Elder care is more than keeping your family member secure in both health and personal safety, but also from fraud. An older person can be victimized by identity theft scams, sometimes very easily. And protecting your loved one from one of these scams can be done by taking some easy preventive measures.
How to prevent identity theft
Sitting down and having a conversation about identity theft with your loved one is the first step. Explain to your loved one to never give out private information on the phone and also don’t give out information through the mail or over the internet unless he or she knows who they are dealing with.
Ask if your loved one would mind if you monitored any financial accounts and billing statements, therefore which he or she has. Explain you are looking for unexpected withdrawals or charges on financial accounts. Also help your loved one check his or her credit report frequently. Ask him or her to setup a free monitoring system with any credit alerts sent directly to you. You can also do a credit freeze on your loved one’s accounts with your senior’s permission. What you do is make an agreement with the three main credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, to not allow accounts being opened in your loved one’s name. They would have to contact your loved one, have a password given and then allow the account to be unfrozen for a short time. This may have a small fee attached but the peace of mind is worth it.
Other methods of protection
Other methods of protection for your senior can be as simple as buying a paper shredder. You can show your loved one how easy it is to use. Have them shred anything that has a name, address, social security number, birthday or any account number on it. Explain that scammers will go through trash to find personal information and then use it to open new accounts in the name they find. Keep a trash can conveniently by the shredder, so it’s handy for your loved one to use it.
You can also have junk mail from financial institutions discontinued. This will reduce pre-approved credit cards or financial invitations. By going to www.optoutprescreen.com or calling 1-888-567-8688, you can have your loved one’s name removed from the junk mailing list.
Keeping your loved one informed
The most important thing you can do for elder loved ones is to keep them informed on the scams which are current. Whenever you hear of a new scam, whether by phone, mail or social networking; let them know about it.
By working with your elderly loved ones on avoiding scams and keeping them current, you can protect them from falling prey to unscrupulous people.
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