April 2013: Identity theft and the elderly
CORE ID Services

ID Theft & Older Americans

Seniors face special risks

The elderly are often targeted for scams, and ID theft is no exception. In fact, several factors may put seniors at particular risk:
  • Unfamiliarity with newer technology can make online scams harder to detect.
  • In-home caretakers or assisted living staff may have access to personal documents and banking information.
  • Medicare accounts may create risks for medical identity theft.
Now for some good news: older family members living in your household receive full identity theft monitoring and recovery protection under ARX-ID Complete Family plans. To extend coverage to family members of every age under your roof, log into www.mycoreid.com to upgrade to ARX-ID Complete Family today. Or consider purchasing an individual ARX-ID plan for older relatives living on their own or in an assisted living facility. For more info, just call  855-262-7612.

Daniel J. Benish
CORE ID Services, LLC

Talk with Seniors About Identity Theft


Older Americans may be unaware of some of the newer identity theft risks. Take time to talk with your older relatives about the different ways they can protect themselves. Here are some talking points:
  • Don't give out personal information -- over the phone or by email. If they receive a request for account information, passwords, address, or their Social Security number from an institution they think they know, they should hang up and call that institution back.
  • If they use a computer, make sure they have anti-virus software installed and updated regularly. Visit StopThinkConnect.org for more info on staying safe online.
  • Have them request their annual credit report regularly -- if they are not often applying for new lines of credit, they may be unaware of changes or problems with their credit report.
  • Show them this info from the FTC on how to protect their Medicare card and account information.
  • Reassure them that anyone can be fooled by scams. Don't make them feel ashamed to ask for help.

"Ghosting" Haunts Bereaved Family Members

Did you know the law requires that your deceased family members' Social Security Numbers are posted on the Internet? Published as part of the Social Security Death Index, this move was initially designed to prevent fraud. However, identity thieves can now buy access to this information for as little as $10, and use it to commit financial fraud, file for income tax refunds, and commit other types of identity theft. Identity thieves can also get this information by scanning obituaries or even through family connections. Known as "ghosting," this type of fraud go on for six months before financial and government agencies coordinate their records to record the death.

To help protect your loved ones' information and assets, here are a few steps the spouse or executor should take: 
  • File income tax returns as soon as possible.
  • Request at least 12 official copies of the death certificate.
  • Notify all financial and credit institutions immediately to request the account be closed or transferred to the name of the surviving spouse alone.
  • Request a copy of the deceased's credit report. This form letter from the Identity Theft Resource Center can help: http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/v_templates/Letter_templates.shtml
  • Use the credit report to identify any additional accounts that should be closed, and keep a copy to document any new accounts that might be opened.
  • Notify the three credit reporting agencies of the death, and ask them to add this alert to the file: "Deceased. Do not issue credit. If an application is made for credit, notify the following person(s) immediately: (list the next surviving relative, executor/trustee of the estate and/or local law enforcement agency- noting the relationship).”

While identity theft may be the furthest from your mind in a time of grief, by registering your deceased family members under your ARX-ID Complete Family plan, you can have the peace of mind that we will be actively monitoring for fraud. Our Certified Recovery Specialists are also trained in the special steps that must be taken to resolve identity theft for a deceased individual .

Identity theft complaints among older Americans is rising

Almost 20% of identity theft complaints registered with the FTC are from Americans 60 and older -- and have consistently increased over the past 3 years.

Source: 2013 Consumer Sentinel Data Book, Federal Trade Commission

ARX-ID Complete Family protects seniors in your household

Looking for the perfect gift?

Protect your loved ones with ARX-ID Complete Family: Upgrade your coverage at www.mycoreid.com to get full identity theft monitoring and recovery services for everyone in your household, including your children and older family members in your care.

Free Workshop

Identity theft & Older Americans: Attend a free workshop hosted by the FTC on May 7, covering medical, government benefit, tax, and other forms of identity theft and their effect on older Americans. Attend in person, via webcast or live Twitter feed.
Medicare Part D plan telephone solicitations are illegal

Scam Alert

Medicare Part D Plan Scams: By law, Medicare Part D plan reps can only enroll you over the phone if you call them. If you get a call offering to sign you up, the FTC warns they are most likely hoping to get your personal information to commit fraud.
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