Dealing with Identity Fraud: A Guide for Protecting and Assisting Family Members

Identity fraud is a pervasive problem that affects countless individuals. This article helps with steps to take after fraud along with prevention methods.
how to recover from identity fraud

Identity fraud is a pervasive problem that affects countless individuals, including older adults and other vulnerable populations. When a loved one falls victim to identity theft, it’s essential to know how to deal with the aftermath and prevent further incidents. This succinct guide offers advice on mitigating the effects of identity fraud and taking preventative measures to keep your family members safe.

No time to read? Here’s a checklist to get it done.

Immediate Response to Identity Theft

Prevention Measures for Future Protection

Steps to Take After a Family Member Falls Victim to Identity Fraud

artistic image of identity fraud
  1. Review insurance policies: Check if the victim’s homeowners’ insurance policy includes an Identity Theft Expenses endorsement, which could provide financial assistance in dealing with the fraud.
  2. Contact the credit bureaus: Report the fraud to the credit bureaus’ fraud departments:
    • Equifax Alerts: (800) 685-1111
    • Experian Fraud Center: (888) 397-3742
    • Transunion Fraud Alert: (888) 909-8872
  3. Gather information: Collect details about the fraudulent activity, such as the bankruptcy case number, where it was filed, and who filed it.
  4. File complaints: Report the fraud to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.justice.gov and www.identitytheft.gov.
  5. Monitor the situation: Keep a close eye on the victim’s credit reports, bank statements, and other financial records to detect any further fraudulent activity.

Prevention Measures for Protecting Family Members from Identity Fraud

locks symbolizing protection from identity fraud
  1. Educate your family: Teach your loved ones about the risks of identity theft and the importance of keeping personal information secure. Discuss common scams and how to recognize them.
  2. Secure personal documents: Keep important documents such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, and passports in a safe place, preferably locked away, and store digital versions in an equally secure space such as WayWiser’s Family Vault. Shred sensitive documents before disposing of them.
  3. Use strong passwords: Encourage family members to use strong, unique passwords for online accounts and to change them regularly. Consider using a password manager for added security.
  4. Monitor credit reports: Encourage your loved ones to regularly review their credit reports for any suspicious activity and consider putting a freeze on their credit.
  5. Be cautious with names: Avoid naming children after their parents, as this can lead to confusion and potential credit issues.
  6. Use security software: Ensure that your family members have up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software installed on their devices.
  7. Connect on WayWiser: Be sure your family is prepared for all of these “what if” scenarios by connecting within a Trusted Circle on WayWiser.

By taking these steps, you can help your loved ones recover from the effects of identity fraud and reduce the likelihood of future incidents. Providing support, guidance, and education on identity theft is essential to keeping your family safe and financially secure.

Have another question? Ask an expert.

Our team is here for you. If you have a question about caring for an older adult or other member of your family—be it physical, legal, medical, financial, or anything in between—we’ll have one of our Trusted Advisors get back to you ASAP.

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