Articles of Interest


Senior Homecare Services & Preventing Medical Identity Theft

One of the biggest benefits of senior homecare services is an increased sense of safety. When you hire a caregiver for an elderly loved one, they can safeguard your loved one’s physical well-being, helping them stay healthy and avoid injury. At the same time, a caregiver can provide peace of mind about your loved one’s personal security, helping them steer clear of scammers, fraudsters, and other criminals.

The rise of medical fraud has underscored the need to protect seniors from scammers. Cases of medical identity theft have increased in recent years, with seniors among the most targeted demographics. This year, scammers have been using the new style of Medicare cards as a way to trick seniors into giving up sensitive personal information.

If you’re worried that your loved one could be targeted by one of these scams, senior homecare services can offer peace of mind. Seniors are most vulnerable to scammers when they’re alone. A caregiver from a reputable senior homecare agency will give your loved one someone they can turn to when they get a strange call, receive a suspicious email, or find someone on their doorstep asking odd questions.

How Senior Homecare Services Help

It’s no coincidence that elderly adults who need senior homecare services the most are also the most likely targets for scams. These include older adults who live alone, suffer from chronic physical disability, or are experiencing cognitive decline. All of these factors increase seniors’ risk of health and wellness problems, as well as their vulnerability for criminal targeting.

Senior homecare services can help seniors manage senior isolation, physical disability, and cognitive decline. In doing so, homecare providers can increase physical and mental wellness, while also shielding seniors from different types of scams and fraud.

Attempts at medical identity theft may be thwarted by a caregiver’s presence. Right now, many of the most common medical identity theft scams involve the new Medicare cards. Some of the tactics used by scammers include:

  • Claiming that seniors need to pay an activation fee in order to use the new cards.
  • Claiming the card is frozen and asking seniors to unfreeze by “confirming” their social security number or Medicare number.
  • Claiming that seniors are owed a refund related to the new card and asking for private information or financial data.

Typically, these scams are conducted over the phone, though there are instances of email and door-to-door scams with these tactics.

When seniors are targeted by these scams, having someone else present can make a huge difference. Scammers will try to exploit older adults who are unfamiliar with new technologies or who are suffering from cognitive decline. If someone else is present, they are often able to recognize what’s happening and intervene.

Unfortunately, many seniors don’t have someone else around when this happens. Many of them live alone and are separated from family by long distance. Others live with or near family members but are alone during the day when family members go to work.

If you have an elderly loved one in this situation, and you’re worried about their safety and security, senior homecare services could be the solution. With senior homecare services, your loved one will have a caregiver present on a full-time or part-time basis, reducing their risk of falling victim to medical identity theft. Because of their experience with other seniors, many caregivers are able to quickly identify scams, further reducing the chances of victimization.

It’s important to note, however, that medical identity theft isn’t practiced solely by hardened criminals. Often, seniors are defrauded by those close to them, including predatory family members or untrustworthy caregivers.

In light of this, it’s crucial that you hire senior homecare services from a reputable agency, like your local Visiting Angels®. Ask questions about the security measures taken by different providers and take the time to find an agency — and a caregiver — that you can trust.

Concerned about medical identity theft for an elderly loved one? Contact your local Visiting Angels office to learn more our senior homecare services and how we can help you keep your loved one safe.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.