Active Adult Living Financial Tips

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

October 7, 2020 • Fenny Peiffer

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Identity theft is becoming one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. Millions of people are losing their vital information and more. Identity thieves commonly target seniors, and this is why great care should be taken in order not to get caught in this trap.

What is identity theft? This is when your personal information is stolen and exploited. For example, if your credit card or social security numbers are stolen, identity thieves use this information to use your credit card and social security. They take out huge loans, spend money on your credit cards, and commit various other crimes under your name.

Identity thieves target baby boomers for a few reasons. You most probably own your home; you have solid credit ratings and also are financially stable. You are also extremely trusting and often, do not report stolen or lost credit cards and information because you don’t want to trouble your family and friends.

What can you do to protect yourself against identity theft? Here are a few ways;

  • Do not keep your social security numbers and credit card PIN numbers in your wallet. Instead, keep them in a safe place where only you can find them.
  • Keep vital information, bank statements, and medical statements, in a safe place, such as, at home or in a safe deposit box.
  • Be sure to monitor your bank statements and credit card statements regularly. If anything suspicious appears on these statements, you should inform the bank or the credit company without fail. Do so as soon as you see it.
  • Tear or shred papers before throwing away anything with personal data.
  • Never divulge particular information to ANYONE.
  • Come up with passwords only you can decipher. Don’t use your son’s or daughter’s names or your pet’s. Identity thieves know how to crack these codes.
  • Never give out personal information through the phone or email.
  • When using a computer, be sure to use firewall protection and a secure browser. Update your virus protection guard on a regular basis and make your email and other computer passwords difficult. Add a mix of numbers and letters to the passwords.
  • It is very easy for identity thieves to get information out of seniors. However, if you are careful and watchful, you will protect yourself against identity theft.

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