We have all heard about someone having his or her identity stolen, causing unwanted financial problems and credit damage that is difficult to repair. What many people do not know is that senior citizens are frequently targeted by identity thieves.
Why Are Seniors a Good Target?
Identity thieves tend to choose senior citizens for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the majority of seniors have less debt and better credit scores than younger people. This makes it easier for identity thieves to apply for—and receive—credit in their names.
Additionally, senior citizens are less likely to pay close attention to their credit scores, as they have passed the point where they are looking to purchase a home or vehicle on credit. This lack of attention makes it less likely for them to notice suspicious activity on their credit reports; often they do not discover the theft until the damage is already substantial.
Generally speaking, people over the age of 60 tend to be more trusting in the sense that they can be persuaded to release personal information to callers over the telephone. This also makes it easy for identity thieves to gain access to information such as Social Security or bank account numbers.
How Can This Be Prevented?
There are many ways to make it more difficult for identity thieves to target you. For instance, do not carry your Medicare card in your wallet or purse; instead, make a copy of it with all but the last four numbers marked out. This way, anyone who does gain access to it will not be able to see your entire Social Security number.
Additionally, beware of anyone who asks for your personal or financial information over the phone. Often cyber thieves can convince folks to release information to them by asking for donations, saying they are from your bank or credit card company, or even telling you that a loved one is in trouble and needs money immediately. Be aware that a legitimate enterprise will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone.
You can also lessen the chances of exposing your personal information to a criminal by carrying only those credit cards or bank cards you need right away and storing the rest in a safe place. You should also invest in a shredder to make sure any paperwork with your birth date, Social Security number, or bank numbers is kept out of the wrong hands.
Invest in Identity Guard
One of the best ways to protect yourself from an identity thief is to invest in a service like Identity Guard. We partner with this service because it’s the best we’ve found at helping protect people from having their identity stolen.
Here are just a few of the outstanding services Identity Guard offers:
• Regular scans of any credit card application filed in your name, as well as credit score monitoring and email alerts if suspicious activities are discovered
• Scans of your public records to see if they have been accessed or changed in any way
• A personal hotspot so you can be sure that you are using a secure wireless connection when you are in public or away from home
• 24-hour free customer service and experts who can help you through the recovery process if your identity is compromised in any way
Peace of Mind Is Worth It!
With the right information in hand, cyber criminals can create financial problems that can easily take years to recover from. They can empty your bank or retirement accounts within minutes, apply for credit cards with high limits, and go on spending sprees; the possibilities for these types of criminals are endless. You are nothing more than a name to them—they have no concern about what kind of damage they might cause.
If you enroll in Identity Guard, you will receive your first 30 days free so that you can decide whether it is a good investment. After your free trial has ended, you will only be charged $16.99 per month for all of the services mentioned above and many more. Most of all, you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are doing everything in your power to keep your personal identity safe.
Get your free 30-day trial by visiting the Identity Guard website or call your MediGap Advisors agent at 866-323-1441 to enroll today!
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.