Identity Thieves Targeting Seniors, Young Adults: Protect Yourself Now

July 30th, 2013 No Comments

NJ seniors, beware of becoming targets for identity thieves

The risk of identity theft has never been greater. Each year, nearly 15 million people in the U.S. have their identities stolen, according to IdentityTheft.info. Identity thieves are getting smarter, and they are taking advantage of people who are vulnerable to this type of fraud. Fortunately, by learning the facts of identity theft, you can reduce the risk it poses to you and your family.

At-Risk Groups

Thieves prefer to take advantage of the vulnerable. Although anyone can be a victim of identity fraud, there are some groups thieves prefer to target. Young adults ages 18-24 are actually the most at-risk group, according to the Washington Post. They are freer with their personal information, and they take longer to realize that their identities have been stolen.

Seniors are also a high-risk group. Older people are often unaware of what identity theft even is, and are known by telemarketing scammers as easy targets for collecting personal information. Seniors also fail to check bank accounts and credit reports as often as middle-aged people, leaving thieves ample time to take advantage of stolen information.

Everyone Should Be Careful

Everyone hould understand how to prevent identity theft. Most people think of identity theft as a high-tech issue, but even losing your wallet is enough to put you at risk. Consider these stolen wallet facts from LifeLock.com:

  • Of identity theft victims who were aware their info had been stolen, about 20 percent said it resulted from a lost or stolen wallet
  • Of victims who had money stolen from their bank accounts, 26 percent said it was a result of a stolen or lost wallet
  • Of victims who suffered multiple types of theft, 29 percent said it was a result of a stolen or lost wallet

It does not take the Internet to commit identity theft, even if the digital age does make the crime easier.

Prevention and Detection

Remain aware and vigilant, and train your family to do the same. Identity theft is not always preventable, but you should do what you can to avoid it.

Only give out your information when absolutely necessary. Shred all your documents, and only keep the bare minimum in your wallet. Things like your Social Security card and bank account numbers should stay at home in a secure place, such as a safe.

Don’t enter any personal information on a questionable website. Never give out personal information over email, and don’t follow email links and enter any personal information either.

Check your bank and credit accounts and your credit report regularly. Stopping thieves early is important to prevent significant damage, and you can do so by remaining aware of the status of your accounts.

Remain Vigilant

If you have family members who fall into a high-risk category for identity fraud, protect them through education. Make them aware of what identity theft is and how to prevent it. By adopting the same practices yourself, you can set an example of how to keep your information safe and secure.

—By Jonathan Edwards, Guest Author. Jonathan is a journalist who loves numbers. He covers the insurance, banking and mortgage industry news.


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