Although anyone can have their identities stolen, seniors are often vulnerable to this crime, especially those who have a trusting nature or keep a large amount of money in savings. Help protect your ageing loved one from identity theft by keeping his or her information private and informing him or her about common scams. North Coast, NSW, senior care professionals have a few tips for preventing identity theft in the golden years.
Avoid Sharing Personal Information Over the Phone
Criminals often target the elderly by pretending to be a utility or insurance company representative, claiming money is owed or services will be discontinued. If your loved one receives a call asking for personal information or money, he or she should immediately end the phone call, then call the company back using the number on his or her latest bill to verify money is actually due.
Be Wary of Calls and Letters from “Distant Relatives”
Sometimes a person will contact a senior, claiming to be his or her grandchild or distant relative. Often, this person has done research and can even state a few facts about the senior or the family, giving credence to the story. The criminal then poses a problem and asks for financial help, which the senior often gives due to his or her caring nature. If your loved one receives a call or letter from a family member asking for help, verify the information before he or she gives any money away.
Lock Up Personal Information in a Safe Location
Seniors often carry personal information like tax file numbers and extra credit cards so they will be prepared for upcoming appointments and won’t have to look for the information at the last minute. If your loved one misplaces this information or it is stolen while he or she is out, thieves can use it to make fraudulent medical claims and open up lines of credit. Help your loved one decide what personal information needs to stay locked up in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box.
Take Care When Traveling
Many seniors use their retirement years to travel, and identity thieves often target tourists. If your loved one wants to bring a laptop on vacation, encourage him or her to purchase a portable router to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. This can help prevent his or her information from being stolen via a public location. Additionally, your loved one should ask a neighbour to watch over his or her home and ask the post office to hold the mail until he or she returns from vacation.
To learn more about keeping your loved one’s finances and personal information protected, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of aged care in North Coast, and our caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide variety of everyday tasks. For more information on the respite and live-in care North Coast families trust, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 1300 LIVE-IN or (02) 6646 3527 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.