Did you know that seniors are prime targets for identity theft? Here’s how you can help protect the senior citizens in your family and in your community.
August 21st marks the annual celebration of National Senior Citizens Day – a day to support, honor and show appreciation to our senior family and community members. This important day reminds all of us to get involved and give back to the seniors who have already given so much, as this was the vision of former President Ronald Reagan when he signed Proclamation 5847 in 1988. Part of honoring our senior members is also helping to protect them, and protecting them includes making an identity management plan. Here are ways you can help the senior members in your life stay safe.
Understand the demographic. Identity thieves love senior citizens.
Seniors are seen as an easy target for identity thieves. They tend to be trusting and vulnerable, and may have early dementia or memory loss. This is the perfect victim profile for an identity thief to prey upon. Help them recognize the pitfalls of scams and senior citizen identity theft.
Thieves also love mail.
Identity thieves not only like to steal mail, they also like to send it. Scams can show up in what appears to be from trusted sources, such as the victim’s bank or their favorite charities. The scam mail usually contains “official” letterhead, authentic looking logos and registered trademarks. Help senior citizens vet pieces of mail and confirm solicitations by calling the organizations directly.
Beware of phone scams.
While there are many tech-savvy senior members in our communities, many still rely on the telephone as their primary form of communication. Thieves love using the telephone to call elderly people, pretending to represent charities or financial institutions. Help your senior friends recognize the ways scammers try to take advantage of them, and rely on modern technology to block any unrecognized numbers.
Door-to-door scams are also an issue for senior members.
Home improvement scammers and have been known to prey on senior citizens and other victims through door-to-door solicitations. The scammer may say he or she just happened to be in the area and noticed serious problems with the victim’s chimney or roof – but he or she can fix the problem for a small fee. Once the victim has paid, the scammer may perform work that is completely unnecessary – or may perform no work at all. Remind your loved ones that no reputable company will solicit for repairs on the spot, and to call the authorities if something seems suspicious.
Quick tips for added protection.
Senior citizens and their loved ones can protect themselves against fraud with awareness, vigilance, and common sense. Consumers should never send money, give away their personal or financial information, or click on a link or attachment, without first taking the time to make sure the communication they received is valid.
Remind your senior loved ones and those in your communities that they should never discard personal information in the trash, such as credit card offers, bank statements, medical statements, or social security benefit information. The easiest way to protect themselves is to have the documents they no longer need shredded by a reputable document destruction company.
Legal Shred is privileged to work with our senior members in all the communities we serve to help them protect themselves. Our specialty is shredding all financial documents, bank statements, sensitive mail, credit card solicitations, and other documents that contain any type of personal information.
Remember, anyone can become the victim of identity theft, but with help from the community, we help protect our seasoned individuals this National Senior Citizen’s Day.
You Might Also Like:
- Homeowners: Know When to Hire a Shredding Company
- Identity Protection: How to Avoid Scams
- Analog Theft Still Big for Identity-related Crimes
- Can Your Identity Be Stolen From the Trash?