Many of us are aware of the dangers of identity theft and assume the risk when we use our debit or credit cards when shopping. But did you know that identity theft has become a more common issue for the aging population? This is an often over looked group because one would think they are more protected because they are not making as many electronic purchases and are likely using checks. However, seniors are often prime targets.
Identity thieves like aging adults because they find them more vulnerable either because they are socially isolated, they have lost a spouse or they suffer from some dementia coupled with the fact that seniors are usually friendly and trusting. It is therefore important to make parents aware in order to protect themselves from strangers and potentially a family member with substance abuse issues.
Some protective measures include:
1. Guard Credit Cards – When shopping or at restaurants, watch staff closely. Thieves use small scanning devices to read the identifiers off credit cards. Also, cancel any cards which are rarely used.
2. Be Cautious about Copying Identification – Trust whomever you show your driver’s license to. Often times, identification is only used to verify the name on a credit card or to verify a check. There are few places which actually need to copy your driver’s license.
3. Use a Shredder – Shred documents with addresses, credit card solicitations, outdated personal account statements and other sensitive documents rather than just recycling them.
4. Mail Letters at a Mail Box or Post Office – Don’t leave outgoing mail in your mail box in front of your home. Identity thieves are known to go through mail and take information off checks which include your name, address, account number and routing number.
5. Be Careful Not to Release Information over the Phone – Be cautious not to provide personal information and financial account information over the phone. Telephone solicitors can trick people into providing such information and use it to steal their identity.
We don’t want to scare mom and dad or even you, but, it is important to be aware and be careful!
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