How Seniors are Impacted by ID Theft
When picking victims, identity theft doesn’t discriminate. It’s an unfortunate truth that if you have a Social Security number, there is always a chance that you could become a victim of identity theft.
However, there are groups that are targeted by identity thieves more than others – specifically, seniors and older adults.
Seniors in America are targeted by identity thieves because of the time they’ve had to accrue savings and grow their credit. These are seen as valuable assets that fraudsters want to try and take advantage of. An annual report from the Senate Special Committee on Aging states that seniors lose an estimated $3 billion annually from financial exploitation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, which tracks data around fraud reported throughout the year, fraud effects every generation differently, with a few noticeable trends.
· The median monetary loss from instances of fraud increases as age does
· Those ages 60 and above are typically targeted over the phone with gift card and credit card scams
How Seniors Are Targeted for Identity Theft
Scams have permeated the identity theft landscape as one of the leading ways that personally identifiable information (such as Social Security numbers and Medicare information) is stolen, and the consequences can be devastating.
As scams get more convincing, safely navigating away from them does as well. Some of the most frequent scams that target seniors are:
- IRS Impersonation Scams
Both phone and email variations of this scam exist, and both are exceedingly successful in deceiving people. The caller will claim to be from the IRS, going so far as to provide a fake “identification number”. They will claim that the person owes money to the IRS and that it is urgent that they make the payment now, over the phone, or they may be threatened with arrest or a suspended driver’s license. IRS Impersonation Scams were the number one scam targeting seniors in 2018.
- Medicare Scams
Another scam that takes place over the phone, the fraudster will call and claim to be working for Medicare. To verify the person’s identity, they’ll have the victim read off some of their Medicare information. The scammer will then use this information to file false claims, obtain care themselves, or sell the victim’s information on the Dark Web.
- Social Security Administration Scams
There are many scams related to Social Security numbers, but most recently, scammers have been calling seniors and aggressively claiming that they will suspend or cancel the victim’s Social Security number if they don’t pay to have a fine removed or a restriction lifted.
- Tech Support Scams
Tech Support Scams are all about making the person on the receiving end believe that there’s something wrong with their computer, and that paying for tech support services is the best and only way to go about fixing it.
What Seniors Can Do About Identity Theft
Seniors and older adults don’t have to feel powerless to the efforts of identity thieves and fraudsters. Here’s what you can do:
- Educate yourself and the loved ones in your life about popular scams targeting seniors. Knowledge is power: the best way to avoid a scam is by being able to identify it.
- Sign up for identity theft protection. Identity Guard is committed to providing easy to use, top of the line technology to defend users of all ages against the efforts of identity thieves. And if you or someone you love does fall victim to fraud- they’re not out of options. Identity Guard’s fully US-based team of identity restoration experts