No matter the age or background, everyone is at risk of identity theft. The internet has created a world of ease for clever scammers who gather personal information for fraudulent purposes. Many in the younger generation recognize this and the importance of protecting their information. But, older generations aren’t as familiar with the digital age. They can be “babes in the woods” when it comes to the risks of identity theft. It’s imperative that family members take a proactive approach to help seniors avoid these problems.
Tips to Avoid the Risk of Identity Theft
Here are a few simple but effective tips to reduce the risk:
- Monitor banks and credit cards. Keep an eye on statements from banks and credit card companies. If you see any unusual transactions, contact the bank right away. The bank can stop the unauthorized charges, and these costs are often refunded to your account.
- Use secure passwords. Although it might simplify things to use your grandchild’s name or your birth year, these common password tactics are easy to crack. The best solution is to use passwords that include random letters and numbers, especially for online banking access.
- Shred documents: It’s essential that you shred any mail or paperwork that includes your personal information, such as a name, address or account numbers. Thieves often go dumpster diving to look for information that can be used in their scams.
- Place sensitive Information in a lockbox: When caregivers and other people are moving in and out of the home, secure sensitive documents in a lockbox. This reduces the risk of someone stealing the paperwork or taking a photo on their cell phone.
A few proactive steps can go a long way to avoiding identity theft. It’s also important to stay alert to other forms of elder abuse, including physical and emotional abuse. If you need assistance with prevention, we are here to help: Email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal advice.