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5 Crucial Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Seniors

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5 Crucial Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Seniors

In 2016, 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft, with many seniors among that number, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Seniors are frequent targets of identity thieves and scammers for a variety of reasons, including that they are often viewed as lower risks for creditors, making obtaining credit illegally easier. Protect your loved ones from identity theft with these 5 crucial identity theft prevention tips for seniors:

Keep Important Documents Safe

Your loved one does not need every identifying document in his possession every time he leaves the house. In most cases, a driver’s license or identification and a credit card is sufficient to carry for most everyday activities. Because a person’s Medicare number is often his Social Security number, it’s risky to carry around a Medicare card unless going to the doctor. Whenever possible, have your loved one leave his Medicare card at home. Or, make a copy of the Medicare card and black out the last four digits. The first five digits plus full name should be enough to identify your loved one’s medical coverage in case of an emergency.

Discuss Identity Thieves’ Tactics

As their tactics become less effective, identity thieves become increasingly more sophisticated, posing as credit card companies, banks, even the police or government officials. Take the time to talk with your loved one about how her bank is not going to cold call requesting identifying information. If she does receive a call from someone claiming to be her bank, she can ask for the caller’s full name and supervisor’s name, then hang up the phone and call the main hotline number. Oftentimes, this will scare away scammers who cannot provide this information.

Sign up for Identity Protection

Seniors are less likely to monitor their credit scores and bank accounts than younger generations, meaning identity thieves can get by with a stolen identity for longer. An identity theft protection program, such as LifeLock or CompleteID, can alert you and your loved one to any unauthorized access to information or attempts to secure credit. Receiving an alert means you can take action to prevent loss immediately instead of waiting until the breach is discovered, after significant damage may be done.

Monitor Their Finances

If your loved one has a history of buying in to telephone or mail scammers, or you believe he may be, it’s a good idea to get your name put on all bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts. Request that a copy of all statements be sent to you as well as to your loved one, and check online accounts often. You may be able to spot a problem soon after it’s begun.

Hire Trustworthy Caregivers

It’s unfortunate that not all private caregivers are thoroughly vetted by the families and agencies that hire them. Because of this, caregiver identity and financial theft is common among those who receive care assistance. When choosing a caregiver for your loved one, find an agency that runs extensive background checks and maintains strict oversight of its providers. At Advanced Nursing & Home Support, we have provided quality, compassionate caregivers to families for more than 20 years. Each of our home care providers must pass a complete background check before starting employment, so you can have peace of mind that your loved one is receiving top-notch care.

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