Five Ways to Protect Aging Parents from Identity Theft

iStock_000015638630XSmall-200x300.jpgUnfortunately, seniors are often prime targets for unscrupulous identity thieves. One reason for this is that senior citizens tend to have more attractive credit ratings, making it easier for criminals who swipe their identities to obtain credit cards or loans.

While news stories frequently feature stories about identity theft, many aging parents and spouses are unaware of basic steps that they can take to protect themselves. The following are a few steps that seniors can take to protect themselves from identity theft. Share these tips with a senior loved one in your life!​

Invest in a shredder. Simply throwing away old credit card bills, hospital records, insurance information, etc. isn't enough – nor is cutting these documents in half. To be safe, invest a little extra money in a shredder. You'll be able to finely pulverize those documents and foil any garbage-sifters looking for valuable information.

Be careful with information. Phone scams are very popular; often scammers claim to be associated with a bank or other institution and state that they require some personal information (Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number, etc.) for various reasons. If you get a call from someone asking for personal information, always get the name and phone number of the person calling and tell him or her that you will call back. Then check to make sure that the phone number is legitimate before returning the call.

Don't carry information you don't need. Unless there is a legitimate reason, leave Social Security cards and checks at home in a safe, secure place. Make a copy of your Medicare card. Leave the original at home and only you bring the copy with you – but block out the last 4 Social Security numbers with a black marker so that if the copy is lost, thieves will not have your full number.

Make sure your computer is protected. Taking the time to install trustworthy anti-virus and anti-malware programs can help to ensure that your online information is protected. Do not shop at online sites that do not offer a secure way of storing information.

Choose passwords carefully. All too often people choose passwords that are easy to guess. Rather than 1-2-3-4 or your birthday, pick some random numbers and letters that you will be able to remember but that are not easy for thieves to guess.

These helpful hints are themselves just the tip of the iceberg, but they are a good way to start. Aging parents needs to remember to always be cautious with personal information.

Related Article
Senior Fraud Prevention Kit​-


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