Senior Citizen Identity Theft
Senior citizen identity theft is a massive problem with no easy solution. Criminals online and offline view older people as targets for stealing money, identities, and much more. Older people trust more with individuals they may not know and they are usually not technologically savvy. Criminals know that older people often have savings or retirement accounts that they can steal from. Criminals target this group to gain access to their financial and medical records or sensitive personal information that they can use to file tax returns or open credit accounts in their name.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over 20% of identity theft victims are 60 years old or older. This number does not include the people who do not report being scammed or ripped off. Sadly many older victims of identity theft don’t know how to report what has happened to them and a very large number of them avoid reporting because they are ashamed embarrassed. Even worse is that older people are scammed or have their identity stolen by someone they know and trusted.
The most common ways for older people to have their identity stolen are:
Medical identity theft
Medical identity theft is usually when medical information is stolen such as insurance, Medicare, Social Security number are stolen. Once criminals have this information they can file false claims, try to get prescription drugs or other services. This can create a nightmare where you could be on the hook for medical debt or bills that you did not incur.
Spam Calls Senior Scams
Scammers use robocall or auto-dial technology to reach more people. Sadly older people are targeted to get sensitive information. These criminals will try to get information such as Social Security number, bank account information or credit card numbers. This is information you should never share over the phone unless you can validate who it is you are speaking with.
The FBI says there are several reasons older people are targeted for identity theft.
Often seniors have financial savings, they are more likely to own a house or property, and they have investments or good credit. Sadly when older people are targeted they may not know they’ve been scammed until it is too late.
No one should be interested in your finances and want information from you unless you verify who that person is. Sadly, the abuse can sometimes come from a friend, family member or caretaker. Make sure you are aware of any changes in wills or powers of attorney. Monitor your spending or finances to make sure there are no unauthorized chargers or withdraws.