Each month, the Identity Theft Resource Center hosts an informative Twitter chat on ways to protect the public from fraud and scams. This month’s chat, co-hosted by AARP, will focus on identifying scams that are meant to specifically target those who are ages fifty and up, and ways that consumers can protect themselves.

Some of the questions that the chat on October 2nd at 2pm ET/11am PT will include:

•   Why are people over 50 targeted for scams and identity theft?

•   Have you been an identity theft / scam victim? What happened?

•   What are some scams targeting those 50 and over?

•   What are some resources for victims of identity theft / scams?

•   What can someone do to protect themselves from identity theft?

•   How can you protect yourself while using social media?

•   What educational resources does AARP offer about identity theft?

•   If someone is a victim of identity theft what should they do?

•   If someone is a victim of a scam what should they do?

Over the years, different agencies have conducted studies that examine the reasons behind the high rates of senior citizen identity theft. For starters, scammers know that the technology they use to target these individuals is often somewhat unfamiliar to many users in that age bracket, meaning their victims are more likely to fall for ploys that make fraud possible. Also, many older Americans rely on things like Social Security, Medicare, and mail-order maintenance prescriptions, making their mailboxes a goldmine of information and data access. Finally, criminals know that people over 50 are less likely to report an identity theft crime because they don’t want to cause alarm within their families and have their self-sufficiency called into question; they simply don’t report it because they don’t want anyone to know they were victimized.

The purpose of the October ID Theft Chat will be to help consumers understand the various scams that seek out these individuals, as well as how not to be a victim of a personal data breach. Further information will cover the steps that citizens need to take in order to report and recover from an act of fraud, should it occur.

In order to participate in this informative event on October 2nd at 2pm ET/11am PT, users will log into their Twitter accounts and type in a search for the #IDTheftChat hashtag. Be sure to type “#IDTheftChat” at the end of each of your tweets so that others may see your comments and questions. For your convenience, you can always follow along in the ID Theft Chat TweetChat room by going to http://tweetchat.com/room/IDTheftChat.

Be sure to follow the Identity Theft Resource Center on Twitter (@ITRCSD) and AARP (@AARPAdvocates) for great information that will help you protect yourself.