|Jim Robertson, former Carbon County Sheriff is working with TRIAD to warn people of scams and identity theft.|
Identity theft has become a large problem across all aspects of society, and seniors are as vulnerable as anyone. That is why TRIAD (Seniors, Sheriffs and Police Chiefs) had a discussion about the problem on April 6 at the Karl Petersen Senior Center in Price.
"The discussion we had came around to the vulnerability of the many people who could be a victim of identify theft," said Jim Robertson, former Carbon County Sheriff and a member of the group. "People need to take care with a few seconds or minutes of time to protect themselves."
First, when credit card bills are received, are all the purchases that are listed correct and applied properly? People should keep their purchase receipts to compare with the bills they receive.
"This is just one of the many precautions we can take to protect ourselves," says Robertson. "And without question, try not to give your credit card number(s) over the phone. Sometimes that is difficult to do particularly if one is making a hotel reservation in another town. Nevertheless be careful and never give your social security number to any one person or business if you are not sure of its legitimacy."
Seniors also need to remember springtime is here and summer is coming. Be wary of those "fly by night" offers to improve the roof on a home or the driveway. Always ask for a business license. Call county or city officials if necessary to ensure that a business license has been issued to the person who is seeking the business.
Home security checks are also still available in the area. Residents should contact the local police department or the county sheriff.
"An officer will be able to review with you steps that can be taken to improve the security of your home, thereby reducing the chances of you become a victim of a burglary," state Robertson. "You can also help by informing your trusted neighbors to watch your house while you are away. Also notify law enforcement of your expected absence for any greater length of time."
He also said to notify them when you return as well.
Another problem for people can be telephone fund raising: There are many who use the telephone to solicit donations. Most are for legitimate causes, but many are not. Some of the non-legitimate calls are from those who claim they represent law enforcement or fire fighters. Residents should be wary of these calls.
"We don't want to frighten anyone away from donating, it is merely an effort to remind you that it is your money and you should decide on how it is to be spent," said Robertson. "There are a number of other organizations in support of law enforcement and fire fighters that do not in any way use the telephone to solicit funds. Their method is by using direct mail. With mail, you have the option to review what is being asked and the choice is yours. We Americans are in the habit of donating to worthy causes. We just don't like to be taken advantage of."
Many fund raising organizations have been approved under the guidelines of the IRS Code. They are registered with Utah State Department of Consumer Protection and the Better Business Bureau.
Senior citizens are welcome to meet with the TRIAD group. They meet the first Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m. at the senior center in Price.