A crowd of seniors who wanted to stay a step ahead of the criminals gathered recently in the conference room of Generations at Oakton Arms to hear safety tips from a police officer.
Generations at Oakton Arms, the independent-living community at 1665 Oakton Place in Des Plaines, hosts a variety of speakers and presentations aimed at benefitting the area’s senior citizens; these talks are always open to the public, and frequently draw as many visitors from northwest Chicago and the adjoining suburbs as residents of the community. The most recent showcase came from Officer Mike Heidkamp, the senior-safety specialist of the Des Plaines Police Department, who explained several keys to thwarting scammers and burglars.
“They’re counting on you to not be able to fight back,” Heidkamp told the Generations at Oakton Arms crowd. “But, if you’re expecting them, then you’re ahead of the game.”
The officer told his audience that they already have their most important tool: their wisdom. Heidkamp urged seniors to simply pay attention to who and what is around them, and listen to their gut.
Some of his tips:
The IRS will contact you only through registered mail. Any e-mail, phone call or unregistered letter (which will often threaten your arrest) is bogus.
If the prince of a distant nation tells you that you’ve won a treasure, but that he needs a down payment first, that is a scam.
When shopping, avoid using credit cards, which are easy for criminals to hack. Instead, use a credit card attached to a service that can alert you when an out-of-character purchase pops up in your account.
Generations at Oakton Arms hosts events like this frequently, as a service to our residents and their families and neighbors. For more information about Heidkamp’s talk, or to learn more about Oakton Arms, contact Kelly Rentas, the director of community relations, at 745-9013.