Many parents spend years of their lives worrying about their children, and when those same children become adults, the children worry about their parents – about their health, their quality of life and more.
If you have elderly parents you probably worry about a number of things that are out of your control. But one circumstance that you can prevent for them is becoming a victim of identity theft.
Senior citizens are one of the most targeted groups when it comes to identity theft. Social seclusion, confusion and memory loss make our aging parents easy victims of identity theft, phone scams and more.
In fact, a study conducted by Cornell University found that adults who are 60 and older are slightly less able to perceive people's intentions and understand dangerous situations.1 Sadly, this opens them up to a world of exploitation.
The lead author of the study, Nathan Spreng, said: “There’s a huge amount of money locked up in our elders’ assets, and people are actively pursuing them.”
Learn about ReliaShield’s comprehensive identity theft protection today!
If you’re worried your parents could be easily persuaded to allowing their own sensitive personal information and even their money into the wrong hands, you need to know how to protect them. Below are some conversations you should have with your parents, plus some steps you should take to protect them yourself.
Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Seniors
Don’t Trust Strangers On the Phone.
Giving out personal information over the phone is very dangerous. Make sure your parents know to never, under any circumstances, ever do this! Telephone solicitors will try to trick the person who answers the phone into giving up their bank account number, mother’s maiden name and more. They’ll offer free trips and other prizes, but what they’re really after is the balance of your bank account.
Be Wary of Family and Friends.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, around 10% of identity thieves know their victims personally. Does anyone in your family struggle financially or with substance abuse? Unfortunately, even their adult children and closest family friends could be tempted to raid your parents’ bank accounts.
Be Protective Of Your Cards.
It’s a good rule of thumb to not hand over your debit or credit cards unless you absolutely have to. Your restaurant server, nail salon technician or anyone else who walks away with your card has an opportunity to skim it, so try to watch them. Also, cut up any old, unused cards. You don’t want an unused card attached to an open account just laying around.
3 Steps to Take to Protect Your Parents from ID Theft
- 1.Put a paper shredder in their home.
- 2.Keep tabs on their caller ID.
- 3.Install antivirus software on their computer.
Have your parents shred any mail containing sensitive information. They should shred credit card offers, health insurance letters and bank statements. Believe it or not, thieves actually rummage through the trash looking for these types of documents.
If anyone suspicious has contacted your parents, they may not think twice about it or mention it to you unless you bring it up. Every so often, go through the call log on their caller ID and ask them about any numbers you don’t recognize.
Senior citizens are more likely to open, read and forward email chains and “junk email.” Not only do these types of emails feel spammy, but many times they are actually scammy. Sometimes they contain malware that could infect your parents’ computer if they click on a link or download within the email. The best way to protect them from this it to install a highly-rated antivirus software on their computer and keep it up to date.
You Can Protect Your Parents From Identity Theft
We are here to help! When you sign your parents up for ReliaShield’s identity theft protection plan, we’ll monitor their personal and financial information 24/7. We’ll alert you the moment changes are detected.
We cover all identity theft events, including:
- Financial fraud
- Medical ID theft
- Social Security fraud
- Tax fraud
- . . . and more
Get ReliaShield’s comprehensive identity theft protection today!