Although the majority of identity theft victims are between 25 and 54 years old,* scammers don't discriminate. No matter who you are or what your financial standing is, you must remain cautious with your personal information. Guard important paperwork and any identifying elements, such as your Social Security number or your Community Bank account numbers.
From Tuition Fees to Scholarships
Along with mounds of paperwork to complete, most college-bound students are more concerned about how to furnish their dorm rooms. But some have succumbed to thieves who call students regarding their college loans and ask for the students' credit card numbers for special "processing fees."
The rule, as always, is to be skeptical. Advise your children or grandchildren to know exactly whom they are giving their personal information to. They shouldn't be fooled by "surprise" grants or scholarships for which they didn't apply. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Older Americans should remain just as vigilant in protecting their identities. While you already may be looking for scam artists trying to bilk money out of your estate, remember to be cautious of anyone asking for your personal information. Some criminals try to exploit the new Medicare prescription drug laws to assume your identity. When discussing your health care, just like your finances, make sure you are speaking with an identifiable professional whom you trust.
Security Is Paramount
At Community Bank, we strive to help you protect your identity. If you need advice on steps you can take to be even more vigilant, stop in today. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, alert all your financial institutions, the three major credit-reporting agencies and the police immediately.
* Source: Federal Trade Commission, "National and State Trends in Fraud & Identity Theft," Feb. 1, 2005.