Identity Theft and the Elderly

The Elderly May Need Help In Preventing and Fighting Identity Theft

Anyone can become the victim of identity theft, including elderly individuals who rarely use their credit cards and have never been on a computer. However, it is important to remember that the elderly are affected very differently by identity theft and they may need our help in fighting and preventing the crime from happening to them.

What They Don’t Know Can Hurt Them

The elderly can be more susceptible to the negative effects of identity theft because they often don’t even realize they have been the victim of identity theft until it catches up to them. In many cases where an elderly individual realizes he or she has become the victim of identity theft, that individual does not even report the crime due to the fact that they often feel ashamed and embarrassed for “allowing” something like that to happen to them. It is important that we make it very clear that there should be no embarrassment associated with being the victim of identity theft. The only embarrassment should be for the individuals responsible for committing such disgusting crimes.

Looking Out For Others

If you look after or care for an elderly neighbor or relative, try to help that person check his or her credit report annually. To make it easy you can run regular credit checks at the same time that you do your own. This way you won’t forget about this important preventative measure.

Putting the Pieces Back Together

If you discover that an elderly person you care about has been victimized by identity theft, assist them in taking the necessary steps to remedy the unfortunate situation. Usually this will involve filing a police report, contacting the FTC and contacting all of the creditors listed on the victim’s credit report. Remember to document everything you can. Repairing one’s credit history is possible, but it does take determination and effort. While an elderly person may feel helpless on their own, a helping hand can make all the difference in the world.

An Ounce of Prevention vs. A Pound of Cure

It is always best to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft due to the work involved in repairing the damage it causes. Remember to regularly run credit checks for both yourself and any elderly friends or neighbors you care for. While you may not be able to stop the crime from happening altogether, you can minimize any damage that may occur.

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