With higher credit scores and large nest eggs, seniors are particularly susceptible to financial fraud. According to an article in Time, almost 40 percent of seniors have been victims. While most people are aware of scams, few imagine that they could be a victim. However, it’s smart to be vigilant at all times. A fraud alert can help you feel safer, so think about whether it’s right for you. Benefits of Seniors Having a Fraud Alert
A fraud alert flags your account with the credit bureaus so that they can be on the lookout for suspicious activities. It’s intended to be used by those who have a reasonable suspicion that their identity may be stolen. For instance, you might set the alert after learning about a data breach at your bank or after realizing that you may have fallen prey to a phishing scam.
The initial fraud alert lasts 90 days, and you’ll have to prove your identity. Extended fraud alerts are intended for those who have experienced identity theft. They last for seven years, but require you to show a copy of the identity theft police report.
When you have an alert on your account, the companies will provide you a copy of your credit report and will let you know if anyone tries to set up a new account using your personal information.
To set the alert, you simply have to notify one of the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. Once you’ve filed with one company, they’re required to notify the other two.
Not sure whether a fraud alert is right for you? Consider the following reasons:
They’re More Likely to Be Targeted
Scammers tend to target seniors for a variety of reasons: Benefits of Seniors Having a Fraud Alert
For all of these reasons, it’s smart to keep an eye on your credit report. Request a free copy at least once a year to look for mistakes and catch fraud quickly.
Protecting the Nest Egg
If you fall prey to a scam, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose money. This is especially true in cases where a person tricks you into paying them large sums of money. Unfortunately, people who fall for these scams rarely get their money back. A loss of tens of thousands of dollars can greatly affect your life.
Fraud Is Less Likely to Go Noticed
As a senior, you’re more settled in life. You probably already own your home and your car, so there aren’t many reasons for you to apply for new credit. If you’re not checking your reports and not applying for credit, it could be years before you find out someone has opened an account in your name.
Reporting Happens Automatically
Sometimes, seniors worry about being the victims of fraud, but they don’t know where to turn. Sometimes, they’re too embarrassed to report their concerns. With a fraud alert in place, the credit companies contact you about suspicious activity. There’s no confusion over what you should do.
Peace of Mind
You’ll simply feel a lot safer knowing that someone is watching over your accounts. Anyone can fall victim to a scam, but the earlier you can catch the problem, the easier it is to resolve the situation.
By Christina Scott
Christina Scott is the Community Liaison and Blog Manager for Sonoma Home Health Care, which provides compassionate, quality home health care to their patients in Las Vegas.
Benefits of Seniors Having a Fraud Alert Benefits of Seniors Having a Fraud Alert Benefits of Seniors Having a Fraud Alert Benefits of Seniors Having a Fraud Alert
As a co-owner of Senior.com, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well. Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor. Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, for 13 months before passing. Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 102 year old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor. She is happily married to her husband of 22 years and they have 3 children.View All Articles