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Alzheimer and Dementia Victim Identity Theft On The Rise

- Friday, April 30, 2010

Alzheimer and Dementia Victim Identity Theft On The Rise

The unscrupulous continue to victimize the elderly at record levels, especially those in the early stages of Alzheimer and other dementia illnesses.  Alzheimer’s and indeed senior citizens as a whole are especially vulnerable to identity theft because they are more trusting, many of them are lonely,  and most are less aware of the ever increasing variety of scams.

The telephone is a powerful tool for scammers that prey on senior citizens. While many senior citizens don't use email or browse the internet, they all use the telephone. Identity thieves call elderly people and pretend to represent churches, charities, scholarships, and countless other activities.   Scammers also use snail mail to phish for information from the elderly. Like the phone calls, the mail appears to come from trusted sources, such as the victim's bank, charitable organizations or well known companies.

Protect your loved ones by discussing the subject of identity theft with them and by limiting exposure of their personal information.  Review their mail and identify to your loved one the specific things that they should never discard without being thoroughly destroyed (or better yet, shredded).  Convince your loved ones to never respond to any type of solicitation without first consulting a trusted family member.  And it goes without saying, sadly, the degree of financial discretion afforded victims of Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia must be constantly reassessed based on the progression of the disease.