In recent years, more and more elderly citizens have found themselves as the victims of identity theft. Senior citizens are often viewed as easy targets, and they fall prey to unsavory individuals looking to profit financially off the misfortune of others. Don't allow yourself to become a statistic. There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from identity theft, even if you are not handling your affairs on your own. Here is a look at how senior citizens can fight back against identity theft.

SEE: Identity Theft: How To Avoid It

Guard Your Personal Information
It is of the utmost importance that vital information, such as your social security number and driver's license number, is guarded vigilantly from outside parties. Do not willingly give this information up to just anyone. Most customer service departments for banks and insurance companies require you to verify your identity for your own protection. Often times, the customer service agent you speak to will require you to verify either your name, address, date of birth, the last four digits of your Social Security number or any combination of this information. Do not give out your personal information willingly. If a customer service agent asks for your full social security number, a red flag should certainly be raised.

Use Caution on the Internet
In today's modern age where just about anything can be done on the Internet from socializing to handling business transactions, you will want to exert caution when browsing the web. While a website may look safe, one wrong click could mean the difference between protecting your finances and falling prey to identity theft. Ensure that your computer has an up-to-date anti-virus program. If at all possible, invest in a program that protects you from spyware, malware, viruses and other types of cyber-attacks that can occur during Internet browsing.

Appoint Someone You Trust to Handle Your Affairs
Handling your affairs such as paying bills and answering insurance queries should be left up to someone you fully trust. Appoint someone you can place your complete trust in, such as a friend or relative. You should feel 100% confident that this person has your best interest at heart. If at any time you feel unsure about the person handling your affairs, speak to someone you trust. After all, this is your money and well-being that is at stake, and the last thing you want is for someone to take advantage of you.

Be Mindful of the Contents of Your Wallet
While it may be convenient for many citizens to carry all of their identification documents, credit cards and money in their wallet, it is not the best way to keep your identity and finances safe. Leave pertinent documents such as your birth certificate, social security card and Medicare identification card at home in a safe place. If your wallet were to go missing or stolen, the person who finds it would have access to all your finances and your identity as well.

Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Credit Report
Examining the contents of your credit report is one sure-fire way to tell if someone has attempted to steal your identity. If you notice some unfamiliar charges on your credit report, do not simply ignore them. Contact the major credit reporting agencies and dispute any unfamiliar charges. The credit reporting agencies will then review your claim and remove them from your report once they have determined that they are indeed fraudulent.

SEE: Check Your Credit Report

The Bottom Line
Although senior citizens often fall victim to identity theft, there are plenty of ways they can protect themselves against this heinous crime. Warding off identity theft is easy when you use common sense and vigilance in maintaining your privacy and vital data.

Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    6 Methods to Maintain a Healthy Credit Score During Retirement

    Learn how to improve your credit score during retirement. Your credit score still matters in retirement, and these tips can give it a boost.
  2. Personal Finance

    10 Unfamiliar Ways to Help Pay Down Medical Bills

    Mounting medical bills can be frightening. But these out-of-the-box solutions can help you avoid ruining your credit rating when you don't pay them.
  3. Retirement

    Six of the Best Credit Cards for Seniors

    You’re retired, but the expenses don't stop. If you’re looking for a new credit card, which should you choose? Here are six cards for seniors to consider.
  4. Retirement

    Power of Attorney: When It's Critical to Get One

    "The sooner the better" is the usual answer.
  5. Credit & Loans

    Business Vs. Consumer Credit Reports: What's the Difference?

    Find out the difference between a business credit report and a personal credit report, and why it should matter for business owners.
  6. Credit & Loans

    What Is the Lowest Credit Score?

    Learn about the different types of credit scores available to borrowers, and find out about the lowest scores under each one of those credit scores.
  7. Taxes

    Why Retirees Can't Count on Muni Bonds

    Interest may not be tax-exempt for seniors with Medicare or Social Security benefits.
  8. Credit & Loans

    Expert Tips for Cutting Credit Card Debt

    Managing your debt could mean the difference between spending $45,000 or saving $184,000.
  9. Retirement

    Retired? 5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Now

    Retirement can mean living on a tighter budget, which is why having great credit is so important. Here's how to ensure your credit is in tip-top shape.
  10. Retirement

    5 Reasons Your Credit Score Matters in Retirement

    Don't let your credit score go to hell, just because you're no longer employed full-time. Here are a quintet of reasons why.
  1. How many free credit reports can you get per year?

    Individuals with valid Social Security numbers are permitted to receive up to three credit reports every 12 months rather ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Is it possible to get a free credit report from Equifax?

    It is possible to get a free credit report from Equifax, as well as the other two major credit bureaus, Experian and TransUnion. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do free credit reports affect your credit score?

    Free credit reports do not impact your credit score. Credit inquiries are divided into two categories: soft inquiries and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does a free credit report show your credit score?

    The free credit reports available from the three credit reporting agencies do not include your credit score. Under the 2 ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Is getting a free credit report safe?

    Getting a free credit report can be safe if you are careful about the particular website from which you get it. Credit reports ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How accurate are free credit reports?

    Free credit reports are usually considered mostly accurate, which is why it is important to regularly examine your own reports. ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  3. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  4. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  5. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  6. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
Trading Center