Seniors get security tips at Soboba Springs retirement park

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Andy Leopold, Crime Prevention Director at ADT security systems, joined forces with the Residents Association of the Soboba Springs Mobile Estates senior park in San Jacinto to present a 1-hour program on home security and scammer awareness to an interested group of residents.


Lynda Jacques, District 5 Delegate to the park’s Residents’ Association, said, “Our speaker, Mr. Leopold, shared his experience of home safety and scammer issues with many of our residents who stayed until the end and took home the handouts provided by ADT.”

Schemes and Scams
Leopold started his presentation with a discussion on current scams that many senior citizens are experiencing. To this end, he asked the audience why seniors were targeted so frequently by professional scammers. Some replied, “We’re too trusting; seniors are naive; our memory is poor; we came from a different era; we’re an easy mark.”

Fake phone ID: Cell phone transmissions can now be faked in a very realistic manner. The top of your phone screen can read ‘Internal Revenue Service – Washington D.C.’ Don’t be fooled. The IRS will never call you about your tax bill.

Grandson scam: You receive a call in the middle of the night from a close friend who names your grandson as being held in jail without the necessary bail and you need to send a check now. The variations on this particular scam are endless.

Mailbox fraud: Robbers know that checks usually arrive on the first of the month. If you have an external mailbox, retrieve your mail quickly. The red flag on your mailbox also signals outgoing checks to be scooped up. Recommended: take your important mail to the post office.

Latest scam: You get a call that requires either a yes or no answer. Hang up without speaking! If they can record your voice saying yes or no, they may be able to use those voice recordings to get into your
bank account.

Break-ins
Did you know that most home break-ins occur during the daytime? Approximately 80 percent. Also, in the case of a stick-built house or manufactured home, 70 percent take place at the side or back of the residence. Unbelievably, 72 percent of intruders enter through a door or a pet-door.
Metal security doors, securely fastened to the door frame, are a good start when making your home safer from intruders. These doors are available from prices ranging from $100 – $250 for a standard size door. They can cost another few hundred dollars to install, depending on the condition of your door frames. Remember to keep all keys out of the possession of all but the most trusted workers, or change them when the work is completed.

Leopold strongly recommended installing motion detection lights mounted on the outside of your home, near the roof level. Locate them on the sides and rear of the structure where it will tend to be darker at night. Get your neighbors to do this too, and intruders will be discouraged from trying any house on your street at night.
Moving inside the home, alarm systems that use motion detection to warn of an intruder are superior to those with sensors on doors and windows that can be defeated. Leopold recommended a combination of motion detector alarm system with cameras including one mounted in the doorbell. Eight residents attending the presentation were selected to receive free installations of such a system, just announced by ADT.

Fire Safety
Speaking to a room of manufactured homeowners, Leopold asked them, “What was the #1 cause of fires in their type of home?” The answer: dryer fires. Prevention: clean out exhaust tubes every six months and keep lint traps cleaned.
The #2 cause of fires in a mobile home: electrical failures. Safety tip: if you are not using an electrical appliance, unplug it. That goes for fans, toasters TVs, power strips and anything else you can unplug.
The #3 cause of fires for senior park residents is kitchen fires that are mostly started as grease fires.
Besides cooking flare-ups, electrical fires caused by overloaded extension cords running over hooks and nails all over the home to appliances that are drawing too much wattage.

Free Checklist.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department developed a Home Fire Safety Checklist of 30 questions. The checklist states, “Every ‘No’ answer on this list shows you where your family’s safety precautions fall short. Take action now.”
You can pick up a free copy of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Home Safety Checklist at the Hemet San Jacinto Chronicle office at 135 E. Florida Ave., Hemet CA 92543. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Andy Leopold is an expert in crime prevention and home alarm systems. He can be reached at [email protected].

Fletcher is a resident of the Soboba Springs Park in the article. Reach him at [email protected].

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