Senior Safety Tips
National Consumer Protection Week is held annually in March to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General held a Consumer Information Fair at Cornwall Manor recently to share safety tips for seniors as well as present information about the latest scams.
Safety Tips for Seniors
- Talk with family members and friends about your travel plans and daily activities
- Be aware of your surroundings, walk in groups of two or more
- Don’t carry unneeded credit cards or your social security card with you
- Never post your travel plans on social media sites
- Only use ATMs that are inside of a bank or business and shield your PIN from view of others.
- Close and lock windows when you leave the house, keep your doors locked at all times, even while you are at home
- Don’t let strangers into your home. Ask all delivery people and utility workers for identification
- Never deal with a contractor who shows up unsolicited
- When you are gone for more than a day, make sure your home appears occupied – use automatic timers to run on lights and a radio or television
- Always place a hold request on mail and newspapers while away and also park a second vehicle in the driveway
- Do not hide your keys under the mat or in other conspicuous places
- Never give your personal information (bank account numbers, routing numbers, social security numbers) to anyone who contacts you and asks for it.
- Never send money, wire transfers or pre-paid cash cards to someone you do not know – even if they tell you they are calling from a police station
- Never allow your bank card or credit card out of your sight.
- Banks, credit card companies and government offices NEVER call you to verify your personal or account information
- Law enforcement agencies will not contact you and demand that you make a payment of fines over the phone or internet
- No one can win a lottery for a country they’ve never visited or a sweepstakes they didn’t enter. You have to “play to win.”
- No offer to share millions of dollars, recover wealth, or provide large sums of money for you to distribute to charity will require you to provide ‘money up front.’ If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!
- Beware of heath care scams, never release information to any health service provider that you did not contact directly
- Report any crime or suspicious activity to local law enforcement, never intervene
Consider registering for the Pennsylvania ‘Do Not Call’ list to avoid receiving unwanted telemarketing calls. You can register at www.attorneygeneral.gov or call the helpline at 1-888-777-3406.
- You can register your home telephone and cell phone numbers
- There is no fee to register
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of consumer fraud is to know your rights and stay informed. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General is here to assist you and can be reached at 1-800-441-2555 (Consumer Protection Hotline) or www.attorneygeneral.gov
Additionally, Pennsylvania has a Senior Protection Unit that can assist with elder mistreatment, phone and email scams, deceptive business practices like home contractors, car dealerships, banks and sweepstakes. Contact 1-866-623-2137 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For deceptive medical practices, medical records access, denial of coverage, or billing disputes, older adults can contact the Health Care Section at 1-877-888-4877 or email@example.com