In the wake of the Equifax breach … which joins a long line of security breaks … I suggest you take a look at your own credit report now.
I often talk about how to help mom and dad and manage through being the adult family caregiver, and often one of the best things you can do is to lead by example.
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.com
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. When I did this for myself recently, on the first one from Equifax, everything appeared to be in order. When I got to Experian, 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. They were very helpful in getting the issues corrected.
The good news is that corrections get shared with the other credit bureaus, and Experian is going to send me a note when the updates have been made and shared with the other bureaus.
In the wake of the breach, you might also consider putting a lock on your credit and recommending that to mom or dad as well. It won’t prevent the exploitation that is rampant and costs seniors $17 Billion a year, but at least it’s a start to having a positive discussion with your loved one. Hoped.