Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a warning this week for Oklahomans to be aware of criminals targeting seniors for identity theft.
“Identity theft has increased with our older population and it is important that Oklahomans know how to protect themselves,” Pruitt said.
Older residents can be more susceptible to identity theft because of the amount of personal data they give for health care or in-home assistance. Many seniors can be in vulnerable situations and not be aware.
It is important to be prepared and knowledgeable about how to prevent theft, and know what to do if you’re a victim, Pruitt said.
The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit provides the following tips to avoid identity theft:
• Regularly check bank statements to make sure all transactions are correct;
• Keep your mail safe, send bill payments from the post office, not from home;
• Keep passwords hidden and private;
• Check the security of websites before you give personal information;
• Check credit reports;
• Seniors can request a “credit freeze” on credit reports. It’s free for seniors in Oklahoma — www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/credit-freeze.html.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, common types of identity theft include:
• Dumpster Diving — Thieves rummage through trash looking for bills or other documents with your personal information on them;
• Skimming — Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card;
• Phishing — Pretending to be financial institutions or companies and sending spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information;
• Changing Your Address — Diverting your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form;
• Old-Fashioned Stealing — Stealing wallets, purses and mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks and tax information;
• Pretexting — Using false pretenses to obtain personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies and other sources.
TO REPORT suspected identity theft or scams, contact the AG’s Public Protection Unit at 521-2029 or PublicProtection@oag.ok.gov, and contact local law enforcement. For more information and resources, go online to www.oag.ok.gov or www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.