Identity theft takes a leap during holiday season. It seems that scam artists come out of the woodwork. They may create heart-wrenching stories to steal money. They stalk people in parking lots. They take credit card numbers. Any of us can be a victim of identity theft, but it can be even worse for the sick and elderly.
Because many sick and injured people prefer to wear Patient Scrubs®, I’m in contact with a lot of targeted people. It seems unthinkable for crooks to prey on sick & injured, but it’s a fact of life. Scammers even steal the identity of dead people. Here are some tips to help you prevent theft.
- Shred instead of throwing away mail with your name and address. Utility bills, credit card applications, magazines and other mail puts you at risk for identity theft. Simply tear off your name/address to put in your shredder.
- Say no to deals that sound too good to be true. If someone shows up at your door or calls you, don’t give them info. Research and ask questions before hiring anyone.
- Don’t carry your social security card with you, and don’t use it for identity. Give this number only if absolutely necessary.
- Avoid shopping on unsecured Wi-Fis. Scammers can easily take your information on an unsecured network.
- Refrain from providing personal information via email. It’s a favorite place for scammers to get your info.
- Park in well-lit and populated areas so you don’t set yourself up theft. Thieves prowl parking lots looking for someone to rob or to ask for a handout for some hard-luck story. Avoid strangers in parking lots.
- Use strong online passwords that contain a combination of letters, symbols and numbers. Look for https:// in web addresses for stronger security.
From the Patient Scrubs® lady to you and your family: Stay safe and protect your identity during this holiday season and beyond!