Recently I shared with you some helpful tips from 6 Simple Ways for Older People to Deal with Chronic Pain, an article that appeared in The Pulse, which is produced by the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies. In their March 2017 issue, they published a number of very pertinent articles.

Today, I would like to talk about some information which appeared in The Pulse’s second article, called 9 Ways Seniors Can Avoid Identify Theft.

Sadly, each year people fall victim to identity theft. The following are some great ways to avoid this from happening to you.

1.      Guard Your Personal Information: Never give out your Social Insurance Number, Credit Card Number, Bank Account or other identifying information, unless you initiated the contact. Don’t carry your OHIP or Social Insurance Number in your wallet.

2.      Get Off Mailing Lists: Put a stop to preapproved credit card offers. If you do receive them, SHRED THESE OFFERS, don’t just throw them in the recycle bin or garbage!

3.      Use Strong Passwords: To safeguard your personal data on your smartphone or tablet don’t use a password that is easy to hack. Use computer passwords that are more than 8 characters long, using upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. And never tell anyone your password!

4.      Be wary of unknown emails: Don’t click on any links in emails from strangers or those that claim they are from the CRA, other government agencies, your Bank or Credit Card Company. By clicking on these links, you could be installing malware that will steal your personal information from your computer. Install antivirus and anti-malware software on your computer, and scan daily.

5.      Secure your mail: Empty your mailbox daily, or buy a locked mailbox.

6.      Get safer credit cards: Get chip credit cards; they are more difficult to hack than magnet strips.

7.      Shred all unneeded documents: Unneeded records, receipts, statements, pre-approved credit offers or other papers that have your personal or financial information should all be shredded.

8.      Monitor Your Accounts: Review your bank and credit card statements carefully. Confirm that your bank or credit card issuer will offer you free alerts if they note suspicious activity.

9.      Watch your credit: Check your credit report at local credit bureaus, such as TransUnion or Equifax. There is a new online company called Credit Karma where you can access your credit report.

Source; March 2017 Issue of The Pulse is an e-memo for all EPC members, and is produced by the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies.