Sadly, identity theft and fraud have become highly prevalent these days, and older Americans are frequently viewed as ideal targets. This is particularly true of our loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia who are especially vulnerable due to their mental and physical challenges and loss of judgment.
Experts Highlight the Added Risk
In the Agingcare.com article, “How to Protect Elderly Parents from Identity Theft,” author Carolyn Rosenblatt RN, B.S.N., who has 40 years of combined experience in nursing and law, says, “Identity thieves love aging parents because they think they are so vulnerable. Social isolation, loss of a spouse, early dementia, general memory loss or confusion make our elders and aging parents an easy mark. Add to that the fact that seniors tend to be friendly and trusting and you have a combination that can make your aging parent a sitting duck.”
Ways You Can Protect Your Loved One from Identity Theft
If you are caring for a loved one with memory loss today, it is important to remain vigilant and to practice proven methods to safeguard him/her – as well as yourself – from those who see him/her as easy prey. Fortunately, experts in field of identity security offer a variety of proven steps you can take to minimize the risks. For example, “How to Prevent Identity Theft Among the Elderly” and “Identity Theft and the Elderly: 10 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Loved One,” suggest the following valuable ways to protect your loved one and you from becoming victims.
- Shop only on safe and secure websites – When you make a purchase and proceed to the “check out,” make sure the URL address has changed from “http” to “https,” which indicates that the website is a secure one and your purchase information has been encrypted.
- Be cautious when using an ATM – Beware of people lurking especially when using the ATM, credit cards, checks and your laptop or community computer.
- Invest in a shredder – When throwing out documents that contain personal information, shred them into tiny pieces. Also, be sure to cut up rarely used or unused cards with personal information.
- Monitor bank, credit card and loan statements – If you see any information that does not appear accurate, contact the company immediately.
- Have checks delivered to your bank or post office box – An unlocked home mailbox is an easy target.
- Review credit reports closely – The official toll free automated number to call and order your free annual credit reports is 877-322-8228. If you see anything suspicious, you should dispute all inaccuracies via certified mail.
- Protect your social security number, passwords, driver’s license and PIN numbers – This information provides easy access to your financial and legal information.
- Use online passwords rated as high strength – Choose passwords very carefully and maximize password strength. Avoid birth dates, pet names, favorite vacation spots and interests, as professional identity thieves could discover them.
- Beware of scams – Never provide any personal information such as Social Security number, bank account numbers or credit card data to anyone who contacts you via telephone solicitation, email or through social networking sites.
- In case of an emergency, keep a list of important phone numbers handy – They are very important if you lose your wallet or other property that contains important personal information.
If you follow these recommended procedures, you can greatly reduce the risk of your loved one falling victim to identity theft and the serious consequences that can result for your entire family!
Help Is Available for Caregivers
If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other form of memory loss, please know that you are not alone. The team at North Woods Village is here to help you understand memory impairment and cope with the challenges you face every day. Progressiveresidential Memory Care providers, such as North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, offer a variety of educational programs, support and special events designed to help family caregivers. We can help you deliver the best quality care and quality of life for your loved one while taking care of yourself, too.
Guiding. Caring. Inspiring.
For caregivers who recognize that the needs of their loved one are beyond what they can safely and appropriately provide in the home environment, leading, residential Memory Care Assisted Living Communities (MCALs), such as North Woods Village at Edison Lakes and its “NEW DIRECTIONS”SM program in Mishawaka, IN, provide the full continuum of services that have been shown to improve health and well-being, support brain health and delay the progression of memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
At North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, we believe senior adults thrive in an environment that offers an active, vibrant lifestyle with a variety of activities that engage the mind, body and spirit. Our “NEW DIRECTIONS”SM provides a safe, professional environment and proven, best-practice programs and services specifically designed to address the total physical, emotional and social needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other serious form of memory impairment.
For more information and helpful resources on protecting your loved one from Identity Theft, contact us today!