Identity Theft Scams Targeting Baby Boomer Nest Eggs are on the Rise

Identity theft targeting baby boomers is on the rise, as cyber criminals focus their efforts on the massive number of well-funded retirement nest eggs and clean credit histories this generation of Americans has spent years building.

Identity fraud is on the rise, and baby boomers heading toward retirement are particularly vulnerable. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission reported that cases of identity fraud targeting adults age 50 and older are on the rise, accounting for 37 percent of ID theft complaints reported in 2013.

Large-scale data breaches among high profile retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus have focused attention on the risks consumers face keeping their personal information secure. Whether they are targeted online, through snail mail, by strangers or by trusted caregivers, the 10,000 baby boomers streaming into retirement every day are particularly appealing to identity thieves who view each one as nest egg waiting to be looted.

Boomers are besieged by criminals operating schemes to swindle them out of their bank information, tax refunds, Medicare benefits and retirement savings, and many don’t realize it. ID thieves have increasingly sophisticated ways of stealing personal information and using it to open new credit card accounts, take out loans, drain existing bank accounts and even get driver’s licenses issued in the victim’s name. By the time many victims realize anything is amiss, it is already too late.

Despite the fact that most baby boomers are generally more tech savvy than older seniors, they can be susceptible to scams for a number of reasons. Age-related issues like memory lapses and more serious conditions such as dementia can render a person less likely to check credit reports and bank accounts regularly for unauthorized use. Equally troubling is the fact that baby boomers grew up in the 1950s and 60s, a time when they were more than likely raised to be polite, which may make some reluctant to question the motives of a suspected scammer.

Most aging Americans who have spent a lifetime building good credit and saving for retirement have a lot to lose, and identity thieves know it. Today’s scammers are aiming for baby boomer retirement nest eggs and clean credit histories that can be exploited quickly and thoroughly.

Independent wealth management advisor William Skillender says the vulnerability of aging consumers to cyber crimes including identity theft should be cause for concern among baby boomers, their financial advisors, and even family members who suspect a loved one might be at risk.

“We find that a number of boomer generation retirees may consider themselves to be immune to cyber crimes, since they have been conducting financial business online for years and have so far avoided any major breaches to their accounts,” he says.

“But considering the overwhelming data that shows just how targeted boomers are by increasingly sophisticated criminals, even the most aloof individual can be taken advantage of under the right circumstances.”

Although scams against the elderly (age 70 and older) are still a problem, baby boomers are not likely to be taken by the same old-fashioned strategies involving sweepstakes scams, or the Grandparent hoax in which thieves call an elderly person and pose as their grandchild in need of financial help. In fact, memory limitations and disorientation common in advanced age, combined with isolation and loneliness makes many elderly people much more vulnerable to the old-school scams that most people know to avoid.

But boomers are in a different situation. Their awareness of antiquated schemes give many a false sense of security since they know to look out for obvious cons, but they pay too little attention to the pervasive nature of new, sophisticated threats that surface daily—most prevalently those hidden in innocent-looking emails.

Skillender, like a growing number of retirement advisors nationwide, is doing his part to heighten awareness of the real threat identity theft poses to baby boomers’ financial well being by conducting educational workshops at local libraries and community centers in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

For most baby boomers, credit-monitoring services, computer security software and even identity theft insurance are already familiar tools for maintaining cyber security. It is important to note that retiree’s nest eggs are at a heightened risk of theft after age 50, and cyber thieves are relentless when it comes to breaching any available weakness in security measures. A professional retirement advisor can provide additional information and guidance on the best ways to protect retirement funds from cyber criminals.

Securities offered through Broker Dealer Financial Services Corp., Member FINRA & SIPC, 140 South 68th Street, Suite 2200, West Des Moines, IA 50266, 800-352-5634. Please do not send orders via e-mail because there is no assurance of receipt and they are not legally binding. The information above is from sources believed to be reliable. There is no guarantee to accuracy. This is not an official statement or confirmation.

Contact Info:
Name: William Skillender
Email: Send Email
Organization: William Skillender Wealth Management Tax Advisory
Phone: (732) 722-7888

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