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Avoiding Scams and Identity Theft: Protect Yourself

By: Inter Valley Health Plan

It’s unfortunate but millions of older adults are affected by scams that target them to take their money. Sometimes, older adults are targeted by phone when scammers pretend to be the Internal Revenue Service or asking them to click on something when on the Internet to hack into their computers to retrieve personal and financial information. Although these and other similar scams are prevalent, it’s best not to live in fear but instead be prepared and protect yourself.

First, make it a rule to never give personal information over the phone to anyone. You should never disclose your social security number, bank account or credit card information to anyone who asks you over the phone.

Secondly, if someone requests money from you in any form, and you are feeling uneasy, ask them to issue you something in writing to confirm. True scammers will never follow up so when you don’t hear back from them, you will know you made the right choice. Additionally, before sending money to anyone, run it by a family member to see what they think.

Also, make it a habit to review your bank statements thoroughly every week or even a few times per week. The more consistently you check the statements, the quicker you can catch suspicious charges.  You should also request a credit report once per year--- to ensure it’s in good standing.  You can find more information on this here.

Lastly, use a cell phone to get on the ‘Do Not Call’ list.  This will remove your contact information from the general public and greatly reduce chances that you will be contacted by potential scammers. You can find out more about this list here.

Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes geared to the health and vitality of older adults.  For a full list of classes in your area, please visit forhealthandliving.com/ivhpevents.
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