“To Catch A Thief” was the title of a movie released in 1955 about the exploits of a cat burglar.

“To Catch A Thief” was the title of a movie released in 1955 about the exploits of a cat burglar.

In those days’ thieves stole money by breaking into homes, businesses and banks, since that’s where the money was.

With the coming of the Internet, crime has morphed into methods, which wouldn’t have been dreamed of in 1955. Yes, today there are still the old criminal methods, but, now crooks can go after targets while putting themselves at minimal risk. These targets can even be people with little or no assets, as in Identity Theft.

However, the bigger targets are trusting individuals. Many of whom are seniors brought up in an environment of having faith in others to do them no harm. Unfortunately, those days have passed and the belief in unquestioned faith still exists within seniors. Consequently, this makes them prime targets for crooks.

So, how can seniors protect themselves?

It starts with knowing how to identify and thwart an attack and also where to obtain assistance after being exploited? Knowledge is the keystone to stay protected. I often have people call me about a deal they’ve been contacted about. They wanted to know if it’s safe.

My advice is simple and twofold. If you were concerned enough to call me, that little voice inside your head has already said stop, listen to it!

My general advice is that if someone contacts you out of the blue for a great deal, in person, by phone, email, mail, social media, even by smoke signals, just say no. Will you miss something, maybe, but chances are it’s a good deal for the contact and not for you! There many resources available on the Internet to see if an issue is legitimate.

I have assembled about 1,000 tips and videos on my website www.stopthescam.org. If you’d like some quick summary tips, click on the “Public Service Announcement” tab on my site, it will show the top twenty scams making the rounds, each runs ten to seventeen seconds.

If you have already been exploited, call your State Attorney General office.

You can find a full listing for each State at http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/stateattorneygenerallist.php. They should have a section where their goal is to reduce the victimization of senior citizens often targeted for specific crimes or scams. There is no cost to you. Your conversation and report are usually confidential without public or family embarrassment.

My website also includes a section on where to file additional complaints located within the “Predatory Scams-Frauds-Cons section, under the “Abuse Complaints” tab. Agencies use these reports to aggressively go after crooks to prevent others from becoming a victim. William Kahn, President Renbar Associates, LLC, 603 Chickapee Trl. Maitland FL 32751, (407) 647-1713, renbar@earthlink.net