Living in today’s world generally puts you at risk for identity theft and other related crimes. Nevertheless, aging adults are at a higher risk of being victims of identity theft, as they’re the most unaware when it comes to technological advancements. A senior living facility offers some form of protection from a number or ugly physical situations, but you still need to shield your loved one from digital crime.
Identity theft is a serious problem that can have severe consequences. It occurs when someone deliberately uses another person’s personal information to gain financial or other advantages. This can be done by taking over that person’s existing accounts, making new accounts in their name, or using their personal information to apply for loans or credit cards. Often, the victim of identity theft will suffer financial losses as a result of the crime.
Types of Identity Theft Aging Adults Should Be Aware Of
Financial scams targeting aging adults are becoming more common. These types of crimes can be difficult to prosecute, and often go unreported, making them a “low risk” crime. Below are some of the common schemes to protect your aging loved one from.
- Health Insurance Identity Theft
As nearly every aging adult in the United States is eligible for Medicare coverage and financial resources, scammers have found this demographic to be an easy target for fraud. By impersonating a Medicare agent, these criminals can entice aging adults to provide them with personal information. They may also set up mobile clinics to offer bogus services and collect personal information, which they use to bill Medicare and pocket the proceeds.
- Internet Fraud and Identity Theft
Aging adults are often targeted by internet scammers because they may not be as computer-savvy as younger people. These scammers can create pop-up browser windows that look like virus scanning software and trick users into downloading fake anti-virus software. This costs the user money, and can also install a virus on their computer, which can steal personal information. Such attacks are known as cyber-attacks, and they include phishing, smishing and vishing.
- Social Security Identity Theft
A social security number is valuable to criminals who want to avoid paying their taxes. They can use your loved one’s social security number to get tax refunds or jobs, and avoid paying taxes themselves. Five different types of identity theft can be done with a social security number. They are criminal identity theft, medical identity theft, government identity theft, financial identity theft and utility fraud.
It’s worrying that a social security number and other personal details can be bought on the dark web and reused by other criminals. Identity theft is very easy with another person’s details. They could claim tax refunds, commit crimes, receive benefits and income, use health insurance, set up a home, and much more.
- Social Media and Identity Theft
Cybercriminals are increasingly using social media to target their victims. Personal information that you share on social media, such as pictures of your family, friends, pets, or recent events, can be used to select and plan attacks against you. Be mindful of what you post online, and remember that even seemingly harmless information can be used to harm you.
How You Can Protect Your Aging Loved One From Identity Theft
To prevent scams and identity theft occurrences, you should take the time to educate your loved one in a senior living on cyber security measures. In the same vein, inform them of the latest scamming tricks, so they don’t fall prey to them. The most effective way to protect yourself and your loved one from the pain of having to recover your identity is to purchase identity theft protection.