Identity theft, among senior citizens especially, increases year after year because the culprits find this demographic to be especially vulnerable. The trusting nature of seniors, along with their preference for paper statements over e-statements, makes them a more likely target.

There are numerous things you can do to prevent identity theft:

  1. Shred all sensitive mail, including financial documents, personal information, and account information. Destroy any credit card solicitations as well.
  2. Try to never give out your Social Security number. If someone asks you for it, find out if it’s mandatory information. If it is, ask who has access to it and how the data will be kept safe.
  3. Be credit card careful. Watch salespeople and wait staff in restaurants when they take away your card to another area to run the card through the system. When you make a gasoline purchase, studies show it’s better to pay inside whenever possible. Pay-at-the-pump machines may have illegal skimmers attached, making your credit card information available to identity thieves.
  4. Cancel and cut up any rarely used or unused credit cards.
  5. Protect your driver’s license. Don’t let anyone copy your aging parent’s driver’s license. This is an open invite to instantly access the address and makes it easy to get bank account numbers and other personal data. 
  6. Get a locked mailbox or post office box for extra safety.
  7. Have checks overnighted so they can be tracked. Have the checks delivered directly to the bank or post office box.
  8. If asked for personal information such as your account numbers or social security number, whether via phone, email, or another method, stop and decide whether this person has a reason to know that information.
    1. Did you call or contact them and is there a valid reason they are asking this information?
      1. If so, this is most likely safe and a part of a business transaction that you are initiating.
    2. Did they call or email you to initiate the conversation?
      1. This is less likely to have a legitimate reason for asking for that information. Stop, tell them you will call them back, and feel free to call one of our representatives to discuss the situation.
  9. Let us know if you feel you may be scammed. We can place safeguards on your account to prevent financial loss.

Remember that although identity theft is becoming more prevalent, there are steps you can take to safeguard your information and prevent it from taking place. If you feel that something questionable is happening, let us know immediately so we can help prevent your financial loss.