Protecting Your Parents from ID Theft
When we look at statistics, most of the people who are victims of ID theft are 50 years old or older. Unfortunately, cyber criminals have no issue taking advantage of older adults and seniors, including your parents.
These crooks violate their trust and take advantage of their ignorance of the online world. People over 50 also tend to have more money and savings including retirement funds.
Here are some scams that are commonly pulled on older adults and seniors…like your parents.
Common Scams Targeting Your Parents
- They get an email that seems like it is coming from their bank, the FBI, IRS, etc. The email claims that there is an issue that needs to be taken care of ASAP. Typically, it’s financial, so the scammer asks for their bank account information, or it’s for information, and they ask for a Social Security number.
- They get a call with a sad story…their kid/grandkid needs help, and they need money wired immediately.
- They might also get a call, email, or letter concerning their mortgage. If a scammer can get access to information like your parents’ bank information, Social Security number, or even the deed to their home, they can refinance your parents’ mortgage and keep the equity they get back.
- There are also retirement home scams. In these scams, scammers get a job at a retirement home, and then manipulate the residents to tell them personal information.
How to Prevent These Scams
Here are some ways that you can prevent scams like these:
- Make yourself a guardian over the personal information of your parents. When they get some type of contact that seems suspicious, you should instruct them to get in touch with you. Any information, even your mother’s maiden name, can be used in an identity theft attempt. Tell your parents to never give their personal info to anyone over the phone or via email.
- Make sure they know to never share any personal information on social media accounts.
- Tell your parents to check their bank accounts and credit accounts regularly. You should work with them to sign up for alerts for suspicious transactions.
- Give them a shredder so that they can get rid of things like bank statements safely. Anything with account information, a Social Security number, or other personal info should be shredded.
- If your parent is using a Wi-Fi hotspot, you should install a VPN for them.
- If your parent has recently passed away, make sure you don’t put too much unnecessary information in their obituary. These are hot zones for ID theft, so leave out any info an identity thief could use.
- Show your parents that they should only put information into a website that starts with https://, NOT http://.
- Also, talk to your parents about emailing safely. Phishing scams are very good, so tell them not to click on any link in an email.
- Sign your parents up for the website OptOutPrescreen.com. This helps to cut out any unnecessary offers they might receive.
Keep an Eye Out for Scammers
Don’t let your parents become a victim. You can easily prevent it, and more importantly, your parents won’t have to go through the process of rebuilding their credit and recovering their identity. Taking action now is the best way to protect against ID theft. Knowing if your parents are doing something that is risky could definitely be in your favor, as you can help them figure out what is going on and stop it.
Protecting Their Identity
We are all pretty vulnerable when it comes to ID theft, but older people are much more vulnerable. You can’t totally protect yourself and your parents, but you can make it much less likely that something will happen if you take the advice above. It’s always also worth it to invest in ID theft protection for both you and your parents, and you also might even consider a credit freeze.
ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program