Our senior citizens are the reason why we can enjoy all that we have today. It is their hard work that enables us to live a little easier. Unfortunately they are becoming victims of crime, simply because of who they are. Some bad guys like to prey on the elderly because they are less able to defend themselves. And with more seniors around, there can be more potential victims. Some seniors are lonely, some are just alone. Some are depressed and many suffer varying degrees of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that about 10 percent of people over 60 suffer some degree of dementia and about half of all persons 85 and older suffer some degree of Alzheimer’s disease. Aging causes reduced ability to comprehend information, as well as diminishes hearing and sight, all of which makes victimization easier. It also means the elderly need someone to help out with chores, advice, and guidance.
The F.B.I. has given three reasons why they are targets of criminals. First they have a nest egg and poachers are salivating to take it. Second those raised in the era between 1920 and 1940 were taught to respect authority and therefore have a hard time saying no or hanging up on scammer. Third and most importantly, they are afraid to let their family know that they were victims of a crime because of the fear of being deemed unstable and having their freedom restricted.
Currently we have about 65 million seniors in the country and that figure will dramatically rise in the next few years. Those born between 1948 and 1964 (Baby Boomers) are entering that fold, which will bring lots of problems for police across the country and among local authorities. Government in general, and public safety officials in particular, will be called upon more and more often to respond to issues surrounding senior safety.
There are things that we as a community can do to help reduce our seniors from becoming victims of crime. First we must foster a trusting relationship by letting them know that if they are victims of a scam, we will stand by them and help them to recover. Families must make it a point to talk to their parents and grandparents and know who they are talking with on a constant basis. Most con man and scammers rely on isolating a senior victim from their families. Once isolated, they work diligently to rip off the victim. We have investigated many cases where the seniors were not contacted by family for an extended period of time. Second we need to let our seniors know that it’s okay to talk about becoming a victim of scams. They need to have the confidence that they can talk to us without the repercussion of being put away just because they were a victim of scam. Although most people think that only gullible people fall for scams, the truth is that the more intelligent you are the higher the chance of you becoming a victim. That is because smart people can sometimes be persuaded easier.
Scammers and con artist rely on powers of persuasion and pulling on emotional strings. They wage war against the mind. They sometimes are masters of psychological warfare. One very effective method of resisting their garbage talk is to not deal with anyone that is not either recommended or properly vetted. Word of mouth is best. If anyone calls, emails of knocks on your door and you did not initiate the contact. IGNORE THEM!!! It’s okay to not answer them. From this day forward you are being given the power to not only say no but to outright ignore their requests. If they do get a hold of you, do not give them any personal information PERIOD!!
We all lead very complex and busy schedules, but let’s take time out of our day to make sure that our elderly family, friends and neighbors can count on us to have their back. It’s the best medicine for keeping predators away!