How Older Adults Can Protect Themselves Against Identity Theft
Identity theft is an unfortunately common problem and older adults are among the most frequently targeted victims. Sadly, it can have a devastating effect not only on your finances but also on your overall health. Our Tampa elder care attorney explains some of the reasons it is so common and how older adults can protect themselves.
Older Adults At High Risk For Identity Theft
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), older adults are among the most common victims of identity theft. They lose a combined total of close to $3 billion each year due to different schemes, such as illegally obtained tax refunds or Social Security benefits, unauthorized credit cards or personal loans, medical care billing fraud, or forgery of estate planning documents. Factors that put older adults more at risk include:
- They tend to be more trusting of people in general;
- They are less familiar with online scams;
- They are less likely to question those posing as authorities;
- They are less likely to monitor their credit report;
- They are more likely to have savings, equity in homes or other property, and receive monthly benefits that can easily be intercepted.
How To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft In Tampa
For older adults, finding out they are victims of identity theft can be devastating. In addition to the financial havoc it can create, the stress surrounding the situation can take a heavy toll on both their physical and mental health.
If you are an older adult or have a loved one who is, it is important to be aware of how you can prevent identity theft in Tampa from happening. Credit reporting agency Experian recommends taking the following precautions:
- Do not answer unfamiliar calls: Telephone marketers use a variety of tactics to target older adults. Put the numbers of friends and family in your phone memory and do not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers.
- Be wary online: Online scammers target older adults. Do not give out personal information on websites or via email, avoid ‘chats’ or friend requests from people you do not know, and use caution with downloads.
- Do not carry your Social Security card with you: Keep this and other items you do not use regularly, such as your passport or checkbook, safely at home.
- Set up direct deposit: This can help prevent benefit checks from being stolen.
- Monitor your finances: Review your bank statements, credit card balances, and other financial records regularly for any suspicious activity.
- Enlist the help of people you can trust: Consult experienced professionals when creating an estate plan. In terms of personal finances, do not hesitate to enlist the help of trusted family or friends.
Reach Out To Our Tampa Elder Care Attorney
At Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., we provide the trusted legal guidance and support older adults need to prevent identity theft and other types of scams. To find out how we can help you, reach out and contact our Tampa elder care attorney and request a consultation today.