December is Identity Theft Protection Awareness month and it’s a great time to go over steps that your senior parent can take to avoid being the victim of identity theft. According to studies more than 1 in 10 seniors will be the victim of identity theft. It’s one of the fastest-growing financial scams targeting seniors. That’s why seniors need to know what they can to do protect themselves. One way to protect a senior parent is to have in-home care services.
During the holidays the number of identity thefts increases because so many seniors are shopping online for holiday gifts, buying gift cards, and sending money electronically to their family and friends. Seniors can still shop online, but they need to shop carefully to avoid being vulnerable to identity theft.
An in-home care provider who is with your senior parent during the day can help them safely shop online or use their credit cards in stores.
Other things that seniors should be doing to prevent identity theft are:
Never Give Out Personal Information
Seniors should never give out information like their Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card numbers to strangers. Unless they are shopping by phone at a reputable company and need to give a credit card number to purchase something seniors should guard all of their personal information. Banks, credit card companies, and other companies will never ask seniors for personal sensitive information.
Don’t Carry Sensitive Information
Often seniors will carry all of their sensitive personal documents in a wallet or handbag because they may need their Social Security card, insurance card, or birth certificate at the doctor’s office, the VA, the SSA, or some other office. But during the holiday shopping season, seniors should never carry their sensitive personal documents with them. It’s too easy for those documents to get stolen.
Everyone hates trying to remember what password they used for a particular website. Because of that, it’s very likely your senior parent hasn’t changed their password in a long time. It’s a good idea for your senior parent to change their passwords to new strong passwords. A home care provider can help them do that.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Whenever possible, seniors should activate two-factor authentication for online accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to a mobile device, in addition to the password. Some banks and credit card companies now require customers to use Two-Factor Authentication to protect their data.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Seniors should be cautious when clicking on links or providing information in response to emails, messages, or phone calls. Criminals who engage in phishing or online fraud often use phishing tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information.
Keep Software Updated
Ensure that computers, smartphones, and other devices are running the latest operating systems and security software. Regular updates often include patches for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by identity thieves. Home care can also help seniors make sure their devices are updated and have the latest security upgrades.
Beware of Social Media
Seniors should be mindful of the information they share on social media platforms. Avoid posting details like full names, addresses, phone numbers, and travel plans. Adjust privacy settings to control who can access personal information.
Secure The Mail
Mail theft is a common way for criminals to steal identifying information. Seniors should bring in their mail daily and consider using a locked mailbox or a post office box. Shred pre-approved credit offers and other mail containing personal details before discarding. And never mail checks or documents with personal information in them by leaving them in the home mailbox. Take them to the post office.
Monitor Credit Reports
Seniors should keep an eye on their credit reports to see if any new or unusual activity shows up. Credit monitoring services are often available for free or low charge through banks and credit unions to help prevent identity theft.
One way that criminals get access to people’s financial information is by setting up dummy websites that look almost identical to popular websites and well-known brand websites. Then when someone makes a purchase the dummy site steals their information. Check the URL of every website and only shop on secure websites.
If you or an aging loved one are considering In-Home Care Services in Reedley CA please get in touch with the caring staff at A-Plus In Home Care, Inc. today. Call (559) 224-9442.
A-Plus In Home Care, Inc. is a Trusted Home Care Agency serving Fresno, Clovis, Sunnyside, Fowler, Reedley, Selma, Sanger, Madera CA, and surrounding areas.
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