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Beline Obeid

Identity theft can happen to anyone

December 19, 2013
Q. My mom has recently moved into a nursing care facility and I have power of attorney over her finances. Do I still need to be concerned about identity theft for her?

A. Absolutely. Identity theft is rampant in today’s society and has no age boundaries. In February, the Federal Trade Commission released the 2012 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. Its statistics showed the occurrence rate in the under-20 group, which includes infants and children, was almost equal to the rate of occurrence in the 70 and older group.

Some consider the senior population to be easy targets due to the fact they are normally financially stable and less likely to be opening new lines of credit. Most seniors also do not routinely check the status of their credit report, which allows for a lower probability of fraud detection.

According to the FTC, a child’s Social Security number can be used by identity thieves to apply for government benefits, open bank accounts and apply for a loan or utility service.

Most credit reporting agencies have protocol in place to allow a parent or guardian the ability to check if a child’s information has been misused.

You can also request an annual Social Security earnings record which could alert you someone has used the information to illegally obtain a job.

There are options available for you to protect yourself and your family. You can learn how to monitor your history on your own or register with a credit monitoring service. If you choose to use a service, take the time to do a little research to verify it is a reputable company.

A recent victim of identity theft myself, I realized how labor intensive it is to clear up a credit record. I found out I was a victim by accident. My auto insurance sent a renewal statement which showed my credit rating had dropped due to “items in collection.”

Researching it, I found out my Social Security number had been used to open up several utility accounts.

Bills and collection notices were sent to the service addresses so I never received them directly. Thankfully, I am computer literate and was able to find publications and guides through the Federal Trade Commission which helped me through the process.

The FTC has free materials you can order direct to help you protect yourself as well as clear up an issue. You can find the materials at ftc.gov. I have also ordered several of them in bulk quantities, available at my office. Visit the News and Articles tab atnursingun

limitedonline.com to view what I have available and for a list of helpful web links.

Van Dorn is the human resources manager at Nursing Unlimited in Grosse Pointe Woods. She has worked in the medical field since 1984. Her phone (313) 642-1122, cvandorn@nursin

gunlimitedonline.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit nursingunlimitedonline.com.

The Family Center serves as the community’s hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. Its mission is to serve our community through programs and resources vital to today’s families and has a motto, enriched communities through stronger families.

The Family Center is a non-profit organization, all gifts are tax-deductible.

To volunteer or contribute, visit familycenter

web.org, call (313) 432-3832.

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centerweb.org or write to:

The Family Center, 20090 Morningside Drive, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.

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