Seniors: Victims of Identity Theft

( Written by Brian O’Connell for NortonLifeLock )

7 tips to help fight senior identity and financial fraud

Why seniors may be more vulnerable

Typical identity theft scams targeting the elderly

Who’s on your side?

Would you know if your Social Security number was being used?

LifeLock identity theft protection sees more threats to your identity, like your personal info on the dark web. And if you become a victim of identity theft, dedicated Identity Restoration Agents will work to fix it.

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A Data Breach Can Expose You for Years

by Alicja Grzadkowska
19 Sep 2019

Alicja is currently a News Editor at Insurance Business.

Consumers’ information is often not safe in today’s cyber world. Capital One’s recent massive data breach affected about 100 million individuals in the US, and another six million in Canada, while the breach that impacted Equifax in 2017 exposed the information of about 143 million Americans, and
approximately 8,000 Canadians.

And the reverberations from these events will continue to hurt consumers over the coming years.

“Some of the headline-making breaches that we’ve seen, like with Equifax where social security numbers are involved, victims’ identity fraud risk remains elevated, if not for several years then for life,” said Paige
Schaffer, CEO of Generali
Global Assistance’s identity and digital protection services global
unit. “Recently it was announced that Equifax would be providing up to seven years of resolution services, and while this seems like it’s a reasonable length of time, hackers will be aware of this fact. They’ll calendar it, and they don’t mind hanging on until they get over that time period.

Today’s cyber incidents are not particularly shocking to consumers as they happen so frequently, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t worried about identity fraud following a data breach.

“Our consumer research revealed that 79% of consumers rank being a victim of identity theft as one of the top things that they worry about, even more so than becoming seriously ill or injured, being in a car accident that would damage their car, or their home being robbed,” said Schaffer. “That same research found that 52% of respondents have personally been, or known someone who had been, a victim of identity theft or fraud.”

Nonetheless, many people still don’t have protection against identity fraud, nor do they take the appropriate post-breach steps to minimize their risks.

“Education is critical and vital so that consumers know how to properly protect themselves,” Schaffer told Insurance Business, adding that awareness around prevention techniques and protection solutions are not where they should be. “In our 2019 global cyber barometer survey, we found that 45% of global respondents reported they wouldn’t know what to do if their personal information had been compromised, and
close to half of global respondents believe that companies and
institutions aren’t doing enough to protect their personal information.”

The company also found that 44% of consumers don’t feel like they
have control over what information other people can access about them online, over 30% feel very exposed to cybercrime and identity theft, and
almost 30% consider themselves likely to become victims. Especially as more sensitive data is being breached, beyond just names and email address, protection solutions and proactive risk mitigation are becoming
ever-more important, and brokers can pass along these useful tips to
their clients.

The first step that consumers will want to take following an incident is to find out what type of information was compromised since the sensitivity and nature of the information exposed will influence how they should respond to the breach. While a
credit card or password can easily be replaced or changed, social
security numbers are a different story.

“A fraudster can do many bad things with a person’s social security number, whereas a leak of just their name or email address is much less damaging, though there’s still cause for concern. Victims will want to change their online information, their passwords, and their security
questions,” said Schaffer. “Consumers should reach out to their financial institutions immediately to cancel or replace affected cards, and if their driver’s licences were stolen, they need to contact their DMV. That allows them to flag licences that could be used fraudulently.”

Consumers should also consider a credit freeze, and in doing so are
essentially restricting any access to their credit so thieves can’t open accounts in the consumer’s name. They should likewise monitor activity on their bank statements and credit cards online, or if they get paper
statements, they should actually look at them and make sure that all the charges are legitimate.

“Breach victims should also be on the lookout for phishing emails, as
fraudsters have begun leveraging their own attacks and using hacked data to create highly targeted, more personalized phishing emails,” explained Schaffer. “If they have a little bit of information, it makes you feel like it must be a legitimate company since they know this stuff.”

Considering that firms will often offer minimal data protection
services if they do experience a data breach, consumers should also proactively sign up for identity protection services that include full service resolution and online data protection, as well as suspicious activity alerts for both credit and identity monitoring.

“Although it’s common to see free credit monitoring, it’s clear that
today’s consumers are no longer protecting themselves from singular incidents,” said the Generali Global Assistance expert. “These companies that have breaches have some fiduciary responsibility when there’s a
breach to give some sort of remuneration for the breaches and typically, that is a form of some coverage, but it’s really [usually] the bare
minimum and that is just not enough for the different types of breaches that are going on.”

Brokers and other insurance professionals can help make their
consumers aware about the range of offerings available on the
marketplace today, and employ effective risk mitigation to keep their identities protected. In fact, Generali Global Assistance works with many insurance clients.

“It really mitigates [the risks for] those insurance clients because
if all of their consumers or their employees are covered, then they’ve got less of a risk to pay out in the long-term,” explained Schaffer, though she added that simple common sense is also key to helping people stay proactive. After all, she said, “Whether this is a consumer’s first time being notified that their information was part of an incident, we can say with certainty that it won’t be their last.”


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$12 Million Tax Return Fraud & Data Breach

JANUARY 10, 2020 09:46 AM

A St. Louis-area man has been sentenced to four years in prison for a tax return scheme that netted nearly $900,000.

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo, who agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in September.

Federal prosecutors said Taiwo, co-conspirator Kevin Williams and others obtained personal information from people, including through a data breach at a payroll company. The victims included school district employees in Alabama and Mississippi.

Taiwo and others used the information to file false tax returns with the IRS. Prosecutors said Taiwo and his co-conspirators filed more than 2,000 fraudulent tax returns that claimed more than $12 million in refunds, of which the IRS paid out about $890,000.

The money must be paid back in restitution.

Williams was previously sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.


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Children & Identity Theft

By Better Business Bureau. December 16, 2019.
Scammers have thought up a new con involving “free child safety kits.” According to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports, scammers are offering these free “kits” as a way to get their hands on sensitive information that can be used to steal a child’s identity.

How the Scam Works

You are contacted over the phone, on social media or via email by someone offering to provide free child safety kits to all children in your community. They might explain that police and safety officials recommend all parents keep a kit that contains up-to-date pictures of their child, the child’s height, weight, birthdate, fingerprints, as well as a strand of their hair. And while that part of the story is true, the supposedly free child safety kits come with a hidden catch or two.

Scammers may insist that to receive your kit, you need to tell them sensitive personal information about your child, including their full name, address, birthdate, and Social Security or Social Insurance number. Some parents have even reported that the person who contacted them said that meeting the child in person at their home was a requirement.

If you give up your child’s personal information, they may become a victim of identity theft. Children are more likely to have their identities stolen than adults. Scammers know that people rarely, if ever, check their child’s credit report, which means they can get away with using a child’s name and information for years before being found out. In addition, children’s credit scores are a clean slate, making them an ideal target.

How to Avoid Scams Involving Your Children

Never give your child’s personal information to a stranger. Be especially careful with your child’s Social Security number.
Be wary of unsolicited offers. Legitimate businesses and organizations won’t contact you out of the blue without first getting your permission. Government institutions will generally contact you by mail before making phone calls.
Take precautions to protect your child’s identity. Check your child’s credit report annually for signs of fraud at Make sure your child’s school, doctor’s office, little league team, etc. will keep your child’s personal information safe if you opt to give it to them. Keep an eye out for red flags, such as bills or invoices mailed to your home in your child’s name.

For More Information

For more information on how to keep your family safe from identity theft, see Check out this warning about the scam from one local police department.

If you or your child has been the victim of identity theft, report your experience on the The information you share can help other people to protect their family from similar schemes.

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Thieves Are Everywhere

Brown, a Panama City resident, confessed to stealing bank checks and debit cards from both businesses and individuals, a news release from the Department of Justice said.

Elizabeth Shante Brown, a United States postal worker who held jobs in Okaloosa, Walton and Holmes counties, has been sentenced to 25 months in prison for stealing the property of some of her customers.

Brown, a Panama City resident, confessed to stealing bank checks and debit cards from both businesses and individuals, a news release from the Department of Justice said. She used the debit cards to make purchases and cashed the stolen checks.

The thefts occurred between March 1 and May 31 of 2017, the news release said.

“Public servants have an obligation to treat the public with respect and integrity, but this defendant tried to use her position of public trust for personal enrichment without regard to how it would hurt her innocent victims,” U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe said in the release, issued Monday.

Authorities learned that thefts were occurring in March of 2017 when a business reported to the Miramar Beach branch of the postal service that two of its debit cards had been stolen.

A review of transactions made with the cards indicated three purchases of phone equipment had been made at a Walmart in Panama City. Surveillance video captured Brown and a male acquaintance making the purchases.

Agents of the United States Postal Service Inspector General, working with the Panama City Police Department, were able to identify first the male acquaintance and later Brown. Brown was identified after she sold an I-Phone purchased with the debit card at a pawn shop.

Checkbooks stolen from a post office box in Ponce de Leon were also traced back to Brown. Investigators also discovered she’d successfully cashed a $500 check stolen from a Fort Walton Beach law firm, a summary of the charges said.

Brown was arrested, in her post office uniform, as she was attempting to cash another stolen check at a bank in Panama City, according to the release.

She pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of theft of mail by a U.S. Postal Service employee, the release said.

“The sentencing serves as a strong deterrent to those attempting to abuse the Postal Service and a clear reminder that the government is vigilant, and these crimes will not be tolerated,” Christopher Cave, postal spokesman said in the release.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.

ID Theft. What can a thief do with your ID?

What is identity theft?

When someone uses information about you without your permission.

The information can be your:
Name and address
Credit card or bank account numbers
Social Security number
Medical insurance account numbers

What can a thief do with your information?

Buy things with your credit cards
Get new credit cards
Open a phone, electricity or gas account
Steal your tax refund
Get medical care
Pretend to be you if they are arrested

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Click on my LifeLock link and take action!
Be aware. Be prepared. RecoverASAP.

Home Title Notifications

New LifeLock Feature:

What are Home Title Notifications?

We start by providing you with our Home Title Findings, a list of
properties we have identified as being in your name. LifeLock monitors the local county recorder’s office* for changes related to your home’s title**. We then monitor and notify you of any future changes, such as:

  • New Property Record
  • Change in Owner
  • New Lender
  • Change in Financing
  • Notice of Default

Why are these important?
Your home and property** are a valuable asset. If an identity thief assumes your identity, they may be able to:

  • Divert your mortgage payments to their own accounts
  • Take out a new loan against your property
  • Sell a property in your name
  • Place a lien on your property in attempt to collect a debt that you did not initiate

What are the limitations?
Home Title Monitoring relies on the information from the county recorder’s office* to provide you with notifications. This could result in delays, data being unavailable, and also in the following situations:

  • Recent activity made on your property** will not be available until they are processed by the recorder’s office.
  • If your property is held under a different name, we may not identify your property.

What should you do?
Review and verify the information is accurate. If unsure, or if you have questions, or if there is missing or inaccurate information, please contact the local county recorder’s office* listed in your notification to obtain a copy of the document. If you determine to be a victim of identity theft, contact LifeLock immediately at customer support for further investigation at 1-844-372-8616.

No one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime.

*In your state, the office that maintains real estate records could be known as a county recorder, register of deeds, clerk of the court, or some other government agency.

**Home Title Monitoring feature
includes your home, second home, rental home or other properties where you have an ownership interest.