Educating Your Elderly Loved Ones About Identity Theft

December 19th, 2017 by John Wilson

Identity theft has become a growing problem and can impact anyone. However, seniors are at a much higher risk due to a lack of knowledge, since this problem wasn’t as much of an issue in past decades. Seniors need to be educated on how to protect themselves so they don’t end up losing money and ruining their good name. Whether they are living in assisted living for seniors or aging in place, they need to know what’s out there and how to handle it if they are contacted.

Government Scams

One of the biggest identity theft scams floating around is based on government programs. You may receive a call or an email about owing taxes to the IRS or needing to confirm information for Medicare or other government programs. Sometimes these messages are frightening and make you feel as though you need to take action immediately to avoid negative consequences. It’s important to teach your aging loved ones not to give out personal information to someone who contacts them directly. If they feel there may really be an issue, they should hang up and contact the organization directly to inquire. In most cases, they will find the information they received is inaccurate and a phishing scam.

Identity theft can be dangerous in assisted living communities.

Assisted living communities understand how dangerous identity theft can be.

“Grandparent” Scams

The elderly often have a soft spot for family, but they can often become confused and forget who everyone is. Even if they don’t have serious medical conditions that affect memory, it isn’t always difficult to trick them by claiming to be a relative, such as a grandchild or great-grandchild. When someone claiming to be a relative calls seniors and asks for assistance, they may be more likely to send money or share other personal information, which can create a lot of financial problems.

Mail Theft

Seniors get a lot of sensitive mail, including bills, medical information, investment statements and more. Much of this mail contains critical information that can help thieves steal their identity. Because seniors are less mobile, they are more likely to leave their mail sitting in the box for longer periods of time, putting them at risk for this mail theft.

It’s important to make sure your senior loved ones are fully protected when it comes to identity theft. There are so many scams out there, many of which specifically target seniors because they often aren’t knowledgeable in technology and how others can take advantage of them. It’s important to make sure you pay close attention to what is going on with your loved one and their money so you can identify problems early and put a stop to them. It’s critical to talk to your elderly loved ones about what could happen so they are armed with information ahead of time and are at a lower risk of being victimized, even while in assisted living communities in OKC.

If you’re looking for ways to help your loved one avoid falling victim to identity theft, contact us. Our Oklahoma assisted living services have seen all the scams and can help you prepare your aging loved one.

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