Identity theft can happen to anyone, but there’s one group more susceptible to its potentially devastating effects than others – senior citizens. According to a report by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, identity theft was one of the top 10 scams reported to the Committee Fraud Hotline in 2016. Additionally, consumers age 50 and older reported 45 percent of the identity theft complaints that the FTC received in 2015.
Unfortunately, this group of people are a high risk population due to several factors. The elderly may be more trusting and less likely to suspect malicious intent when they receive emails or phone calls from unfamiliar sources. Additionally, they spend less time online so if they are a victim of fraud, it will often take them longer to realize it, increasing the impact of the fraud on them.
Financial Security Makes Seniors a Prime Target
However, one of the main reasons they’re such prime targets for scammers is the same reason they’re a key demographic for financial institutions – their net worth. They’ve worked very hard their entire lives and have more financial security compared to younger adults who are just starting out. Boomers far exceed their younger counterparts when it comes to financial investments. In fact, the 50+ demographic is 51 percent more likely to own financial investments than people ages 18-49, and those investments hold an incredible 197 percent greater value. This makes them a lucrative market for financial institutions and, unfortunately, con artists and fraudsters as well.
As a company, it’s to your benefit to keep this vulnerable population protected from fraudsters. They’re a major part of your customer base and contributor to your bottom line. The 50+ demo accounts for half of all consumer expenditures — yet a shockingly small 10 percent of marketing dollars are targeted towards the 50+ market. Offering personalized product and services that address their unique needs, such as the necessity to protect themselves from fraudsters, is an effective way to build loyalty among this important segment of your customer base. Consider taking the following steps to get started on better serving their needs.
How to better serve the senior market
Share information with them about common and current scams
It’s very important that they know to be on the alert for potential scams and how to tell if someone is trying to trick them. One great resource where your institution can find tips to share with your senior customers is the Fraud Watch Network from AARP. In addition, some seniors may be reluctant to talk about fraud because they don’t believe it’s possible for them to become victims or are embarrassed to talk about it with a loved ones. For this reason, many of them may value having a trusted team they can call to receive compassionate care in the event they become victims of fraud or need help identifying potential scams.
Share timely news with them that’s highly relevant to their generation
Staying up to date on news that is highly relevant to seniors and sharing updates with them is one way you can demonstrate to them that you care about their well-being and build loyalty. One such piece of timely and relevant news, that many seniors may still be unaware of, is the federal government announcement that Medicare will begin mailing out new Medicare cards starting in spring 2018. These cards will have a unique, randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, and it will replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number currently used on Medicare cards.
Many seniors would appreciate you sharing this relevant, valuable information with them, along with some tips on how to protect themselves from fraud until they receive their new Medicare card. The Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA) recommends that seniors don’t carry their Medicare card with them all the time and only carry it when they plan to see their providers. This may be cumbersome for those who visit their providers fairly often but the protection against identity theft and fraud would be worth the trouble.
You may also want to share with your customers that for those that are concerned about not having proof of insurance in the event of an emergency, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) ensures that they receive care whether or not they have proof of insurance at the time of the emergency. The insurance paperwork can then be addressed after the emergency is over.
Offer them identity theft protection
You can demonstrate your commitment to your older customer population’s well-being, financial security, and data protection by offering them identity theft protection from a trusted company like Generali Global Assistance (GGA), as either a complimentary or paid service. In fact, in a recent survey we commissioned over half of all Americans (55 percent) shared they would have more confidence that a business was actively working to protect their data, and reduce their risk of identity theft or fraud, if it were to offer identity protection services, whether for free or at a cost.
Our identity theft protection will not only monitor personal and financial information on the black market and other channels where it can be used and exploited by identity thieves, but also provide credit monitoring and access to credit reports and scores. In the event one of your senior customers do fall victim to identity theft, our certified, resolution specialists are available 24/7 to assist with the process of restoring their identity.
To learn more about GGA’s identity protection program and how your company can grow loyalty among the senior market by offering services that better address their unique needs and risks, request a demo.