BE ALERT WHEN YOU ARE OUT AND ABOUT
* There is safety in numbers. Go out with friends or family, not alone.
* Always, carry your purse close to your body, do not allow it to dangle by the straps. Place your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
* Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
* Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
* Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep your car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. If possible, park in a well lighted area near an entrance.
* Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or any public transportation.
* If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
MAKE YOUR HOME SAFE AND SECURE
* Install good locks on doors and windows. Use them! Don't hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Instead, leave an extra set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
*Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
*Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well-lighted so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
*Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
WATCH OUT FOR CON ARTISTS
* Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true -- a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for cancer and arthritis, a low-risk, high-yield investment scheme.
* Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
* Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything -- an insurance policy, a sales agreement, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
* Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
* If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, or your local consumer protection office. Call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
* Report any crime or suspicious activities to law enforcement.
* Join a neighborhood watch to look out for each other and help the police.
* Work to change conditions that hurt your neighborhood. Volunteer as a citizen patrol, tutor for children, mentor for teens, or escort for individuals with disabilities.