Identity theft and other forms of fraud are serious issue among elderly adults. Seniors tend to represent a large percentage of those who fall victim to identity theft throughout the United States each year. This is due to a variety of factors, and as a family caregiver it is extremely important for you to not only recognize the risk your parents are in, but to take meaningful steps in all aspects of your care routine with them to reduce this risk and protect them from the potentially devastating consequences that can occur as a result of this type of crime.
One activity that can be particularly risky in terms of making your parent vulnerable to identity theft is use of the internet. The internet can represent a very important and useful resource for your parents when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family, shopping, learning new things, and more.
Unfortunately, it can also be very risky and make the chances higher that your senior will experience identity theft. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce your parents risk of this crime while also allowing them to enjoy the benefits of the internet.
Some ways you can help reduce the risk of identity theft for your parents while they use the internet include:
Learn to identify the difference between an encrypted website and one that is not encrypted. If your aging parent utilizes a site that is not properly encrypted, they are at risk. These sites are not secure, and can easily be accessed by those wishing to use personal information fraudulently.
Remind your parents that a legitimate business will never ask for personal information when your senior is not soliciting a specific service. For example, the only times they should be willing to provide information such as their social security number is if they are purposely applying for credit from a verified source or similar situations.
Make sure your parent does not click links in emails, even if the email appears to be coming from a friend or family member. Criminals can mask emails, making them look as though they come from a familiar source, and put links in them that will make your parent vulnerable to hacking.
Ensure your senior never posts personal information on publicly-accessible platforms, such as social media. This includes never putting information such as their social security number, credit card numbers, PINs, or even date of birth where someone can access it without authorization.
Review the password your parent uses for online accounts such as social media, online banking, and online shopping. Make sure they use unique passwords for their different accounts, and that these passwords cannot be easily guessed.
Simply because your parent is getting older does not mean they shouldn’t be able to pursue a lifestyle that is active, engaged, and fulfilling as they possibly can. In many situations, their challenges and limitations can keep them from doing everything they’d like. If this is a situation with your aging parent, starting homecare for them may be the ideal solution.
A homecare services provider can be with your parent on the schedule that is right for them to ensure that they have access to support, care, and assistance designed specifically for them. The services available from a homecare provider are completely customizable, which means you can feel confident your parent is getting exactly what they need, but that you are still at the forefront of their care. With this type of care, your parent can feel more independent, stay safer and healthier, and enjoy this chapter of their life more completely, while avoiding risks and managing their needs.