Protecting Elders from Identity Theft
Did you know that although senior citizens (65+ year old adults) are at a higher risk of fraud, they are less likely to report fraudulent activities than younger generations? Realizing the increased risks seniors are facing, the Federal Trade Commission organized the “Pass It On” campaign to encourage younger generations to help anyone, including their elders, understand the risks of identity theft and to better protect themselves from becoming a victim.
So, why do thieves target senior citizens? Here are some insights from identity theft expert, John Sileo:
- Cash flow. Senior citizens typically own their home outright or have sold it to live in a smaller home or senior community. This means they could potentially have little to no debt, a higher credit rating and/or larger savings account.
- Technology. Senior citizens typically are not as well-versed in technology and are more trusting. This is an especially dangerous combination with the uptick in phishing scams . If seniors suspect fraud, they may not know who to contact for help, or they may be hesitant to ask family for help, in fear that they will look as though they are needy/vulnerable.
- Time. Senior citizens may not check their credit reports and/or accounts regularly because they are on a fixed income with routine activities/expenses. This, combined with the natural effects of age on a person’s memory, can create a larger gap in time between fraudulent activity and the reporting of it (I.e. The senior may first question when they could have made those charges instead of knowing right away the charges are fraud.)
To learn more, check out John Sileo’s blogs, Elder Fraud Expert Answers: What are the Most Common Schemes? and Elder Fraud Expert Answers: How do I prevent & resolve it?