I work with a variety of older adults, and often, when there starts to be signs of overwhelm and memory decline, we look at the credit report to make sure we have a handle on the accounts. You can get a free copy from the three major bureaus once a year, and it’s worth doing. When I recently ran my own reports, I found that my mom was listed along with some of her credit history. My mom passed away almost two years ago.

To get your report, visit: AnnualCreditReport.comĀ 

You should not have to pay ANYTHING, so if you are being prompted to pay, you are on the wrong site. If you are just doing a check up, I would request all three. On the first one from Equifax, everything appeared to be in order. When I got to Equifax, it provided more details and showed some accounts from my mom, who is now deceased. It also had several misspellings and listed former work addresses as former residences. It took around 45 minutes to get through the customer service system to the person that could help me. I found the same errors on the TransUnion report.

The good news is that corrections get shared with the other credit bureaus, and Equifax is going to send me a note when the updates have been made and shared with the other bureaus.

For my older clients (I work as a daily money money and help pay bills and manage day-to-day financial affairs), we take the next step and put a freeze on the accounts. They aren’t in the phase of life when they are opening up new credit cards or purchasing properties, and it’s easy enough to unfreeze should they need to open up a line of credit.

Monitoring your own credit report is one way to fight the growing risk of fraud. What are you doing to protect yourself?

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