Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2010

Be on guard for identity theft striking seniors

August 26, 2010

This past weekend I had the joy of celebrating my wife’s grandma’s (Dorothy Thomas) 85th birthday. Happy birthday grandma!

As we were all sitting around and enjoying the cake and ice cream, I found it interesting listening to all the stories and tales about how things used to be when life was not so complicated. People just lived life back then; there was little worry that your personal information would be stolen and used to take everything you worked your whole life for.

I quickly thought about how easy it is today for our elders to be taken advantage of and become victims of identity theft thieves. Most of our grandparents are living day-to-day on fixed incomes, Social Security and other forms of monetary assistance. A clever scam artist can con an elderly person out of all their savings, property and valuables and basically ruin the remaining years of their lives. Our grandparents/senior citizens are trusting and loving individuals that do not understand the principals or repercussions of identity theft.

Identity thieves claimed seven million victims in the United States last year. There are many things as individuals we can do to help protect ourselves, but in many cases our grandparents have no idea what we are talking about when we suggest installing passwords, watching for problems with billing cycles, direct deposits for regular occurring checks, keeping our personal information in safe places and getting copies of our credit reports to check for illegal activity.

As the end of the year and holidays approach, we often see a steady increase in identity theft scams. We have found that the seniors are easy targets and usually fall for scams, whereby, the thief claims to be a relative or some special organization needing money.

For many years our grandparents have looked after us and provided the help and guidance we needed. Now, as responsible adults, it is our turn to look out for them. Take the time to talk with your parents and grandparents about these issues. Try and help guide them through the maze of confusion that these thieves can create and help assure that they will live the rest of their lives enjoying life as they once remembered it.

If you have any questions about identity theft crimes and scams, please contact the Basehor Police Department.

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