At the top of the consumer complaints list to the Federal Trade Commission for the past three years is identity theft. This can be an even bigger issue or just simply a fear, for senior citizens who are not as familiar with the Internet as younger adults or even teenagers.
Where the people in their 20+ use to top the list of these complaints to the FTC-the shift has now turned to 50+ adults. Identity thefts target those they see as the most vulnerable. A main target is the 50+ audience because they tend to be too trusting of strangers.
This vulnerability opens the door for crooks to take advantage of the 50+ peoples’ available assets and income. There has been in fact, a progressive rise in senior identity thefts from 2011-2013. In 2011 senior citizens 30% of all the identity thefts reported to the FTC. This rose up to 37% by 2013.
Luckily, South Carolina does not rank in the list of “Top Ten Identity Theft States”, but it is still wise to know a few tips on how to protect yourself (or how to advise a senior citizen in your life) from being a victim of identity theft.
Here is a list of 7 tips provided by Next Advisor on how to protect seniors:
1. Shred any documents containing personal information, such as social security number, birth date, your home address, etc.
2. Be wary of any “free” medical or legal services that require personal information.
3. Only disclose medical information to verified physicians.
4. Never provide personal information to anyone who calls you.
5. Never give personal information via email or from a link in an email. Instead, go directly to the website of the trusted company you already have a relationship with.
6. Check all credit reports at least once per week.
7. Talk openly about the dangers of revealing personal information with family members and friends.
Report all identity theft incidents, and keep yourself informed.
**(This article was written with the aid of http://www.nextadvisor.com/blog/2014/05/27/senior-identity-theft-rise)**