Unfortunately Senior citizens are often the target of identity theft. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) published a “Privacy Survival Guide” that we believe is worth taking a look at. The PRC states, “(e)very day, we give away personal information about ourselves, often without even realizing it. In many instances, we cannot control how this information is used by others. However, many opportunities exist to protect your privacy and take control of your personal information.” The tips they provide help educate readers on the different ways they can take control over the way their personal information is used.
One tip the PRC provides is to reduce the amount of unwanted telemarketing calls by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry by calling (888) 382-1222 or online at www.donotcall.gov. If a business calls you, you can also asked to be placed on their internal “Do Not Call List.” For additional information about reducing telemarketing calls click on the following link to view the PRC’s “How to Have a Quiet Evening at Home” fact sheet: https://www.privacyrights.org/telemarketing-how-have-quiet-evening-home
You can also reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by registering for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at https://www.dmachoice.org/register.php
Another way to control how your information is used and reduce the risk of identity theft is by safeguarding your Social Security Number (SSN). You can do this by removing your Social Security Card (or anything other documentation containing your SSN) from your wallet and when someone asks for your SSN, ask why they need it and find out if you can provide a different identifier like your driver’s license number instead.
They also suggest that you learn to stay safe when using social networking. Many of us use social media to stay connected with friends and family, but it is important to understand that various people including scam artists and thieves use social networks to gather information about people. The PRC uses the rule of thumb: “Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of the newspaper.” Also, using privacy settings will help you control who can see your posts.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse provides a number of other helpful tips. You can view the list in its entirety at https://www.privacyrights.org/print/privacy-survival-guide-take-control-your-personal-information