Tips for Protecting Your Parent from Identity Theft

Posted: 3/21/2017 8:32 AM by Interim HealthCare
In today’s technology-based society your parent has more opportunities than ever to engage with others, stay connected to friends and family, find entertainment, and even handle basic personal tasks by utilizing devices such as their computer or phone. While these can be a wonderful way to encourage them to stay more active and independent, and to support mental and emotional health as they age in place, it can also put them at risk for identity theft. Completing tasks such as banking, paying bills, and even communicating through email and social media can create situations in which your parent is vulnerable to those looking to scam them. While approximately 7 percent of the population of people over the age of 16 experience identity theft during any given year, a large portion of these are elderly adults. Aging adults tend to be more vulnerable to these scams than others due to cognitive concerns, confusion, and more trusting natures. It is important as their family caregiver that you take steps to guard your loved one from these potential dangers so that they can enjoy these opportunities safely.
Use these tips to protect your parent from identity theft:
• Never give any personal information such as bank account numbers or their Social Security number over the phone or over email.

• Remind them that no company will ever request their PIN or ask them to verify their account number and PIN.

• No legitimate prize or contest will require that your parent send money for “taxes”, “fees”, or “shipping”, or will ask for them to give their Social Security number, account numbers, or debit card information to claim their prize.

• Never tell anyone their PIN, passwords, or personal account information.

• Carefully destroy all mail or other documents that might contain personally identifiable information. Remember that just shredding into strips does not properly obliterate information. Look for a shredder that shreds in both directions.

• Never open emails from unknown addresses.

• Even if an email comes from an address that looks familiar, if it is strangely worded or does not sound as though it came from that person, never click on any links that are contained within it and immediately run a virus check on the computer.

• Discourage them from making any purchases over the phone or from making any type of payment over the phone without first consulting you.

• Check their bank account regularly and bring any discrepancies to the attention of their bank. 

Starting home care for your aging parent can be a fantastic way to encourage them to experience the highest quality of life possible as they age in place while still staying safe. An in-home senior care services provider can understand the particular challenges, risks, and limitations that your aging parent is facing and develop a highly personalized set of services tailored to their personal needs as well as their individuality, personality, beliefs, and goals. This means that they can manage their needs while also pursuing an active, engaged, independent, and fulfilling lifestyle throughout their later years. When it comes to protecting them from issues that they might face, such as the danger of identity theft, this care provider can help them to understand their risks and make good lifestyle choices, as well as provide supervision and support that can give both of you peace of mind.

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