Given how you love your elderly parents, the last thing you want is they become victims of identity theft.
Identity theft is bad for anyone who suffers it. That said it can be even more damaging to senior citizens.
Stop for a moment and think about how many seniors have spent much of their lifetimes accruing money. They depend on those funds to get through what can be difficult years due to health and not working a full-time job.
So, what do you do if you suspect they may be targets of criminals?
Be Pro-Active in Protecting Your Parents
As you look for ways to limit your parents’ exposure to criminals, keep these tidbits in mind:
- People reaching out to them – If your parents get a fair amount of phone calls, don’t look at it as unusual. From doctor offices to businesses trying to sell them stuff, it is not uncommon for the phone to ring often. That said you don’t want your elderly parents dealing with annoying calls all day long. For instance, does one or both of your parents wonder who called me? Yes, those calls can add up. The key is deciphering valid ones and those that are nuisance calls or even have criminal intent to them.
- Be safe with receipts – Everyone has had a lapse in judgment in misplacing a receipt or two. That said it can become more of an issue as one ages. Make sure your parents do not leave bank statements, credit card receipts etc. where one can get them. It only takes seconds for one to pick up a credit card receipt or even the credit card that your parent left sitting. If that happens, financial trouble and even debt can ensue rather fast.
- Careful on the web – If your parents have grand-kids, they likely spend time on the Internet with them. With that being the case, make sure your parents are safe when they get online. Along with having the best anti-virus protection, they should not open suspicious attachments. Criminals send out emails and try to hack into computers when there is vulnerability.
- Tax time can be scary – Last, one of the scariest times of the year for millions of people is tax time. It can be even more frightful for senior citizens. Scammers use this time of the year to try and get personal financial info from individuals. If your parents get a call from someone reportedly with the IRS and asking for money, report the matter. Always note that the IRS will deal via mail with any tax issues.
Although your parents may be capable of taking care of themselves, helping them out is good.
With that in mind, do all you can to keep a watchful eye over them as often as possible.
By making sure no one takes advantage of the people most important to you, you rest easier at night knowing they are safe and secure.