize isolation Family and friends can help with early detection. ‣ Formal credit checks of elder’s finances ‣ Background checks on caregivers or people close to possible victim

33 33 Financial Exploitation Warning Signs ‣ Overdrawn bank accounts ‣ Junk mail piling up at home ‣ Numerous phone calls from numbers child/caregiver doesn’t recognize ‣ “Gimme” gifts—cheap, useless items like whistles, hats, rulers, or bumper stickers

34 34 Telemarketing Fraud ‣ Criminals use high-pressure sales tactics and psychology to exploit the trust of victims. Remember: Offers that seem too good to be true usually are. You do not have to be polite to salespeople. When on the phone, always feel free to say “No,” and hang up. It’s not rude – it’s shrewd.

35 35 Telemarketing Tip #1 ‣ Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and trust the person or agency receiving the call. Legitimate callers will not ask for this information. “I don’t give out personal information over the phone. I’ll contact the company directly and provide them with the necessary information.”

36 36 Telemarketing Tip #2 ‣ If the caller says something is free, then they shouldn’t have to pay to receive it. ‣ They should not need to pay handling charges or taxes. “I shouldn’t have to send money for something that’s free.”

37 37 Telemarketing Tip #3 ‣ “Limited time offers” should not require an immediate decision. ‣ Legitimate callers will not rush you. ‣ You should sleep on it for a day or two. “I’d like some time to think about this. Tell me how I can get in touch with you. If I’m interested, I’ll call you back.”

38 38 Telemarketing Tip #4 ‣ Be wary of any caller that tries to convince you not to speak with anyone about the call. “I’d like to take some time to discuss this with my family and friends, and I’ll get back to you if I’m still interested.”

39 39 Telemarketing Tip #5 ‣ It can be hard to understand the details of an offer. ‣ Request to receive details in the mail. ‣ All legitimate business offers and investments should be able to comply. “If you can’t mail me the information, then I can’t talk to you.”

40 40 Property Crimes Against Elders

41 41 Property Crimes ‣ Property crimes against elders include Burglary Theft

42 42 +90% More than nine out of ten crimes against the elderly are property crimes.

43 43 Property Crimes (continued) ‣ Property crimes, not violent crimes, represent the highest share of crimes against those 65 years old or older. ‣ This includes burglary from a business or residence and auto theft. ‣ Victims of property crimes suffer financial losses and may feel violated and continue to feel unsafe long after the crime.

44 44 Preventing Property Crime at Home ‣ Set up timed lights and have a trusted neighbor pick up mail and newspapers while you are away. ‣ Make sure your windows and house number are visible from the street. Illuminate doorways and walkways. ‣ Trim shrubs. ‣ Ask the police department to perform a security survey.

45 45 Violent Crimes

46 46 Violent Crimes ‣ Seniors experience the lowest number of victimizations and lowest rates of victimizations when compared with the general population. ‣ The violent victimization rate of seniors has declined by more than 22 percent since 2001.

47 47 Violent Crimes (continued) ‣ Elders are victimized at an annual rate of 2.8 per 1,000 persons. ‣ Robbery disproportionately affects seniors. It accounts for a quarter of the violent crimes against seniors, but only one-eighth of the violent crimes experienced by persons ages 12 to 64.

48 48 Preventing Violent Crimes ‣ Remember that most violent crimes (except robbery and purse snatching) take place between people known to each other. ‣ Walk assertively, but not aggressively, in public areas. ‣ When going outside, go with a friend if possible.

49 49 Preventing Violent Crimes (continued) ‣ Carry only the cash and/or credit cards that are immediately needed. ‣ Don’t take shortcuts through deserted or dark areas. Stay where there are lights and people. ‣ When traveling, check with hotel staff about areas that should be avoided. ‣ If you’re confronted by a robber, hand over your money or valuables. They’re not worth your life.

50 50 Elder Abuse

51 51 Elder Abuse ‣ Approximately 500,000 elders are victims of domestic abuse each year. ‣ Estimates are that only 16 percent of cases are reported. ‣ Family members are frequent offenders; adult children are responsible for 47.3 percent; other family members, 8.7 percent; spouses, 19.3 percent.

52 52 Elder Abuse (continued) ‣ These types of crimes include Physical abuse Sexual abuse Emotional or psychological abuse Neglect Abandonment Financial or material exploitation Self-neglect

53 53 Possible Signs of Physical Abuse of Elders ‣ Although one sign might not indicate abuse, many of these are common. Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns

54 54 Possible Signs of Neglect of Elders ‣ More possible signs of elder abuse Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation. Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.

55 55 You don’t need absolute proof to report abuse. Even if you just suspect abuse, call for help.

56 56 What To Do About Elder Abuse ‣ Keep in touch with older friends and gently question any signs of physical, financial, or emotional abuse that you suspect. ‣ Don’t be surprised if a friend denies abuse; remain in touch, concerned, and observant.

57 57 What To Do About Elder Abuse (continued) ‣ If signs persist, call your local police department. If you are uncertain, check with someone at a senior center or another friend. ‣ Share information, arrange talks by professionals in the field, and set up connections to helplines that can advise seniors on preventing and reporting abuse.

58 58 General Safety Tips ‣ Follow these tips at home: Use sturdy metal or solid wood doors, and install and use deadbolt locks (1 ½ inch throw or greater). Use wide-angle viewers in doors at different heights if necessary. Light up entry doors; use motion detectors or floodlights. Trim shrubbery around doors and windows and make sure the address is displayed for emergency personnel. Give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.

59 59 General Safety Tips (continued) ‣ At home Ask for photo identification from service, delivery or utility workers before letting them in. Ask law enforcement for a free home security survey. Consider installing an alarm.

60 60 General Safety Tips (continued) ‣ Out and About Go out with friends and family, not alone. Walk purposely and know where they are. Walk down the middle of the sidewalk rather than along doorways or the curb. Keep purses close to their bodies and wallets in front pants or jacket pocket. Carry only cash, credit cards, and ID that will be needed.

61 61 General Safety Tips (continued) ‣ Out and About Use busier, better-lit stops on public transit. Sit near the bus driver or with several other passengers. If someone seems to be following you, turn in the opposite direction or cross the street. If they persist, approach the nearest group of people and ask for help. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.

62 62 General Safety Tips (continued) ‣ In the Neighborhood Know your neighbors. Report crime and suspicious activities to police. Start or strengthen a Neighborhood Watch group. Find out if their area has community policing, and get to know the officers assigned to their neighborhood.

63 63 Emergency Preparedness ‣ No one expects to deal with disaster, but everyone can prepare for them. Senior citizens should be ready to deal with emergencies like Earthquakes Power outages Flooding Fires Toxic spills

64 64 Emergency Preparedness (continued) ‣ Make sure seniors stock up on supplies for at least three days Food, water First aid kit, medicine Phone numbers of local and nonlocal relatives Personal hygiene supplies Battery-powered radio, flashlight Change of clothes, extra keys Cash, change, credit cards

65 65 Emergency Preparedness (continued) ‣ Checklist Post emergency phone numbers by phone. Arrange for someone to check on you. Plan ahead for transportation. Have an evacuation plan and practice it. Find the safe places in your home for each type of emergency.

66 66 Thank you. Sean McGee and Dusty Johnson UAF PD/CTC Law Enforcement Academy and

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