I adore my mom but sometimes, well, sometimes being the adult daughter of a highly active senior gal can be challenging. I say she needs to be more vigilant about her safety—online, offline, everywhere. She says I'm nuts.

I say, 'Mom, elderly women are the top target for most scams.'

She says, 'You worry too much.'

And you know what? I do worry. It drives me NUTS that she won't do what I say. If I could get my mom to listen to me, here's what I'd tell her to do:

1. Get a locked, secure maibox. Identity thieves love unlocked mailboxes they can raid for bills, taxes, social security documents...you name it. It's a treasure trove for identity thieves!

2. Do not put your birth date or any other private information online. Ever. That includes on Facebook.

3. Do not give any personal information over the phone or online unless you can verify the source. Assume anybody who asks for your personal information is a scam artist.

Telephone and online scams targeting seniors abound. Nobody should ask you for your passwords, code words or any other private information. If someone asks you to ‘confirm your credit card number' DO NOT. No matter how professional it sounds or looks. Thieves can reproduce company logos or send e-mails that look remarkably real. On the phone, demand a number you can call them back, demand they send all requests in writing and then forward everything to the local attorney general's office.

4. Regularly check your credit score here and keep on top of what's going on in your name!

5. Here's how to protect yourself against identity theft.

6. Here's what to do if your identity gets stolen.

7. The AARP is a wonderful source of information on how to protect yourself against fraud against senior citizens.

8. Going to the theater at night? Out to dinner with friends after dark? Keep your physical self safe. Parking lots and parking garages require vigilance. Look around, be aware of your surroundings as you go to your car in a parking lot. If you see anybody hanging around, do not go to your car. Check out these crucial tips for personal safety; and these: and these excellent tips from Oprah. OPRAH, Mom!!!

9. Is your mom an active senior who travels? Here are great safety tips for women travelers.

10. Lock your doors the SECOND you get into the car. Don't sit there messing with your purse, the radio or checking your phone. Just move it.

Since I have your attention:

Get a dog.

Ask for help.

Call on the lovely community of friends you've created to help keep you safe.

Lock your doors.

Turn on your alarm system every night.

Tell me when you're seeing the doctor.

Don't use herbal tinctures or remedies with regular medication without a full discussion with your doctor.

Let me—or a friend—go with you to the doctor so someone can take notes and keep track of what needs to be done and what follow ups are required.

Stop resisting and dismissing your daughter's good advice. I actually know things and am not nuts. And if I am, the apple don't fall far from the tree.

About the Author

Pam Cytrynbaum

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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