Identity theft is a problem that has been around for years, but as the times and technology change, so does the game. Technology has now made it cheaper and easier for thieves to steal a person’s personal information, allowing them to work comfortably from home while they wipe clear your bank accounts and charge to the limits on your credit cards. For a number of reasons, older people tend to be the most attractive targets for identity thieves. Compared to younger individuals, seniors tend to have better credit scores, which translates to higher limits and likely multiple cards and accounts to take advantage of. They also aren’t usually as technologically attuned, so they would be less likely to check their bank statements online regularly (if at all), meaning the thieves have all the more time to drain the accounts without being noticed.

Senior Helpers of Moraga offers a few simple steps to keep you and your senior’s identity more secure:

  1. -- Get a locking mailbox or a P.O. Box. 60% of Americans do not lock their mailbox making it that much easier for identity thieves to sift through their mail. All they need is one credit card offer, one bank statement, etc.
  2. -- Shred any documents that contain personal information, such as bank and credit card statements, tax forms and medical bills.
  3. -- Keep locks on smart phones, tablets, computers, etc in case theft of the devices.
  4. -- Close out any old credit card accounts that are not in use. Inactive cards are rarely checked by owners and make tempting targets for ID thieves.
  5. -- Don’t carry your social security card and be mindful of who you give the number out to. Even exposing the last four digits puts you at risk for financial fraud. Keep information like that locked away in a safe along with birth certificates and any other card that is not in regular use.
  6. -- The same goes for your driver’s license,
  7. -- Check bank accounts and credit card statements regularly. 3 in 4 Americans say they check their accounts at least once a week.

For more information about keeping your identity out of the hands of others, visit this website. To talk to someone in the East Bay about scheduling home visits for your senior in Walnut Creek etc., call Senior Helpers of Moraga at (925)268-8327.

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