When people think of crime during the winter months, they imagine the sadness of Christmas presents stolen from residences and vehicles. But any season with unusual extremes of weather can bring out a different kind of criminal, one who might not necessarily be violent but can still imperil your finances, holiday spirit, and general peace of mind.
In the winter, some unscrupulous people take advantage of others by using what Danville, Kentucky Police Chief Tony Gray calls a “relative in jail scam.” Basically, a scam artist calls or e-mails their intended victim pretending to be a distant relative incarcerated overseas. Earlier this year, several people in his community lost thousands of dollars to this scam. Unfortunately, Gray is far from the only law enforcement official to report that more crimes occur during the winter months.
Another problem that is prevalent during the winter time can be difficult to prosecute. Some people who do “odd jobs” talk a homeowner into contracting with him for services such as snow shoveling, roof work, raking, and discounted home renovations. These scammers typically demand a deposit so they can “buy supplies” but instead disappear.
Stolen gifts or money, especially when many people are financially struggling, can lead to serious health risks in some cases. Stress levels in the body are usually higher after someone becomes the victim of any crime and can lead to gastrointestinal distress or even depression. Depression can quickly become a serious threat to someone’s life, especially if he already has financial problems. People who become victims of crime during the holiday season may feel obligated to use any remaining funds to replace stolen gifts. This can lead some people, especially senior citizens, to skip or reduce their medication and food expenses