Identity fraud involving elderly individuals is not uncommon – in fact, older persons are often targeted specifically by identity thieves seeking financial gain. To protect yourself, your parents or loved ones from identity theft, follow these 10 tips recommended by Experian.
- Always shred or destroy documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.
- Never respond to cold phone calls or e-mails asking for account details, PINs, passwords or personal information.
- Don’t give too much away on networking websites. For example, pets’ names or children’s names could be used as passwords.
- Register to vote at your current address. If you don’t, thieves could use your previous address details to open new credit accounts and run up debt in your name.
- Monitor your mail regularly so you know when to expect important documents — and when to act if they don’t arrive.
- If you move to a new home, redirect your mail through the postal service.
- Always use secure, unique passwords for as many online accounts as possible. At the very least, have a unique password for each type of service provider, such as financial services, retail services and email.
- Don’t store account names and passwords on your smartphone, either in email, as a note, or to auto-complete when you open a website or app. It will be a goldmine for fraudsters if your device is lost or stolen.
- Read all bank and card statements regularly to check for suspicious transactions.
- Check your credit report regularly for suspicious applications and spending.