We have all grown used to the endless attempts scammers throw our way. But unfortunately, senior citizens are targeted by these scam artists at an unprecedented rate. Every year, 5 million seniors are the victims of fraud or financial abuse. This makes it vital for seniors and their loved ones to be remain alert and protected from unsolicited attempts to access their personal information. Here is what seniors can do to help protect their information and prevent becoming a victim of fraud:
Use A Paper Shredder
Before you throw away any documents or mail containing sensitive personal or financial information, make sure you shred them first. Any mail or document that contains information such as account numbers, social security numbers, balances, or other sensitive information should never be thrown out without first having gone through a paper shredder. It is also important to shred things like insurance cards and credit or debit cards even if they are expired or were never activated. It is common practice for scammers to dig through garbage cans looking for such documents that have been carelessly thrown away.
Be Alert When Receiving Unknown Phone Calls or E-mails
Scam artists use technology to their advantage to gain access to sensitive personal information or to put seniors in a compromised emotional position where they can be more easily taken advantage of. Many times, scammers will make contact with elderly victims more than once to gain trust before they ask for any personal information. You should never disclose personal information over the phone or in email. If you don’t recognize the phone number or email address coming through, it is good practice to just ignore it all together. You can also add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or online at www.donotcall.gov.
Know Who to Ask For Help
If you believe you have become a victim of a scam, it is important for you to contact the right people to help you begin getting your accounts and identity secure and protected once again. You or a loved one should contact your bank and local law enforcement immediately. You can also reach out to Adult Protective Services (APS) by calling 1-800-677-1116 or online at www.eldercare.gov. APS is a social services program run by state and local governments responsible for investigating cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Our Community Helps Seniors Live Independently & Securely
If you have more questions about how to keep yourself or a loved one protected or about senior living options, we would be happy to help. At Mease Life Plan Community, we have options for every senior living need – from independent living to specialized short-term and long-term care. We are proud to offer our residents resort style living options with access to the highest quality of care and the resources they need throughout retirement. Contact us online or call us at 727-738-3000 to schedule your personal tour today!