While identity theft affects people of all different age groups, more and more senior citizens are becoming targets of this crime.
There are a few different reasons why older people fall prey to identity thieves:
- After a lifetime of saving, they have more money than younger people
- More people have access to their personal info, thanks to nursing homes and the health care system
- Seniors tend to be more trusting and may not see the signs of identity theft
- Older people are less likely to report identity theft out of fear of losing their independence
Fortunately, there are steps seniors and their caregivers can take to avoid falling victim to identity theft.
- On the web
The rise of the internet has created a wealth of opportunity for identity thieves who target older people.
For example, they might email you pretending to be from a reputable company and ask for personal information, or fish through your social media posts and then use that info to steal from you.
Seniors should never give any personal information out through an unsecured source such as email or on the phone and avoid sharing personal information – such as their birthdate – on social media.
- On paper
Not every identity thief works online. Some still steal the old-fashioned way, using your paperwork.
Keep track of any important papers and store them in a safe or locking file cabinet. If you travel, or are spending time in the hospital, have your mail stopped or arrange for someone to pick it up each day.
Pay close attention to your bank accounts and credit cards, and shred old paperwork, receipts and mail and be careful when disposing of receipts in public places.
- Protecting yourself
The best way older people can protect themselves against identity theft is by educating themselves and their loved ones on common scams, and by using a monitoring service that monitors your online account and social security number.
There are also some legal tools to keep seniors safe from identity theft. How you title assets can make a difference in whether they can be stolen, and setting up a trust can protect against theft and fraud.
If you need help setting up a legal plan to guard against identity theft, the firm of Newman Elder Law can help. Contact us today to learn more.