Senior Impact

Transient Crimes and Elder Fraud
What You Need to Know

Most crimes committed against older adults are “transient crimes,”many involving home repairs or diversions. These occur where a person requests to come into the home to use the bathroom, ask for a drink of water, or to “check out” an unreported problem.

Older adults are especially vulnerable to be victims of transient crimes because:
  • They live alone and are eager to socialize.
  • They know that they can’t make needed repairs and fear losing independence, thinking that family members will believe that they are unable to maintain their own homes.
  • They are eager to please and be helpful.
  • They have money at home and in the bank.
  • They may have declining eyesight, hearing or memory which hinder understanding and identification for prosecution.
  • They may be more susceptible to intimidation and influence.

  • No matter how good it sounds, you really can’t get something for nothing or get a “deal” that’s too good to pass up.
  • Do not allow ANY stranger into your home. No exceptions. Bathrooms and water are usually just a few short blocks away – a stranger does not need yours.
  • All gas, water, electric and cable workers have ID badges and would never ask to “check your system” to gain entry, offer to “correct” a problem or a cash refund.
  • Do not sign any contract or use any service offered by a person that approaches you cold by phone or especially “door to door.”
  • Get all work contracts in writing with firm quotes and detailed description of the work to be performed, wait at least three days until the work begins and if you have any questions at all, talk it over with someone you trust.

The most common transient crimes are driveway sealing (small amount leftover from another job), roof sealing, brick or mortar repair, shingle replacement, painting, landscaping, power washing and exterminating. The most common forms of fraud are use of bogus or diluted material, excess empty containers presented to exaggerate the amount of material used, the finding of non-existent “damage,” failure to perform work and extortion for higher payment after the job is completed.
Don’t be afraid to call if you suspect elder fraud. The police want to help catch those who prey on the elderly.

Source: Cincinnati Police Department