The other day I was having dinner with a friend I have not seen in a while. We chatted about life’s events when the conversation transitioned to how our parents are doing. My friend was happy to announce that both his parents are retired and they are excited to be retiring at a high-end retirement home which caters to a senior’s every need. I was happy for my friend’s parents, however that conversation got me thinking about how you prepare your retired parents for identity theft?
According to a survey by Experian®, 11 percent of people over the age of 65 reported they have had their financial information stolen. Seniors are often at greater risk for identity theft than most people because they have higher cash reserves and home equity than others. Also, most seniors tend to be less technologically savvy and are not usually aware of the identity theft trends. On top of that, most seniors don’t monitor their credit and financial accounts very closely.
One of the prime places for identity theft to occur against the elderly is in retirement homes. That may sound a little surprising to you; however retirement homes are full of staff members and other assistants who have access to seniors’ personal records such as their Social Security numbers, personal information, and insurance records. This is a situation that allows unscrupulous individuals to exploit those in their care.
A few examples of this shady crime that I have heard from ProtectMyID.com™ Fraud Resolution Agents include one of an elderly member who was taken advantage of at a retirement home. $16,000 dollars was stolen from her while in residence there. Another story I heard was when a certified nurse took personal information from a nursing home patient and rang up more than $5,000 in goods and services. Fortunately, these members were assisted by dedicated Fraud Resolution Agents who helped them through the resolution process.
But what can you do now to help protect your parents from identity theft at a time when they may be planning to retire whether it’s in a retirement home or traveling the world? Giving yourself plenty of time to talk to your parents about protecting themselves against identity theft. A few tips you can share with your parents include keeping their credit cards and identifying information locked away in a secured safe and you can even get them signed up for an identity protection program such as ProtectMyID.com which will alert them of key changes made to their credit reports, scan the Internet for their sensitive information, and notifying them if someone initiates a change of address in their names.