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SENIOR CITIZENS AND IDENTITY THEFT
Senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable groups to becoming victims of identity theft. This article contains valuable information that will help seniors prevent themselves from becoming sufferers of identity theft by teaching the, how to stop fraud and detect it early when it occurs.

** It was reported by Experian that over 11% of people over the age of 65 reported that some sort of financial information/records were stolen from them last year.

Why are seniors one of the top victims of identity theft?
There are several reasons:
  -- Seniors typically have greater cash reserves and home equity than others.
  -- They are not 'up on the times', leaving them vulnerable to modern scams.
  -- Seniors usually do not obtain a copy of their credit report regularly or monitor their financial accounts.
  -- Assistants and retirement home workers often have access to the personal records of seniors, resulting in them taking advantage of their clients.

What happens when a senior citizen becomes a victim of identity theft?
Identity thieves will empty bank accounts. They will also incur tremendous amounts of credit card debt, apply for loans, refinance their victim's homes, obtain cell phones and/or other services, etc..

How does the crime of identity theft occur?
Identity thieves are extremely aggressive and relentless in their pursuit of personal information. Below are some of the more commonly used tactics.

 

  -- Phone scams This is when thieves will act as a charity, credit card or insurance company, etc.. They will ask for personal information to verify accounts. They will then use this information for their own personal, illegal use.
 -- Dumpster diving This entails going through garbage, looking for personal paperwork.
 -- Record theft When any form of medical, Social Security or other personal records are stolen.
  -- Wallet theft Many seniors carry too much information with them, i.e. Medicare and Social Security cards.
  -- Personal theft When a nurse or other sort of employee, friend or relative steals from your home or has access to compromise accounts.
  -- Internet scams Bogus emails requesting information about personal bank accounts, credit cards, etc..

Preventing identity theft for seniors:
There is no 100% guarantee means for preventing identity theft. Below are some easy tips to follow that will help eliminate your chances for become a victim. In addition to the information below, you should examine the section on preventing identity theft.

  -- Never provide any personal information via a phone call unless you are the one that imitated the call.
  -- Never carry your Medicare or Social Security card with you.
  -- Make you research any charity before making a donation.
  -- Lock-up all sensitive documents in a safe in your house or in a safety-deposit box at your bank.
  -- Use a paper shredder to destroy any mail, paperwork or documents instead of just throwing them in the trash.
  -- Review your credit and financial records frequently. Learn more about the 'importance of getting a copy of your credit report once a year'.

What should I do if I become a victim of identity theft?
You must report the crime immediately. Please visit the section on 'What to do if You Become a Victim of an Identity Thief', to learn more about how you can stop further crime from occurring and reduce the impact of the crime that has already taken place.

Tips On Preventing Identity Theft

The best means for protecting yourself from identity theft is to get a copy of your online credit report regularly.

There are several different credit report options. You can learn more about single credit reports, 3-in-1 credit reports and the credit monitoring program.

Get a copy of your credit report today!


Related Reading for seniors:
It is always very smart that you protect your social security number. Also, there are only a few instances when someone can demand access to your SSN.

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