Today more than ever we need to pay attention to warning signals that bombard us from the environment. We can detect all sorts of danger signals, some obvious, others less so. Ignoring the signals can put us in danger. Listening to our gut feelings is a mechanism that can alert us to the fact that something untoward is taking place. It is part of our fight or flight mechanism.
In his book, The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker talks about the survival signals that we all have. Animals have this instinct honed to a great degree, but we humans with our educated minds will often override this natural gift. The age which we live in has opened us up to many areas of potential danger. As we age, we become more susceptible.
Awareness While Walking
We know of the dangers in the city where we live; we wouldn’t walk around at night in an area that is notorious for high crime. When we travel this also needs to be a consideration. We travel to enjoy travel but we need to be aware of our surroundings. There is power in numbers, so avoid walking alone in some of the larger cities. South America, Asia, and even some European countries are notorious for theft. We have known a number of senior women who have had their handbags stolen. In one case, a thief was after a necklace around the woman’s neck. He pulled at it causing the woman to fall and injure her shoulder.
If you see someone looking a bit suspicious, go to the other side of the road or go into a restaurant or other public building. Avoid making eye contact. Also in some cities it is prudent not to look too much like a tourist. Thieves can pick out tourists and they “see” dollar signs.
Real and Virtual Scams
If someone comes up to you purporting to do a survey, or wanting to do you a favor, take a photo, etc., be very careful. Scam artists often use these tactics. If you do a significant amount of traveling as we do, you will eventually run into scammers. Even if you take a tour, the guides will warn you about the potential of scam artists.
We keep hearing of horror stories where seniors get taken in either by someone coming to their door or by fraudulent emails on the internet, and the result is the loss of thousands of dollars. Banks or other legitimate sites will not send an email requesting that you provide or update your password. Not a week goes by when we don’t receive an email purported to be from our internet server or from one of the social media sites claiming that we need to upgrade our details or password. Delete these emails or if you are not sure, contact the server or website directly to determine whether or not it is legitimate.
Then there are the random emails that tell you how you can make an extra $8,000 a month. All that you need to do is sign up, and you’ll be on your way to earning riches––if only it were so simple. If you come across something that seems enticing, do the internet check. Type in the name of the type of offering with “scam” or “con” after it and you will often find sites that have reviewed the product. Many times they are total rip-offs. There are blogs out there that write about scams on the internet.
There are good things out there on the internet that can help us develop certain skills. However, a legitimate business will not ask you for bank details, passwords, etc. Many will ask you for your email if they are going to provide you with either a free or paid product––one that is legitimate. So take the time to develop the awareness of listening more to your gut than your head. It will save you in the long run.
Editor’s Note: Dr Adele Thomas, semi-retired medical doctor and Dr Ely Lazar, retired chiropractor, are on a new mission as the Passionate Retirees. They are dedicated to inspiring the over 50s to live fulfilling and adventurous lives, so that “the twilight years will be the highlight years”. Their book, “Travel Secrets For Seniors” was released in early 2014. With more than 80 years combined of professional experience, their articles, books and workshops cover a range of topics from travel, health, relationships, sexuality and finances for seniors.
“Adele and Ely have always impressed me with their exceptional knowledge, professionalism and positive attitude. Mention their name and the one word that always comes up is respect.” – John Ross, Master Networker