The recent case of a thirty-seven-year-old Belleville, Illinois nursing home employee being charged with identity theft has spotlighted a growing national problem. On November 12, 2010, Cynthia Hill was charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft by the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. She is currently free on $50,000 bond.
The identity theft was uncovered after a 54-year-old victim attempted to have power turned on by the local power company. That request was denied due to an outstanding balance of $1,303.51. The Collinsville Police Department began an investigation and found two other victims – all residents of a nursing home where Hill was employed. The other victims were 61-year-old woman and a 76-year-old woman. After a second delinquent account with a balance of $792.09 was uncovered, it was determined that the account had been opened by Hill.
Identity theft is fast becoming a big national problem. For those inclined to commit this crime, nursing home residents are easy targets. If you have an elderly parent or a loved one in a nursing home, there are several things you can do to help protect them against identity theft.
- Be careful who has access to the social security number and birth date of your loved one.
- Don’t use the same passwords for nursing home issues as used for financial issues.
- Regularly check credit reporting bureaus for new accounts that were not opened by your family member.
- Report unknown bills to the police.
- Regular visits with your loved one will also make it more difficult for those with evil motives to take advantage of trusting, vulnerable senior citizens.