Guest Post by: Willie Bryant
They are out there waiting, stalking and hunting. They look for the vulnerable and the kind. Although these predators can prey on anyone, seniors are their primary target. Identity thieves look for those that are not tech savvy. They search constantly for ways to steal identities, ruin lives and have no concern of whom they affect.
Helping seniors to protect their identities can be a delicate proposition. Many seniors are not accustomed to the Internet age and come from a different generation where burglary or having your wallet stolen was the only theft they would see. Finding ways to protect them and help them protect themselves will help give them security and allow them to enjoy their lives.
Whether a senior or a Wall Street investor, having a diverse portfolio is important. Assets shouldn’t just be squirreled away in an IRA or a bank account. One creative way to protect against fraud or identity theft is to have physical, hard assets. This includes gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals, which can be purchased through brokers such as US Money Reserve. Gold and silver are at all-time highs and have almost always been a safe investment. If someone’s identity is stolen, gold and silver investments will be safe somewhere physically, while a bank account or credit card can be drained in moments.
Coin collecting is another similar option. Collecting coins can be fun and a good way to spread out assets. Building a solid and varied collection of coins, stocks and other investments is a reliable way to ensure all of the proverbial eggs aren’t in one basket. If you have questions regarding investing in precious metals to combat identity theft, consult the company’s Facebook page, where users can help by providing comments, suggestions and links to other helpful resources.
The AARP reports that a staggering amount of those surveyed over the age of 55 have been scammed. The methods are sophisticated and often clever; ranging from inheritance scams, extortion, insurance and bank fraud. As mentioned earlier, much of the senior population did not grow up with the Internet and the methods used by thieves continue to evolve. It is hard to tell loved ones to become wary and untrusting, but today, even more diligence is required.
A Few Tips
- Do not ever give out a bank account number or a password online or over the phone. Institutions will never request this information because they have it already. Banks may send out alerts and emails about your account, but they will not request personal information. If you have a question about your account or holdings, call your institution personally and always look up the telephone number yourself. Do not trust that an email from a bank has the correct information, as it may be a scammer.
- Buy a paper shredder. There may be no better physical method of fraud protection than an old-fashioned paper shredder. Although online scam and fraud are increasing, there are still old-fashioned thieves that will literally dig through your trash to try to find a bank account number or a Social Security number.
- Be involved in your community. Talking to other seniors about fraud protection and scams is one way to know what is going on. Go to community forums and be a regular at AARP functions and city hall. Know the difference between a reputable business and a questionable business. All of these resources have programs and information on current scams and will have tips for keeping your identity safe.