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Protecting the Elderly from Identity Theft

Posted on: 2014 02 10

by Special Guest Blogger:  Constance Archer, LegalShield Independent Associate Studies have consistently shown that the elderly are an especially high risk population when it comes to falling victim to scams, fraudsters, and identity thieves. Elderly people are particularly at risk for identity theft, as well as other forms of financial abuse due to several factors. First, older citizens tend to have more savings at their disposal and higher credit ratings, making them juicier targets than many other demographics. Elderly people are also less comfortable using the internet. This means they are less likely to check their bank statements regularly.  They are comfortable using the telephone, and are more likely to receive phone scams. So, how do you protect your parents, or grandparents from being victimized by a clever online or phone call scammer or identity thief?  The answer is the same for the elderly as it is for every other person: education.  You need to take the time to talk to your elderly family members about the risks of giving out their personal information, and some of the common tactics scammers will likely to use to try to trick them into giving them their hard earned cash. Never tell anyone calling you your social security number and don’t carry your social security card in your wallet.  Keep it at home.  Tax Identity Theft is one of the top identity thefts. Someone with your information and social security number can file your tax return before you and steal your money! I have been helping a lady in Milton who has had her tax refund stolen two years in a row! Do not give your credit card, debit card or bank account information to anyone you don’t know. If someone calls and says they are updating your medical card and need your medical card number, DON’T give it to them! It is a fake phone call trying to steal your medical information to use YOUR insurance. DON’T believe it if you get a phone call that your friend or grandchild is in trouble and needs to have money transferred to the caller to keep it “hush hush.”  Call the person supposedly in trouble and ask them directly. This scam, sometimes known as the “Grandparent Scam”, has been used here in Burlington!  The callers are just playing on your heartstrings knowing that you want to help your friend or relative. If someone calls and tells you they are “Microsoft” and need to fix your computer, DON’T give them your login and password! They are just trying to steal information off your computer. Several people in Vermont have received this call and some have told me that they gave their credit card information and large sums of money were taken out of their accounts! If you get a phone call, saying you have just won something and need to send money for its delivery, don’t believe it!  A person in North Burlington received a letter that she won an Audi and just had to send a check to The Netherlands for its delivery! If someone calls and says that your relative bought you “Life Alert” and it is all paid for, you just have to give them your credit card number for the monthly charge, DON’T do it! It is a fake phone call. Beware of phone calls from area codes you don’t recognize! Area codes of 876, 473, 284, 286 or 809 If you get a call from these area codes, don’t answer. See if they leave a message and don’t call the number back if it is not someone you know!  We currently have the “One Ring Scam” happening in Vermont. The caller rings once and hangs up. It says there is a missed call. They are HOPING that you will call back. You will be charged $19.95 for the international call and then $9 a minute as they keep you on the phone. Tell your relatives that Child ID Theft is one of the top ones right now! One in ten children already have their identity stolen and won’t know about it until they are older. They find out someone has been using their social security number. I teach Identity Theft Workshops and Lunch ‘n Learns. If you would like me to come to your home, senior center, senior community, office, church group, or association to teach about the five different types of identity theft and tell you local stories, please contact me to set up a date on my calendar!  I am eager to spread the word to teach about and prevent identity theft in our area! Constance Archer, LegalShield Independent Associate (802) 324-8800       daksha9@aol.com To learn about Identity Theft Plans to protect you that cover all five types of identity theft, have licensed investigators, do total restoration for you, and cover the whole family for 50 cents a day, call me, email me, or visit my website. www.legalshieldassociate.com/daksha

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