As a caregiver, you want to take precautions against identity theft for yourself and your loved ones. Stealing a senior's identity and destroying their credit is rampant. There are phishing scams, where the thieves present themselves as representatives of charities or sweepstakes giveaways, and telephone scams that specifically target seniors, where they claim to be from a bank or credit card company, and even the I.R.S. Here are four things you can do to protect against having your loved one's identity stolen.
1: Freeze their credit with the three major credit agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
2: Get an IRS IP PIN. The IRS IP PIN is a 6-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns.
3: Consider identity theft insurance if you think you or your loved one might be at risk. Generally these companies monitor your credit and will alert you, but they alert you after the fact. Some will reimburse you for your losses or expenses. Research the different ones that are out there and see which one of them might be suitable for your needs.
4: Check your credit report. According to US law every citizen is entitled to one free credit report each year. You can get the free report from the three major credit agencies by going to Annualcreditreport.com.