Just so you are aware, there are actually two different types of identity theft to beware of and to watch out for with the senior members of your family.
- Account Takeover: This type of identity theft happens when a thief gets ahold of existing credit or debit cards or even just the account numbers and expiration dates (as was our case in Italy when my husband used an ATM machine to get cash out. The thief had a device that read our card and all data associated with it. He was then able to duplicate the card and cleaned out our bank accounts before we could even return to the states.). Thieves are then able to use the cards to purchase whatever it is that they desire.
- Application Fraud: Is when a thief gets ahold of a Social Security number and then uses that and other information he or she has been able to obtain about you (acquired from the trash, mailbox, etc.). The thief then uses the information that they have, fill out a new credit card application in that person’s name and then they are able to go on a shopping spree until the cash runs out. In the meantime, the person whose name exists on that card is responsible for the expenditures!
It is difficult to ever completely prevent either of these or both from happening to you or to someone that you love, but there are preventative measures I will address in further postings that can at least help make you and yours aware of the thieves around you.