Tips on Identity Theft Prevention – Oakland
Elders in Oakland, the East Bay, and the Bay Area are at risk for financial elder abuse and identity theft. The elderly are particularly at risk for identity theft because they are perceived to be more trusting, less tech-savvy, and more likely to have fixed incomes. In addition, the dependence of many elders on caregivers or institutions makes them targets for fraudulent and ill-intentioned perpetrators of identity theft. If you or a loved one are living in Oakland and worried about protecting yourself against identity theft, consider the following tips:
– Constantly monitor your finances and follow-up on all your financial statements, accounts, and funds. This includes any insurance or annuity policies you may have, in addition to bank and credit card accounts. A perpetrator of financial abuse and identity theft will frequently target an elder’s financial accounts with the assumption that the elder does not regularly access or monitor their account statements.
– Do not give out your personal information over the phone or on the Internet. Any legitimate financial institution will trust and respect your privacy by conducting these sorts of exchanges in person or with privacy measures. Err on the side of caution and especially avoid giving out your social security number, bank account numbers, or retirement account numbers. Do not give this information to caregivers or other individuals who may regularly access your personal financial accounts. Other information you should avoid giving out includes your health insurance number; taxpayer identification number; driver’s license number; passport number; or employee identification number.
– Appropriately store or get rid of documents that have your personal information on them. Some identity thieves will sift through trash or recycling to find documents that show account numbers or other private information. For this reason, it is important to either store these documents in a private place or shred them before throwing them away. Likewise, you should shred or cut up old credit cards.
Next Steps for Victims of Identity Theft
There are several institutions in California and nationwide to help victims of identity theft and help them prevent further losses. You should first place a fraud alert on your account by contacting a nationwide credit report agency. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian are three agencies that can place fraud alerts on your accounts and any others that may have been opened in your name by a perpetrator of identity theft.
You should also contact any financial institutions in which you have open accounts and inform them of your fraud alert. Placing a fraud alert will give you access to copies of your credit reports, which you should review for any suspicious or inconsistent transactions.
Change your current passwords, pin numbers, and security questions for your accounts and personal information. Store this new information in a safe and private place, and make sure to close all accounts associated with the old information.
If you feel it is necessary, you may also file a police report in Oakland or the area where you believe the identity theft took place.
The Evans Law Firm focuses on elder financial abuse in Oakland, San Francisco, The Bay Area, and throughout California. If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of identity theft, contact the Evans Law Firm at 415-441-8669 for a free and confidential consultation, or email email@example.com.