The Parker Police Department would like to remind senior citizens of the following basic safety tips to avoid becoming a victim of a crime:
Be Alert When Out and About
Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
Go with friends or family, not alone.
If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train or subway.
Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
Make Your Home Safe and Secure
Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction and well lit so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire and medical emergencies.
Install good locks on doors and windows. Use them! Don't hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Instead, leave an extra set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
Watch Out for Con Artists
Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true - a free vacation; sweepstakes prizes; cures for cancer and arthritis; a low-risk, high-yield investment scheme.
Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything - an insurance policy, a sales agreement, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau or your local consumer protection office. You can also call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800.876.7060.
Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
Get Involved in the Community
Join a Neighborhood Watch to help and look out for each other.
Report any crime or suspicious activities to law enforcement.
Work to change conditions that hurt your neighborhood. Volunteer as a citizen patroller, tutor for children, aide in the police or fire department, mentor for teens or escort for individuals with disabilities.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.
Do not put your credit card number on the internet unless it is encrypted on a secured site.
Do not use your mother's maiden name, birth date or last four digits of your social security number when creating a password.
Do not write your social security number on checks or give it out to businesses.
If you order a new credit card, make sure it arrives within the appropriate time. Cancel all credit cards you have not used in the last 6 months.
Never carry your social security card, birth certificate or passport unless necessary.
Order your credit report at least twice a year. Correct all mistakes with the credit bureau.
Shred discarded documents such as bank statements, pre-approved credit card offers and insurance forms that contain financial information.