Safety Tips

Financial Security

Protect yourself from financial abuse by making sure financial records are organized and be aware of how much money is in all accounts. You can protect your assets by talking to someone at your bank, an attorney, or a financial advisor to discuss your options for ensuring your wishes for managing your money and property are followed.

  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to share your financial planning matters with so they can assist you with tracking your finances if you are unable to do so yourself.
  • Lock up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information.
  • Order copies of your credit report to review for suspicious activity. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every twelve months. To order your free annual reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
  • Never provide personal information, including your Social Security number, account numbers, or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion from a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to have records of transactions.

For more information, visit FDIC.gov’s Protecting Seniors from Financial Abuse page.

Cyber Security

While the internet brings many conveniences, it also comes with risks. Cybercriminals use sophisticated techniques to appear legitimate in order to conduct identity theft, phishing schemes, credit card fraud and more. Fortunately, making safer and smarter decisions online can be as simple as following these tips:

  • Choose a password that means something to you and you only; use strong passwords with eight characters or more that use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.
  • Keep your mobile devices in your possession at all times and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • If you use social networking sites, be sure to limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Most businesses or organizations don’t ask for your personal information over email. Beware of any requests to update or confirm your personal information.
  • Avoid opening attachments, clicking on links, or responding to email messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information.
  • Install and regularly update the security programs on your computer, such as anti-virus and anti-spyware.
  • Beware of “free” gifts or prizes. If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • It is important to add only people you know on social media sites and programs like Skype and Zoom; adding strangers could expose you and your personal information to scammers.

For more information on Cyber Security, visit the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s website.

Health and Wellness

Consider incorporating the following ideas to have a healthy lifestyle:

  • Pick physical activities that you enjoy and try to have some form a physical activity most days of the week.
  • Stay connected with family, friends, and your community.
  • Consider what you eat: consume more nutrient-dense foods and beverages, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium, seafood, lean meats, poultry, beans, peas, and unsalted nets and seeds.
  • Drink fluids throughout the day, but avoid sugar-sweetened drinks.

For more information on health and wellness tips, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

Recognizing Abuse

Abuse of older and disabled adults is one of the most undetected and underreported problems in the U.S. Abuse of older and disabled adults is usually intentional. It can involve physically harming or distressing the individual or not doing something that a person has a duty to do, such as a caregiver not providing prescribed medications.

If you are concerned that someone you care about may be the victim of abuse, don’t be silent. Here are some signs that could indicate abuse:

  • Lack of basic amenities
  • Cluttered, filthy living environment
  • Unexplained or uncharacteristic behavior
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unpaid bills, new credit cards and/or increased cash withdrawals
  • Harassment, coercion, intimidation, humiliation
  • Caregiver isolates individual

L.A. County Adult Protective Service provides a system of in person response to reports of abuse and self-neglect about developmentally disabled adults, physically and mentally disabled adults, and older adults who may be victims of abuse.

For more information, visit https://wdacs.lacounty.gov/programs/aps/, or call 1-877-477-3646 to report alleged mistreatment. If the abuse includes serious physical injury, or if there is an immediate threat, contact local law enforcement first at 9-1-1.

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