How Seniors Can Avoid Identity Theft

Protecting your retirement income and savings is becoming an important concern among the older generation. The Centers for Disease Control reported that those who retire at the age of 65 can expect to live for another 20 years. As this generation continues to live longer, it is important to protect their retirement fund from identity thieves.

The Federal Trade Commission conducted a survey and found that in 2012, 52,610 consumers over the age of 60 filed complaints regarding identity theft. That is, 19 percent of the total survey and a 6 percent increase from 2012. Ken Chaplin, vice president of marketing for Experian's ProtectMyID program, said seniors are commonly the victims of identity theft because they have more money to spend.

"Thieves realize seniors are more likely to have paid off loans and are probably carrying less credit card debt than other age groups, which makes them a low risk for creditors," Chaplin told the Daily Finance.

There are many ways seniors can prevent identity theft from happening.

Don't carry around unnecessary items
When it comes to the bare essentials, this does not include any important documentation. Social Security card, passport and tax information should all be stored at home under lock and key. Along with not carrying around important papers, seniors should avoid carrying around too many credit cards. Having a second credit card for emergencies is a good way to get you out of a jam, but carrying several cards will lend you to a greater risk of identity theft if your wallet is stolen.

Update your security
Taking a quick minute to go through your computer and change your security settings every few months is a painless way to prevent identity theft. Experts say that phishing scams and key-stroke programs are some of the most common ways that criminals can trick seniors into divulging personal information. Updating your security and anti-virus software can prevent you from receiving these malicious emails and scams.

Don't reveal too much information
If you come across what you think is a scam, be careful not to divulge too much information to these parties. A legitimate business will never ask for specific financial details online, so do not respond if they ask you these types of questions.

By routinely checking your credit and keeping a tight lid on personal information you can avoid the pitfalls of identity theft.