Scammers are increasingly targeting older adults. But anyone can become a victim of a scam or crime of opportunity. The Rockville City Police Department offers these tips to protect you from scams and while at home:
- Never open the front door without checking to see who is there first. Install and use a peephole.
- Lock doors and windows. (Three quarters of the burglaries involving older people involve unlocked doors and windows. Fewer than half of these robberies are reported.) Keep garage doors locked.
- Install deadbolt locks on all doors.
- Use neighborhood watch to keep an eye on your neighborhood. A concerned neighbor is often the best protection against crime because suspicious people and activities are noticed and reported to police promptly.
- Notify neighbors when going away on a trip. Cancel deliveries such as newspapers and arrange for someone to mow the lawn if needed. Arrange for mail to be held by the post office or ask a neighbor to collect it for you.
- Keep your home well-lit at night, inside and out. Keep curtains closed. Leave lights on when going out. Use a timer to turn lights on and off when you are away for an extended period. RCPD officers are available to inspect homes and suggest safety improvements. Call 240-314-8900 to schedule a time.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers to make repairs to your home. Deal only with reputable businesses.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for proper identification from delivery people. If they are legitimate, they won’t mind.
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to place the call yourself.
- Never let a stranger into your home. Do not leave notes on your door when you are gone, and do not hide your keys under a doormat or in other conspicuous places.
- Never give out information over the phone indicating you are alone or won’t be home at a certain time.
- If you arrive at home and suspect a stranger may be inside, do not go inside. Leave quietly and call 911.
- Don’t hesitate to report crime or suspicious activity. Call the RCPD non-emergency line at 240-314-8900. In an emergency, call 911.
Find more crime and safety tips with the Rockville City Police Department’s weekly crime reports at www.rockvillemd.gov/271/Weekly-Crime-Reports.
For more information about common scams, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/seniors/fraud-and-scams.html.