Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tips for Staying Safe at Home and on the Street — Part 2

By Carrie Vittitoe

Safety may become more of a concern as people age for a number of reasons. If you are an adult child, maybe you notice a loved one is having more frequent “senior moments.” If you are a senior, maybe you are now alone at home after the passing of a spouse. Maybe you have gotten a smartphone and are figuring out how to keep your online information as safe as possible. With the help of Paul Fowler, an LMPD detective with the Crimes Against Seniors Unit, this list will hopefully give you some new strategies and tools to consider to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Get Caller ID on Your Phone
If you don’t have caller identification on your landline phone, it is probably a good idea to contact your telephone provider and add the service to your plan. Fowler says even with caller ID, it is a good idea to still be wary, especially if the caller says he is from “customer service.” If you do answer the phone, remember to never give out personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers.

Consider a Video Doorbell
If you have mobility issues or just want to keep tabs on your home when you are away, a video doorbell might be a worthwhile investment. Products range in price from $100-$200. Some video doorbells have night vision and face recognition features that identify visitors by name.

Lock Your Doors
Everyone, regardless of age, needs to remember to lock their car doors, especially if they don’t park in a locked garage every night. Many car break-ins are opportunity thefts: the thief tries a car door, finds it unlocked, and takes the opportunity to steal whatever is in the car. In many cases, a thief will not break a window.

Motion Sensing Lights
Over the years, motion sensing lights have gotten cheaper and easier to install, and there are now motion sensing light bulbs. These are an easy to use tool that can act as a deterrent to real human threats or even pesky nocturnal animals.

Ignore Empty Threats
Scammers frequently use the power of fear to get their victims to do what they want. They may leave a voice message stating that the IRS or the police wish to speak with you. Know that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media platforms; it initiates most contact through the U.S. Postal Service regular mail, and it never demands immediate payment. If a message is left regarding the police, do not call the number that was left on your voicemail; instead, call LMPD at its non-emergency number 502.574.7111.

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