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My Blog

Fear the #1 Enabler

Good morning.  What a nice cool day.  Wet, but cool.  I have a lot of work on my worktable that needs finishing this morning.  Started a number of paint projects and am hoping to get things finished so I can start up some more.  I know that if you read this blog and are familiar with me, you know that besides a storytelling, I am also an artist.  So there is much to do each day. 
I was inspired yesterday by a police officer in a class I took.  It was on scams and fear.  It was held in Park Ridge and I must say it was a wonderful class that they offered.  The particular officer was endearing, insightful, helpful and very funny.  This is really a person who you welcome as a speaker.  Doing storytelling, I can identify with his connection to the audience. 
Now the topic that the 2 hour session covered was scams and how they prey on the elderly.  There were lists and lists of scams being perpetrated out there.  Unfortunately fear is the number one thing that they prey upon, and fear is the number one thing that the person on the other side reacts with.  
He began his talk with one word...PERCEPTION....great analogy of the word accompanied it.  Your perception of what occurs can change how you react.  Whether the perception is audio or visual doesn't matter.  Fear tends to take over.  Fear is what the perpetrators use do get you to do things you don't want to do.  Spend money when you don't need to or give out your credit card numbers or CVC when you shouldn't. 
Phone solicitations....if you don't know who the caller is, and you have caller id...don't answer the phone...if they call you and you answer....your answer is at the end of your arm...just hang up. 
It was interesting to me to hear all the scams as well, from mail scams, to phone scams, utility scams and least we not forget the internet scams.  BEWARE!!! 
If you don't know someone...don't open up a random email...Don't give out your identifications. 
Be smart and don't be fearful was his message loud and clear...take a breath and think before you react.  How often, the unsuspected person can be easily duped was amazing to me.  How crime or fear can stalk you for the rest of your life.  There was a woman who was knocked over and had her purse stolen.  From that point on, she never again left her home! 
They fear what else might happen to them.  I totally understood and could relate to that...of course not for myself, but when my mother-in-law was alive and lived with me...she was petrified of what could happen everywhere.  She was a young girl who ran during the war in Poland when the Germans took over during the war. About a year into her families run, they were captured and put into a work camp.  Once she came her...her fear was at it's peak.  My husband shared a story with me about once, when they were out walking, a car had begun to backfire...she grabbed him and threw him up against a wall and covered her small silhouette over him.  She thought someone was shooting!  A woman nearby saw the incident and ran to assure him that everything was okay.  Imagine that kind of fear? 
I remember one day, I was outside in the garden and when I went to go indoors for a glass of water and I had been locked out.  She didn't realize I was outside and saw a door unlocked and quickly locked it.  I couldn't believe how worried she was.  She was afraid to leave a window open at night for fear that someone might break in.  She panicked over letters that came in the mail that she didn't understand.  Random bills that were for something that she never owned. 
Perception was a great word for the officer to use.  A knock at the door can cause fear depending on the type of knock.  The perception of a picture can be changed with a simple suggestion. 
Your fear can enable the crook to take over and control you.  Be smart.  Take control.  Hand up the phone, don't answer the door.  If someone you don't know is there...tell them if they don't leave you will call the police.  If a service person is outside your door and you don't see their vehicle...don't let them in.  If they tell you they are from the village or town you live in and you weren't expecting someone....call the village or town hall and ask if they sent someone? 
All sorts of charities stem out of charities and they all hit you up for donations.  They use tactics that may make you feel guilty if you don't contribute.  Don't bother unless you, yourself call the charity of choice and make a donation.  Find out about your charity on your own.  It's your money...give it where you want...not because you are made to feel guilty about not giving anything. 
My advice is to check out your local police stations or communities to see if there are programs available to educate on fraud and how to protect yourself.  If there aren't....suggest they do something about starting some. 
Be smart, be educated, learn and lessen the fear factor.  Become in charge and in control of your life.  Don't let fear take over your life!  Don't allow fear to disable the quality of your life.  Whatever your fear may be...find a way to educate yourself in a manner that will alleviate that feeling..no matter what the fear may be. 
Our life experiences often times creates those fears and we need to look at them head on and learn how to flush them down the toilet.  Being aware, filling yourself with the proper knowledge is your weapon.  Don't be afraid to use it. 

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