autism and being a target
Autism and vulnerability, autism and trusting nature, autism in old age, autism as targets of crime.
I probably have your attention now!
Statistics from internet sources confirm that autistic individuals report being victims of crime more frequently than the general population.
There is much speculation about why this may be so. Those with autism become easy targets once our trust is gained, and since for many of us, our “social radar” and ability to detect hidden motives is poor, we can be tricked, conned, lied to, manipulated, pressured and intimidated into situations that others may more easily be able to avoid.
One way we can help ourselves to stay safe and be less likely to become victims is to learn about the types of crime and how we can spot it, protect ourselves, what measures we can take to be safer in public and or at home, this includes the internet and email/ forums/ things like dating services, social groups, and any interactions we may have with others.
Especially as we grow older, we become focus of predators who may want to use us for their own benefit. Younger people need to watch more for sexual predators and how they may be placing themselves in jeopardy physically. As we grow older, adults need to watch for those who want access to our bank accounts, credit cards, household valuables, the drugs we may take to alleviate pain in our poor health as we age, and the multiple ways scammers use to access us and play upon our lack of social skills, lack of self confidence, our trusting ways being usually non suspicious by nature, etc are amazing.
Simply being aware that there are predators “out there” may not be enough! Learning about the ways they work can help us spot unlikely behavior and questionable motives.
Home improvement scams and home help scams : Predators gain access to your home and may present you with what seems like “cheap” help , fix a roof or paint the house, put in new steps or drive/walk? Sign this contract, and oh, by the way I need at least half of this in cash as an advance .
Dating and romance: sometimes people pretend to be romantic interests in order to get you to give them money. I just need $$$ because I need surgery, my son is disabled and needs an operation. I’ll by the engagement ring but I don’t have enough for the deposit, I need money to complete school when I graduate I can fly to you. I need money for rent, for tickets to fly to meet you, for helping my poor granny…. any plea for money online or the phone before you have ever met somebody “in person” (or even after) especially if they promise love love love and tell you repeatedly after only a short period of contact how much they care about you… that should set of huge alarm bells.
Photos of the handsome/ beautiful person you are talking to are not likely to be the actual individual. No matter how lonely you are, no matter how much you want companionship or a partner…. think it through. Can you find them in city/state/records or other places on the internet as proof of their actual claims (address, phone number, employnent history, tax or voting records?) Romance scams may be the most painful of all. Guard your heart and your finances.
Need somebody to clean or cook or help take care of household needs or personal things such as toileting and bathing/ dressing? Watch them go through your things and take what they want, including what may be in the medicine cabinet . They may give hints that they are poor and needy and ask for loans, ask for forwarding of salary and then deny they recieved it and demand payment. Might want reimbursement for things they claim you asked them to purchase (food, meds, something for cleaning, car care, etc) Might want to bring a friend to visit … might look through your personal files to see what your financial status is, steal checks or pass books, ask you to sign papers and try to keep you from reading and understanding what they say.
The best thing you can do is talk to others to learn how these scams and theft are done. The internet can help, sometimes senior centers or police departments can help with instruction or more information.
Your local librarian may be able to help you find more information, and of course there’s always the internet.
Phone scams: somebody calls claiming to be a relative in jail, medicare, your bank, your doctors office or pharmacy, your credit card company. Anybody who asks for information about your bank account number or your credit card number is probably fraud. Tell them you will call them back, hang up and call your bank, etc yourself from the numbers on your own records (don’t use recall feature or phone ID number from which you received the call)
Internet scams: Beware of
People who post sad stories about needing money for medical bills, dental work, their mission work, home fire, family problems, etc. wanting money to find a lost family member or a lost pet. Wanting you to give your money to them for any sad reason at all. even If you have lost a pet and somebody claims to have found it, or another lost item and says they are far away and need money to return the lost item. Postage, shipping, travel expenses?
Somebody who sees you are a golden person with a good heart, a beautiful smile, how much they love your posts, but they are not anybody you ever interacted with before. Be my friend, I am so glad I found you!!!! beware!!!!
People with good deals especially for you. Just send a deposit for shipping , handling, taxes (you have won the lottery!!!!) etc.
Emails from a foreign prince telling you he needs your help… ( this has become a joke, but some people must have fallen for it at some time because the scam in many forms still exists and if it had failed and was not profitable, predators would have changed their methods)
Surveys on the phone or on line: Can gather huge amounts of information about personal possessions or habits, security measures, bank accounts and investments,
Do educate yourself on the ways fraud and theft happen especially to older folks. We might not have learned about personal safety when we were young, but we can do our best to protect ourselves in our older age by learning basic safety not only for our personal well being but also how to protect ourselves against the sea of metaphorical sharks “out there” who would like nothing better than to have access to our homes, our savings, our possessions, our health and credit records, etc etc. You have it in your power to prevent these things from happening.
If you feel inadequate to do your own research, reach out to social service agencies, the police, your local senior center, the library, or trusted others to help you get the information you need to protect you life and assets from predators. Autism may make us more vulnerable, but we can help ourselves to see beyond the friendly voice, the smiling face, the helpful “friend”… I hope this sets us to thinking about finding new ways to be safe as we age.
Becoming a victim Autism
autism and being a target