Senior citizens are one of the biggest targets in the eyes of criminals. Over 35 billion dollars are stolen yearly from the elderly across the US, be it through direct theft, fraud or abuse.
Seniors are prone to ID theft for various reasons: their mind is not as sharp as it used to be, they tend to be more naïve and optimistic and oftentimes they put their trust into the wrong person or they just refuse to get help or assistance in various matters because they don’t want to be deemed needy.
Regardless of the reasons, ID theft among the elderly continues to increase. There are some measures you can take for your beloved senior to keep him from becoming a victim.
- Turn to an ID protection service. These services can monitor all the necessary information and offer assistance should your loved one become an ID theft victim.
- Monitor their caregiver. It goes without saying: your senior’s caregiver has to be clean and 100% trustworthy. Do your homework before you hire someone, do a thorough background check and continue to monitor them after they are hired. A lot of times ID theft is an inside job and it’s not committed by strangers
- Shred any of their personal documents once they don’t need them anymore. Before letting them throw away any document that contains valuable or traceable information, shred that piece of paper first. This way it becomes significantly harder for criminals to use the data on them
- Inform seniors about the most common scams conducted through phone or email, so they won’t get fooled that easily. Insist upon targeted types of scams like ‘free medical tests’, discounts for certain drugs and other freebies, used by scammers who want to find their financial information.
- Keep an eye on their financial activity. Even after you’ve instructed them and warned them about potential risks and scams, try to still make time to check on their financial activity from time to time. Monitor things like their bank statements, credit cards, etc., to detect anything suspicious before it’s too late
- Teach them to check their credit reports on a regular basis. They might not be eager to do so otherwise, since at their age, it is highly unlikely to apply for significant loans that require them to do that. By checking their report at least once a year, they can detect any suspicious activities or changes in their financial information.