Anyone can be a target of identity theft, but some of the most valuable targets for thieves are seniors and children. If your children or elderly parents aren’t taking out loans or using credit cards, you may think that they are not at risk, but they are. Learn why they are targeted and how you can help provide identity theft protection for your whole family.
A growing number of identity theft victims are children, and there is probably even more than have been reported because the theft may not be discovered until the child turns 18 and tries to open a credit card or get financing for school or a car. Children are valuable targets because of their clean credit history. Help protect from identity theft by:
- Not giving out their social security number unless absolutely necessary. Keep the card in a safe place in your home – not in your wallet.
- Monitoring their online activity and using parental controls to limit sites they can visit. Also, educate them about online risks.
- Don’t teach them their social security number until they are old enough to understand that they need to keep it safe.
- Protect from identity theft by watching for red flags, such as credit card offers, collection notices, or other mail generally meant for adults.
Seniors can be targeted because they are more likely to own their home or to have money saved up. Scammers also take advantage of the fact that many seniors are not as comfortable with technology or knowledgeable about the internet as younger generations. They should protect from identity theft by:
- Being aware of medical identity theft. Check medical records often, and don’t carry a medical ID card on you.
- Don’t give any personal information over the phone. Phone scams can offer bogus deals or investment opportunities to trick seniors into giving away personal information. If an offer was unsolicited, chances are that it is a scam.
- Help educate them on the internet, how to use it, and the dangers.
- You should be understanding. Anyone can make a mistake, and if they are a victim of a scam, chances are they feel bad enough already. An overly negative reaction may just make them less likely to report it if it happens again for fear that family will think they are no longer able to handle their own financial affairs.