Identity theft is a serious crime that is unfortunately becoming more and more common in today’s world. Many people can become victims of this serious threat, but one group that is most targeted is seniors. Seniors are often at a higher risk of being an identity-theft victim because they often have more money saved than younger adults and they aren’t usually monitoring their credit as often. Seniors come from a time where people were more trusting and having to worry about identity theft wasn’t a norm. Because of this, sadly, they have become prime targets and need to better protect themselves. 5 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft
The Simple Dollar, a company that is dedicated to helping people make smarter choices when it comes to their finances, recently analyzed 22 identity theft protection services and consulted with leading experts on fraud and identity theft to find the best options available for seniors. To make seniors less vulnerable, they also created a resource with steps to self-monitor your identity, along with tips on how to avoid being a target.
Identity theft is a tricky crime to predict: Wealthy individuals with lots of accounts aren’t necessarily targeted more often than someone with, say, a low checking account balance or a dinged-up credit score. And, Weisman explains, “As technology improves, the problems with identity theft will, unfortunately, also increase.” Levin agrees, “The reality is that everywhere you go, everything you do is being tracked, gathered, stored, disseminated. With all the things out there collecting our data, we have to focus on what I call the 3 Ms: Minimize the risk of exposure; Monitor accounts; and Manage the damage.” 5 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft
The steps for prevention are all pretty obvious and you’ve likely heard some version of them before. But they’re worth a reminder — especially if you’re not already following the advice. 5 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft
Be careful with sensitive documentation 5 Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
“The least amount of information you can carry, you should,” says Minniti. That personal information includes your Social Security card, medical ID cards, credit card statements, bank account numbers, tax documents — even your driver’s license. Don’t carry them unless you have to and make them difficult to find in your home too.
Use strong passwords 5 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft
Don’t use personal information like names, birthdates, and addresses as passwords. $ecuR!tY!! is a much more complicated password than “security.” And remember: If you can Google your name and find out your high school mascot, your mom’s maiden name, or the street you grew up on, those don’t make great “Forgot your password?” prompts.
I also recommend taking this a step further by using a password manager. There are several great options out there (like 1Password and Dashlane) that generate incredibly strong passwords and keep them all accounted for in an encrypted vault. Some can even update weak passwords for you automatically.
Don’t click on mystery links
If it’s a brand-new email notification your bank has never sent before, proceed with caution.
Never authenticate yourself to unknown sources
“Theoretically, they know who you are. That’s why they’re contacting you,” says Levin. You shouldn’t need to, say, rattle off the last four digits of your SSN to anyone who’s calling you.
Master your smartphone’s security features
“Phones are data storage devices, not just communication devices,” Levin explains. “Have a complex PIN number. Have it shut off faster. Opt in to remote data wiping.” Apple iPhones equipped with Find My iPhone can remotely wipe all data off of a stolen phone, and Google Android phones with Android Lost perform a similar function. Back your phone up regularly so that you can wipe without remorse!
Here is their article below that was previously featured on The Simple Dollar: