Identity Thieves View Elderly As Trusting Victims

Older people make easy targets for identity thieves.
This is “because they are more trusting and less aware of the increasing variety of scams,” according to the website of an expert on identity theft who offers six tips for helping to protect loved ones from falling victims.
Denver-based John Sileo, according to his firm’s website, became “America’s leading identity theft speaker and expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach.”
“Although most of our older relatives have no interests in the complexities of smartphones, computers, the Internet and online banking, many that give it a try leave themselves defenseless against thieves,” according to the site. “The elderly can be easily targeted online or through the mail in old-fashioned schemes to steal their identity and ultimately their money. They are more likely to tell a stranger stories of their past that include simple password reminders. They are less likely to suspect that an interested individual is a con artist and not just a new friend. They can also be conned through the phone or in person by thieves impersonating a representative from a charity or a well-known company.”
These are the expert’s suggestions for thwarting would-be scammers:

  • Online Security. Encourage them to continue to bank in person rather than online and have the bank inform you of any purchase over a certain dollar amount. Also, install security software on any computer they use and keep it up to date. If they do click on a link including a virus their computer and information will be more protected.
  • Freeze their credit. A credit freeze is the fastest and easiest way to protect yourself from identity theft. A credit freeze is simply an agreement you make with the three main credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, that they won’t allow new accounts to be attached to your name or Social Security number unless you contact the credit bureau, give them a password and allow them to unfreeze or thaw your account for a short period of time.
  • Credit Check and Monitoring Service. If you are not going to do a credit freeze, then frequently check their credit report with them to make sure they understand if any new accounts have been opened.
  • Opt Out. Have them opt out of junk mail that comes from financial institutions. They can do this by going to or by calling 1-888-567-8688.
  • Buy them a shredder. By shredding anything that has their name, address, birthday, social security number, or account numbers they will be less likely to have their identity stolen through the trash. Teach them what to shred and make it convenient.
  • Keep them Informed. By staying current on the newest scams and social engineering techniques you can not only protect yourself, but also you can protect others.

Health Care Wishes Can Be Kept On Smartphone Application

Yes, there’s an app for that.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:
“While most all Americans think it’s a good idea to talk with their loved ones about end-of-life care, less than 30 percent have actually done it,” according to a recent posting on the website of the American Bar Association.
The organization has come up with a free solution to this dilemma in the form of an application that works on both Android and Apple smartphones. It’s called My Health Care Wishes Lite and it “gives individuals the ability to store and share important health care wishes,” the website states.
“In an emergency, you’ll have immediate access to a PDF version of your advance directive. An important document like this doesn’t belong tucked away in a safety deposit box or in a file cabinet somewhere. Import and store it on your smartphone so that it’s there for medical decision-making anytime, anywhere.
“Your information is protected because the data resides only on your smartphone, not on any server or cloud service.”
“Most of us haven’t given much thought to health consent and other related matters surrounding medical complications, life support or end of life,” according to the page for the app on Google Play. “But seeing the service provided by this app the added value and purpose is clear: this is certainly something anyone 18-plus could use for peace of mind. In the future, health care professionals will look first on your smartphone for the easily recognizable My Health Care Wishes icon instead of searching for a wallet card.”
There is a “pro” version of the application, which sells for $3.99 and offers more functions.
“It also allows you to create a digital library containing your advance care plan and those of your spouse, parents, children, and anyone you care for,” according to the ABS. “Your loved ones may be away at college, in a retirement community or nursing home, working in a different city, or under the same roof. Imagine having your wishes and those belonging to your loved ones stored in one place, just a click away. You can carry their health care wishes on your smartphone and they can carry your wishes on theirs.”

Wills Are Vital, But Other Documents Are Important, As Well

When it comes to estate planning, the will is far and away the most important document, but it’s not the only one individuals should have ready.

Last Will And Testament
Last Will And Testament (Photo credit: Ken_Mayer)
A recent article points out that the prudent planner will also prepare such documents as beneficiary forms, financial and health care powers of attorney, a living will, an inventory of assets, a list of contacts, funeral arrangements and trusts.
And, of increasing importance but something that many might overlook, the Forbes article also advises people to prepare a list of their digital assets.
“Write down your passwords for everything from your credit card accounts to your email accounts,” the story states “Consider using an online password storage service like my-iWallet or KeePass. Then you only have one password to remember. Give your executor and agent, under your power of attorney, instructions on how to find your password cheat sheet.”