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5 Identity Theft Tips For Seniors

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. happy older pair on a black background 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.

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3. Shred, shred, and shred some more. Anything with personal information should be shredded before it is discarded. Identity thieves still sift through trash looking for personal information to help them create a new identity. 4. File your tax return early. By filing your tax return early, you make it harder for an identity thief to file a tax return in your name. Once a tax return has been file, the IRS will reject any future tax return filed using the same Social Security number. 5. Keep tabs on your credit report. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t in the market for new credit. The fact is identity theft is often first detected on someone’s credit report. A credit monitoring service is an affordable way to be alerted to potentially fraudulent information on your credit report.
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