According to the Experian credit bureau, there are two types of identity theft are rising faster than any others: those involving tax returns and medical care. These types of identity theft tend to target seniors more than any other groups. Why? Seniors tend to have great credit history. An identity thief would rather steal the identity of someone who is credit worthy than someone who is not. A senior’s application is more likely to be approved, making it very attractive for a thief to steal. Seniors are also less likely to monitor their credit history and credit reports because they not applying for auto loans, mortgages and store credit cards at this stage in their life.
How can someone protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft? Here are some helpful tips:
Avoid calls about your personal information. Anyone calling about your personal information should be considered suspicious. This includes questions about your finances and medical information, too. What do you do? Hang up on them. Your are not being rude! You are only protecting yourself.
Monitor your credit report. You can get a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus each year. Mark it on your calendar to remind you to do this annual chore. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com and remember that the reports are absolutely free to you.
Don’t carry more than you need. Leave your Social Security card, Medicare card, extra credit cards, and financial information at home. Secure them in a locked security box and place it in a secured spot in your home.
Establish a go-to-person. One’s health condition can change very quickly. It is important to have someone you know and trust with whom you can leave or tell the location of your important documents should you ever find yourself in the care of a hospital or rehab facility.
Cyber Security. Make sure your computer is secured with antivirus and firewall software. It is also important to not share your passwords with a stranger. Keep your passwords unique and change them on a regular basis. If at all possible, stay away from using public computers to do your Online Banking. If you do not clear the computer’s memory, someone could access the information from your last session.
Dispose of information properly. Another way identity thieves get your information is from your trash. By shredding any unwanted documents before throwing them away will deter anyone from learning your personal information. A paper shredder is an inexpensive anti-identity theft device.
Identity Theft can happen to anyone at any age. These helpful steps can be appreciated by everyone at any age. Do your part to avoid becoming a victim of this faceless type of crime.