SENIORS AND IDENTITY THEFT
Senior citizens, people 65 or older, are a prime
target for identity thieves. In fact, last year
Experian reported that
over 12% of seniors reported that they had financial
records/information stolen from them.
How come seniors are such an easy target
for becoming victims of identity theft?
-- Seniors typically are not checking their credit reports
regularly. Nor are they monitoring all of their financial accounts.
-- It is very common for retirement home workers and/or assistants
to have total access to record and financial information. This makes
it very easy for these types of workers to take advantage of the
people they are caring for.
-- In general, seniors usually have larger cash reserves and home
-- Seniors are not aware of the modern day scams that go on.
What is the result when a senior citizen falls victim to an
Banks accounts will be drained. In addition, credit card debt
will be racked up, loans will be opened and/or cell phones and other
services will be activated.
How is one's identity stolen?
-- Internet scams - Emails that request info about
credit card info, bank accounts, etc. This is called 'phishing'.
-- Dumpster diving - Personal paperwork is
obtained by going through garbage.
-- Phone scams - A thief will call up their prey,
acting like an insurance or credit card company or even a charity.
They will request personal info for verifying account info.
-- Wallet theft - It is very common for seniors to
carry their Medicare and Social Security cards with them.
-- Record theft - When personal records are
stolen...including Social Security and medial records.
-- Personal theft - When someone close to the victim,
like an employee, nurse, relative or friend has the ability to
access and compromise accounts and/or steal from the residence.
How to prevent seniors from becoming a victim of identity theft:
There is no 100% method for
preventing identity theft. You need to be careful at all times.
Below are some useful tips that will help you avoid and
detect identity theft.
-- Keep all sensitive docs locked up in safety
deposit box at your bank or in a safe in your house.
-- Periodically go over your financial and credit records. It is
important that you
obtain copy of your credit report at least once/year.
-- Do not disclose any personal info during a phone call unless you
are the initiator of the phone call.
-- If you are considering making a donation, make sure you research
any potential charity.
-- Never carry your Social Security and/or Medicare card with you.
-- Destroy all paperwork, mail and other personal documents with a
paper shredder before throwing them out.
What if I become a victim of identity theft? What should I do?
The crime must be reported to the police immediately. Also,
contact your bank, credit card issuers, etc. and let them know that
you are a victim of identity theft.
Learn more about what steps to take if you become a victim of
identity theft by
Children and Identity Theft
Great Ideas for Senior Citizens for Preventing Identity Theft
Often Target of Identity Theft
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