If you’ve watched the news or turned on the radio at all recently, you’ve no doubt heard about the tremendous data breach at Equifax, a credit-reporting firm, that has affected 143 million people in the United States. Because of the breach, private information like Social Security Numbers, birthdates, and even driver’s license information could be used by criminals to be used to commit identity theft or fraud.
With so many people affected, it’s quite possible your elder parent’s information was stolen, too. One of the jobs of a family caregiver is to help senior parents to navigate difficult and confusing financial situations. Knowing more about the breach and what to do next can help you both.
Find Out if Your Parent Was Affected
You can find out if your parent’s personal information was affected by visiting the website Equifax set up for consumers to learn more about the breach. The website is equifaxsecurity2017.com. From there, your parent can also sign up for free protection against identity theft and free credit monitoring. Even if your parent was not affected, all consumers are eligible for the free services. However, your parent will need to sign up no later than November 21, 2017. The coverage is good for 12 months.
Other Steps to Take
If you’re concerned about your parent’s identity being stolen, there are additional steps family caregivers can help them to take, such as:
- Check Credit Reports: Your parent is entitled to a free annual credit report. You can get one by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
- Keep an Eye on Accounts: Watch for any charges that you and your parent don’t recognize. Report fraudulent charges to the banking institution.
- Start a Credit Freeze: Your parent can place a credit freeze that will prevent anyone from setting up a new account in their name.
- Place a Fraud Alert: A fraud alert notifies creditors that your parent might have had their identity stolen and requires them to check with your parent to see if they requested credit before issuing it.
What to Watch For
In the coming months, family caregivers should keep careful watch for indicators that their parent’s information has been stolen. Some things to watch for are:
- Money missing from your parent’s bank accounts.
- Credit reports that contain personal information that is wrong.
- No longer receiving bills they used to get.
- Accounts on their credit report that they did not open.
- Credit reports that show credit inquiries from companies your parent has not done business with.
Family caregivers and elders can work together to prevent or minimize the damage of identity theft. Talk to your parent about the data breach and remind them to safeguard their personal information.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care Services in Phoenix AZ, please contact the caring staff at Devoted Guardians today. Affordable In-Home Care in the Phoenix Metro Area. Call Today: (800) 699-4781 or (480) 999-3012.
Aaron spent 5 years working for Intel Corporation in Chandler, Arizona right out of college until he ventured off on his own. Aaron has owned and operated successful small businesses for the past 10 years.
Aaron is currently the CEO and owner of Devoted Guardians a Non-Medical In Homecare Agency covering the entire Phoenix valley. Aaron has been CEO since 2012 and running businesses since 2005.