Identity theft remains a serious threat to the financial well-being of individuals of all ages, and LGBT elders face additional challenges in keeping their personal information secure.

Tips and strategies to help keep personal information out of the hands of thieves will be offered at an upcoming workshop hosted by the LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care. The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, January 9th from noon to 1:30 pm in the community rooms at Chase Brexton’s Mount Vernon Center (1111 North Charles Street, Baltimore).

Anyone interested in attending or receiving more information on this upcoming Lunch and Learn workshop may RSVP to lgbt@chasebrexton.org or call 410-837-2050 extension 1049.

We asked the workshop’s presenter, Tim Thornton, a financial wellness consultant and assistant vice president at BB&T, for a preview of the information and advice he’ll offer at the session.

How common is identity theft?

Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft, according to a 2018 online survey by the Harris Poll. That same survey found that nearly 15 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017. The amount stolen from victims of identity theft approached $17 billion that same year, according to data from Javelin Strategy & Research.

How disruptive can the theft of personal information be to one’s life?

It sometimes takes years to repair the damage done by identity thieves, and unfortunately, it’s very difficult to prevent it from happening in the first place. Data breaches, security flaws and human errors expose people’s personal information all the time, and there’s often no way of knowing if yours has been compromised until it’s too late.

In what ways are LGBT elders susceptible to identity theft?

For LGBT elders, there are added challenges that make aging more fraught. Years of employment discrimination can result in lower retirement savings and Social Security income. LGBT elders face substantial discrimination in housing, when accessing medical care, and in aging-specific programs and services. With fewer connections to families of origin, LGBT elders may be at increased risk for social isolation and identity theft.

Are there easy ways that elders can protect themselves from identity theft?

Like everyone else, they must remain vigilant to “detect, deter, and defend” against becoming an easy target for this growing crime. We will discuss the details of how to do so at the Lunch & Learn workshop on January 9th.

What do you hope attendees learn from this workshop?

At BB&T – now known as Truist – we take very seriously our commitment to assisting everyone in our communities to be more aware of certain nuances that make us all more susceptible to becoming an easy target to this non-discriminating crime. We truly hope that people will walk away from this session ready to take immediate steps to improve their constant efforts to be on guard. t

For more about the LGBT Health Resource Center’s LGBT elder programs and services, please visit Chasebrexton.org/LGBTElders.

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