identity theft prevention for senior citizens

ELKINS – “We find that seniors tend to be a lot of the times a target for identity theft,” said Rita McCrobie, a representative of the WV State Attorney General’s Office.

And the scams aren’t always the same.

“Just have to be on guard all the time,” McCrobie said.

That’s why some Barbour County senior citizens attended a discussion about identity theft Monday afternoon at the Barbour County Senior Center.

“Well, it’s always good to find out any information you can about possible scams or people taking advantage of the elderly,” said discussion attendee Richard McDaniels.

Identity thieves often target the elderly because they live alone, are hard of hearing or are unaware of the scams going around.

“My generation tends to be more concerned with the things that are going on in the world and more sympathetic than the younger generations,” McDaniels said. “That’s not everyone, of course. But I think generally we are more gullible and sympathetic.”

The State Attorney General’s office sends representatives to senior centers to spread the word about what types of scams are out there, how to avoid them, and what to be aware of.

“Never give out any kind of information over the phone no matter what they tell you,” McCrobie said. “Because so many times they will tell you it’s the bank calling, it’s the courthouse calling. And you actually look at your caller I. D. And it says that. So you think you’re safe….but you’re not.”

“Never give out your social security number to anyone,” McDaniels said.

But just knowing what to look out for might not be enough.

Because as reluctant as you are to give out your information, these thieves are equally as reluctant to take no for an answer.

“Sometimes people come around and bully them about things and scare them into signing things and accepting things they don’t want,” McCrobie said.

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