Have you noticed the phone ringing off the hook at your mother or father’s home? Most of the time the number is an 800 caller or unknown. In fact, at this stage of your parent’s life, there are very few people who call them on the phone other than you. So who are all these callers? The majority of these calls are scammers hoping to gain identity information from your mother or father.
Identity theft scammers appear in some different ways. Some of these individuals are bold enough to come up to your mother or father’s front door. Your loved one should not answer it if they do not know the person on the other side of it. Not everyone who comes to the door uninvited is a scammer, but your parent should not take a chance. Identity thieves are known to overtake seniors at their front doors and ransack their homes, gathering up personal information and stealing items of value. Not only could your parent be hurt or worse, the scammer will have obtained personal information about your loved one and will begin to empty bank accounts and use credit cards, while family members are unaware.
Phone thieves are subtle and may state or imply that they are calling from the IRS in order to scare your mom or dad into paying out money over the phone. Inform your parent that the IRS never calls to demand money and no information, personal or otherwise, should be shared over the phone. If the IRS needs information they will contact your parent via the United States Postal Service, and will provide your parent with instructions and a deadline; nothing is immediately due that day. It is important that if your parent is getting calls like this on a regular basis, they report this to you so you may either change their phone number.
The bottom line is that your parent’s personal information is not to be compromised with the wrong people.
Help Protect Against Scammers
While professional help should be sought out for identity theft, a caregiver can help your senior loved one to distinguish a scammer from a reputable caller. Simply by listening to the call, they can help protect their personal information.