Those who perpetrate identity theft often prey on older adults, considering seniors an easy target because of memory loss, confusion, and social isolation. If you provide home care for an aging parent or are concerned about the safety of an elderly relative, follow these tips to help protect them from the financial and emotional side effects of having their identity stolen.
Educate Your Parent or Loved One
The first step in preventing your loved one’s identity from being stolen is to educate them about possible identity theft scenarios. For instance, if your loved one has access to the internet, make sure they know about phishing scams. With this type of scam, fake emails are sent to seniors that look like they are from a reputable institution. When seniors click on the email, they are taken to a non-affiliated website, and asked to provide personal information such as social security numbers or credit card information. This information is then used by scammers for personal gain.
Also, explain to your loved one that he or she should never open emails from unidentified individuals. Personal information should never be given out over the phone if the call is unsolicited, another common scammer tactic that can be used to steal your loved one’s identity.
Leave Important Items at Home
If your loved one carries a wallet or purse to run errands, discuss with them which items they should and should not be taking out. Your loved one’s social security card should always remain at home in a safe place, and it may be beneficial to leave the checkbook at home as well. Losing such items makes your loved one an easy target for identity theft.
Carefully Dispose of Documents with Important Information
Purchase a shredder for your loved one and encourage him or her to shred any documents with sensitive financial or personal information. If he or she is unsure of which documents are important and which ones are not, have them set aside their mail so that you, a family member or a caregiver can help them go through the documents together to determine each item’s importance.
Regularly Monitor Your Loved One’s Accounts
Talk to your loved one about adding your name to his or her accounts so that you can make sure no strange activity is taking place. Certain credit cards also have monitoring services that will alert you if any accounts are accessed by unauthorized persons from out-of-state or different countries, an often clear warning sign of identity theft.
For more information about protecting senior safety and promoting quality of life, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati today. Along with help with daily activities and personal care, you can count on our hourly and live-in caregivers in Cincinnati to ensure safety, maximize comfort and provide companionship at home. Call us at 513-891-2273 and request your complimentary, no-obligation consultation today.