Though you may not think of it as a threat to be wary of, identity theft is a serious crime that we must treat with caution. There are actually several types of identity theft, and many of these can affect the seniors we care for. From social security identity theft to the aptly named senior identity theft, this crime is something you want to protect yourself from. Therefore, whether you’re a senior in assisted care or you have a loved one in a nursing home, check out our quick guide on how to protect seniors from identity theft. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Continue to Monitor Financial Accounts
One of the biggest mistakes seniors make is that they tend to stop checking in on their financial accounts as often as they did previously. Whether they feel safe or expect others to do it for them, this lack of checking in makes their accounts a prime target for scammers. Check bank and credit card statements monthly.
Use Online Safety Measures
Another important tip for keeping seniors safe from identity theft is about staying safe online. Most of the main types of identity theft come from online, so it’s imperative to follow the correct safety measures. Make sure any seniors in your life know not to enter personal details to untrustworthy sites. Also, think about adding a virtual private internet connection to hide their identity online.
Frequently Check Credit Scores
Just as it’s vital to consistently monitor financial accounts, it’s just as important to check credit scores. Where you should check statements once a month, you should think about checking credit scores about two times per year. These checks will increase the chances of noticing any sudden spikes or drops in your score!
Shred Important Documents Before Trashing
You may think it’s crazy, but identity thieves think it’s worth it to dumpster dive for documented personal information. Invest in a quality paper shredder so that, if you must throw any important document away, the information will be torn up. If you’re unsure whether you should shred a document, better to shred it before tossing it.
Remember How Government Agencies Get in Touch
This is a great tip for anyone! With people so constantly on their phones or checking emails, many people fall into the trap of giving their information to internet scammers. Remember—any official government agencies will send letters about important information. You won’t get a phone call asking you to provide them with your social security number, and you won’t get an email about sending an updated password. The sooner you and those in your life understand this, the safer you’ll be.