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Keeping Seniors Safe
August 13, 2010
by: Pat Hernandez
The Census Bureau estimates that beginning next year, the senior population will grow faster than any other demographic in every single state. The Houston Police Department presented a forum geared toward keeping senior citizens safe in our city. Pat Hernandez has more.
Members of the HPD's Community Outreach Unit held a senior safety forum at Wheeler Avenue Baptist in southeast Houston, designed to address particular safety issues. They included disaster preparedness, personal safety, 2-1-1 and how to avoid scams. Candace Twyman with the BBB says scammers targeting seniors is a growing problem.
"85 percent of all telemarketing fraud is targeted to older adults, and right now $60 million dollars has been wasted in Medicare fraud. So, they are vulnerable in that sense because they are targeted because they have stuff that others need and want."
She says seniors unknowingly contribute to one fraud with two items they should keep secure.
"They have something that's very valuable, which is a Medicare number and a Social Security number, which people can then use to defraud the U.S. government out of millions of dollars committing medicare fraud."
Houston Police officer Warren Jones says they get seniors involved with activities like raffles for items like flashlights, smoke detectors and other safety items.
"The most important thing to me is that they're their first line of defense. The police department is here to do everything they can to make sure they're okay, we need them to pay attention to what's going on and be safe, and pay attention to what's going on around them and addition to that, don't become victim to any type of crime."
Jerrie Newsome was glad she attended.
"It's important because we as seniors need to have this information to know the kind of preparation we need to make, not only for hurricane safety but for house safety too, because we do have a tendancy of being careless and the more we know, the better we can survive."
You can find more safety tips by logging on to www.houstonpolice.org.
Pat Hernandez, KUHF News.