When you have an elderly loved one that you help care for and look out for, it may be disheartening to discover that your loved one may be the victim of identity theft. There are many people in the world that target and attempt to exploit elderly people because they assume that those people do not know better themselves or do not have advocates looking out for them. However, if you are looking out for them and spot signs of trouble, you may be able to help your elderly loved one take back control of their identity and track down the person who victimized them. Get to know some of the steps that you should take when you believe your elderly loved one was the victim of identity theft so that you can take action as soon as possible.
Put a Fraud Alert on Your Loved One's Credit Reports ASAP
One of the first steps that you should take if you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of identity theft is to contact their bank, credit card companies, and the credit bureaus about the fact that fraud may have occurred. This will essentially put a freeze on their accounts and prevent their credit from being more adversely affected than it already has been.
It is important to act swiftly to ensure that the identity thieves are not able to continue taking advantage of your loved one. On top of that, putting the fraud alert out there may be the fist step towards finding the person or people responsible for wreaking havoc on your elderly loved one's finances.
Contact The Proper Authorities, Especially If You Suspect The Care Facility
In addition to putting a fraud alert on your elderly loved one's accounts and credit report, you also will need to contact the authorities regarding the situation. Elderly abuse, including elderly financial abuse, is a serious crime as is identity theft.
Call your local police department about the situation and file a police report. You will also want to contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). If you have reason to suspect that the identity theft is the result of elderly abuse by a staff member at the care facility in which your loved one lives, you will also want to contact Adult Protective Services to launch an official investigation of the facility.
While it will not necessarily be easy to help your elderly loved one bounce back from identity theft, it is not impossible. Take these steps to get the process started and your loved one will be well on their way to financial recovery with your help.