Becoming a victim Autism

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.

Autism and predators


Everybody wants your money
or your time, your services, your free labor, your affection,
use of your home, car, OK you get it.
How do you keep yourself safe in the sea of sharks that our world has become?

Because it is difficult for many autistic individuals to figure out other people’s motives, and because so many of us are genuine, truthful, direct and trusting, anxious to make friends and to interact with others, it is easy for us to become targets for others’ gain.

Many people in the world are all too ready to take advantage of us.

Autism forums are full of reports of those of us who have become victims perhaps many times, without our realizing, at first, or maybe only very much later, what had happened.

I had my share of experiences with misplaced trust and too generous of a nature. I wanted desperately to interact with others, to be thought of as “good”, to do anything I could for the other person to “prove” how good, kind, caring and worthy of attention/affection I was.

In school I gave others money or my lunch, I did other peoples’ homework, I did research papers for my first(now ex) husband, took his tests, worked to pay his tuition and our rent while he went to school and to drinking/drug parties after and used my car both before and after we were married. I forgave him for ‘forgetting” to pick me up after a midnight shift and having to walk home over and over and over, and over.

I would have done anything to keep him from getting angry, or in any way being even the least bit unhappy with me.

I was used for sex, I was used for a place to stay, I was used as an unsuspecting driver of somebody who perpetrated breaking and entry while I waited patiently in my car for them to get back from “having to see somebody about a job”. I gave a car to somebody who “needed it to take care of their family”.
I gave money to people who were hungry, allowed them to stay at my apartment, bought them clothing, food, did their laundry, cooked for them, had sex with them, took care of their pets and their children, unknowingly gave information about friends on vacation and etc which led to those people being robbed. I was used, abused, and eagerly participated in this because I so badly wanted to be cared about/ loved, cherished by anybody.. anybody who would have me, at any cost to myself. I did it over and over for much of my life. Have you done this too?

I was trained to be a people pleasing victim. I was trained in very early childhood to never refuse to do anything I was told to do, to “respect my elders” and to worry if somebody told me I made them angry, hurt, sad, or “made them do that to me” .

I had to get therapy to learn that other people’s feelings were not my responsibility!
I learned that I did not make people angry, they chose to become angry over something I did or did not do.
I did not make other people sad, they chose to become sad over something I said or did.
I did not hurt people’s feelings, they chose to become offended at what I said or did.
What a change of mindset to learn I could make choices too!
I could choose not to drive somebody somewhere for any reason, I could choose not to have sex with somebody if I didn’t feel like it. ( and I never even considered how I felt about any of this, I was only interested in how the other person felt, and to keep them from getting angry.

I could choose not to cook a meal, clean the house, work 2 jobs, do other people’s work … I never knew I had that option, stupid as it sounds now all these years later. I had to have an outsider explain it to me, I simply could not see I had options, I could not think of other ways to handle any life situation regarding other people than the one that I had been trained to (abuse and trauma played their parts in that childhood training too)

My autistic rigidity kept me to the ways I had been trained to respond to others and I never questioned my automatic responses to others’ demands. I needed an outsider to point out the mistaken ideas I had and the alternatives I could choose.
I learned how to recognize when I was being manipulated and intimidated, and I had to learn how to recognize my own buried emotions. I had no idea of when I was angry, because I suppressed and denied it for so long, instead I was sad, impossibly sad, almost all of the time. I had to learn how to get angry, how to figure out what I wanted instead of wondering only what anybody else wanted of me.

When I learned to say NO I learned a very good defense mechanism to be able to avoid being used and abused, victimized. It is never too late to learn how to say no. It is a skill anybody can learn and practice, and you get better at it as you go along!

I also learned the skill of asking a few questions when presented with “opportunities” pleas for funds or assistance, pleas to answer somebody else’s needs of any sort, pressure to give, give, give, serve , serve, serve. Usually these requests come with a “honeymoon” stage.

Online or in person, users will smother you with attention, compliments, seeming words or acts of loving kindness and caring.
Internet scammers will approach you as a potential romantic partner. You are so fascinating, so good looking, so funny, wise, thoughtful, generous!!! They can not wait to interact with you, get angry when you don’t respond to them, want to know all about you.

Then they begin to want things. Money for paying taxes, for a missed payment for rent, for a medical procedure, for tuition for school, for tickets to travel from their home to come see you. Sometimes they do show up, but often there is a sudden emergency and the money is gone, could you send more?

There are plenty of versions of this in real life, with the person doing the scamming “working” several other individuals at the same time , without each victim knowing.
Such a scammer will tell you “its not your business” or” I have to work away from home,” they will not be willing to spend time with your friends or family, will never introduce you to their friends and family, will not want to go places or do things outside of your home.
Don’t be so anxious to be loved that you negate your self worth.
If the individual truly finds you valuable they will not ask these things of you, spend time trying to shame and upset you, threaten to remove their love or attention, etc.
Do your homework. Look into their claimed identity, look into their past, look into their circumstances.
If they do not share information about themselves willingly, and information that you can verify, don’t be fooled. You are worthy of real love and caring, you are worthy of a real relationship, you are worthy of being a true participant in other’s lives, not just a “support system” or a wayside stop.

Not only are individuals out to use you and profit through you, but there are so many online scams to take your money. Among them will be false cures and therapies, false programs with no scientific basis, no actually proven diets, supplements, tools such as lenses, physical “touch” adjustments, various techniques for “re patterning” the brain to make it work better.
Take a look at the very long list of “pseudoscience” listed under Wiki or other pages. Know as much as you can about anything another person proposes you invest in!! not only does this apply to Autism but also seek out scams involving banking, trading, finances, lost or found property, family members introuble, and so much more.

Regularly look for information about the most current scams being played on others… these folks are clever and some of the scams are very difficult to spot.

Research any new autism related or other medicine. Medical scams apply to all fields , wherever there are people desperate for relief be it through a supplement, treatment, claim, cure, or “therapy”, etc .
Search thoroughly and understand if there is actual science behind these claims.
Beware of claims without links to backup studies which have been duplicated repeatedly and which have been published and peer reviewed. “correlation is not the same as causation”. Is a good idea to keep in mind. “who benefits”? is another.

I had a doozy of a day yesterday on a page I admin/ moderate. In the same 12 hour period, there were questions about diet/supplements/ and the possible ties to autism, (there are none verified through science), posts about therapies using claims of breakthrough in stimulation of certain parts of the body to evoke cures of emotional dysregulation,( again, there is no scientific evidence that any of these works) and posts about books , a page set up to look like a blog, and selling books and programs meant as “therapy” using miracle claims from people who underwent the “therapy”/treatment/bought the books.

I call all this stuff “woo woo” and you should too.

Magical cures readily available, new radical discoveries revealed, do it at home and be cured…. does it even raise a question in your mind? It really ought to.

Don’t let predators feast on your hopes and your desires. Reason it out, think it out, do your homework. Don’t become a victim because you want so badly to believe what they are telling you.
I am here to ask you to be skeptical, do your homework on any new theory or cure presented for profit, thoroughly to see if it is backed up by actual science and tests performed and results published and peer reviewed. Be especially cautious if the results seem too good to be true. Usually that is the case.