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Don't become a victim of elder abuse; Part two of a two-part series


Last updated 7/24/2008 at Noon

Continued from last week’s issue of the Village News, this is part two of District Attorney Paul Greenwood’s 10 steps to avoiding elder abuse.

Greenwood has put together a guideline called “It’s Not Rude to be Shrewd.” His first five steps included choosing a caregiver with caution, inventorying jewelry, using a shredder, protecting mail and doing credit checks on yourself. Here are the second five.

Every telephone

should have caller ID

This is a simple, inexpensive way of knowing who is calling you before you answer. Phone companies charge around $5 extra per month. This is the easiest way of avoiding calls from unwanted solicitation.

You will never win

a Canadian lottery

As silly as this sounds, there are many people who are convinced that if they send a check their return will be tremendous. Individuals have sent thousands and thousands of dollars in the hope of winning. It just doesn’t happen. These are scams. Don’t end up feeling embarrassed or ashamed because you are a victim. Don’t send money.

Carefully review bank statements

Consider allowing your bank to send a duplicate copy of your monthly statement to a trusted family member or professional advisor.

Banks would not necessarily know if you have funds removed from checking or savings that you did not authorize. It is a good idea for you and perhaps another person you trust to closely examine statements for any discrepancies.

Don’t assume the friendly handyman is licensed

Many repair people are not licensed and have been known to take your money and either not complete or even start a job. If the repair costs more than $500, the repair person needs a license. A business permit is not the same as a state license.

Never pay more than 10 percent of the total contract cost up front. Make sure you get a written contract and that you have a copy. It’s also not a bad idea to get recommendations from family or friends.

Have a second line of defense at the front door

A strong security screen door that locks is a good idea. Never let a stranger into your house, even if they are presenting an emergency that seems real. You can always call 9-1-1 for them.

Often two people will appear. If you let them into your house, one can keep you distracted with their tale of woe while the other could be stealing items from you.

If someone is at your door and you become concerned or frightened, call 9-1-1.

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