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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

Retirees prime targets for identity theft

Feb 24

Retirees prime targets for identity theft

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.

6 Comments Add your comment

  1. Eric
    Feb 24 at 12:35

    It’s so sad and aggravating to hear that the elderly are targeted for ID theft.

    My wife’s side of the family had to put an elderly aunt in a 24 hour care facility. My wife’s father, Richard, is in charge of the aunt’s estate and is managing the transition out of her long time home and into the care facility. One afternoon Richard went back to the aunt’s home to find a few cleaning people gathering bank papers out of a filing cabinet and tossing them in plastic bags. He quickly asked them to stop and asked them to hand over all plastic bags.

    We were not sure of the worker’s intent, but if all those papers got into the wrong hands, serious consequences could result. My wife quickly purchased ID protection for her elderly aunt to protect her assets.

    [Reply]

    PMID_Alvin Reply:

    Hello Eric and we appreciate you sharing this story with us and to our readers. I think it’s great that your wife is being proactive into protecting her family member’s identities with a product such as ProtectMyID.com. Especially the elderly who are unfortunately targeted for identity theft when placed in a 24 hour care facility. I hope the caregivers that were rummaging through your wife’s aunt’s documents had no bad intention, however it may be a good idea to have your wife’s father keep all sensitive documents with him. In addition, it may be also a good idea to have the aunt’s mail re-routed to your wife’s father’s mailing address.

    [Reply]

  2. Scott
    Feb 25 at 18:40

    I’ve had several elderly family members who have been either victims of Identity Theft, and/or fraud from contractors. When it happens it can dramatically effect their lives – since they do not have much time to recover from losses associated with Identity Theft.

    [Reply]

    PMID_Alvin Reply:

    Hello Scott! We appreciate your feedback and that is horrible that you have had family members fall victim to identity theft from contractors. I have heard stories about his when I used to be a Fraud Resolution Agent with ProtectMyID.com. It’s really sad that identity thieves are manifesting into people who look like they may work for a reputable company. As I stress throughout this blog, the only solution is to protect your identity with a monitoring product.

    [Reply]

  3. Rory
    Feb 26 at 21:05

    This is an ironic post because my parents are retired, and I was just talking to them about ID theft. You see, I recently made the switch to paperless statements on all my bank accounts, credit cards, and utilities. I don’t want my statements hanging around or going through the mail, which is risky. I also do all my payments to credit cards and utilities online, so that my checks are not getting sent through the mail.

    I was explaining these things to my dad, and he was surprised that anyone could do anything with his bank statement. He just doesn’t understand the resources some of these crooks have, and what they can do with just a name and bank account #. And he’s slow to adopt an online format for these things.

    [Reply]

    PMID_Alvin Reply:

    Hello Rory! Thank you for sharing your story and I think it’s great that you’re keeping an open dialogue with your dad about the importance of protecting his identity. Keep the conversations going with him and if he’s still hesitant with adapting to an online monitoring product the wonderful feature about ProtectMyID.com is that he can receive monitoring alerts via mail delivery.

    ProtectMyID.com notifies members by email, U.S. mail or text message should any key account changes be found. Providing early awareness enables consumers to make timely responses and work towards a resolution.

    [Reply]

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