Posted on 2016-02-25 09:00:06
Identity theft continues to be a growing problem for everyone, but seniors are often victims of two types of identity theft that are on the rise: tax return fraud and medical identity theft. There are several reasons why senior make good identity theft targets. Seniors have spent a lifetime building their credit and retirement savings. They likely have more available credit and savings, making them a better risk for creditors. Seniors also tend to be more trusting. As seniors age, they may require help from strangers who are not always trustworthy. Older seniors are easier to scare into giving up personal information to someone on the phone. Here are some tips to help seniors avoid becoming identity theft victims. And when they do become a victim, seniors are less likely to report identity theft for fear that family members will think they are no longer capable of handling their own affairs. Identity thieves look for the easiest targets, and they often find that in seniors. Here are 5 tips to help seniors lessen their risk of becoming an identity theft victim. 1. Protect Your Medicare card. If your Medicare card has your complete Social Security number on it, block out all but the last four digits. Never, ever, give your Medicare information to someone by phone or in response to an email. 2. Guard your Social Security card. Social Security cards are valuable to identity thieves. Social Security numbers often open the door to more information about you—information you do not want to fall into the wrong hands. Doctors often ask for your Social Security number but don’t usually need it. If your doctor insists, ask what measures are in place to protect your personal information including your Social Security number.