How to protect the elderly from identity theft in Powell, Ohio

Elderly people in Powell, Ohio are frequent targets of scam artists and identity thieves both online and offline. One contributing factor is because elderly parents and grandparents may not be as experienced with computers, Internet, and online content. Another reason is that the elderly often have large savings accounts that criminals want to access. Here are just a few ways to protect the elderly from identity theft.


Educate Elderly Loved Ones

The first line of defense for protecting parents, grandparents and other elderly friends and loved ones from identity theft in Powell is education. Speak with your elderly loved ones about all the most common hazards and scams occurring online. Describe how spoofing, phishing and malware work. The point must be made repeatedly that the Internet is a dangerous place where many people are working non-stop trying to steal identities. This will give an elderly person a good foundation for staying safe. Be certain to give examples and personal experiences so your elderly loved ones feel like they are not alone as targets and do not feel like you are attacking their intelligence.


Never Send Personal Information to Strangers

Let elderly loved ones know to never send personal information to strangers. An elderly person could be prompted through emails or a phone call to reveal information like bank account numbers, social security numbers or passwords. The elderly person should understand that no reputable institution in Powell, Ohio or the country would ever request personal information through an email. It is often difficult for elderly loved ones to believe the world includes people motivated just to steal.


Research Websites before Making Online Purchases

Some criminals set up false e-commerce websites to trick people into entering credit card numbers and billing addresses. Everyone, including your elderly loved ones should research websites before making any online purchases. The site should have official certifications and security badges. There should be a phone number and address for contact. Tell elderly people to never buy from sites that do not seem legitimate. And, if they have questions, do not purchase online. Call the customer service number or, better, have them call you so you can help them research the purchase.


Shred Sensitive Personal and Financial Documents

Throwing away any documents that contain personal information is very dangerous even in Powell, Ohio. Criminals can go through the trash of an elderly person checking for old bank statements or anything with identifying information on it. The solution is to get elderly family members simple shredders. All mail and personal documents should be shredded before being thrown away just to be safe.


Contact Friends or Family When In Doubt

A final step is to let elderly loved ones know to contact friends or family members when in doubt about anything online or offline. Someone more familiar with the Internet and scams might easily identify something fraudulent. One simple and fast phone call could make all the difference in the life of an elderly family member. For instance, a recent telephone scam where the caller pretended to be a grandchild in trouble that needed money. The caller asked the elderly victim to send money through a wire service and please do not tell “mom and dad.”

Most important of all, keep the communication lines open to your elderly loved ones so they feel comfortable talking to you about these kinds of issues without shame or embarrassment.