Senior Center

How to Report and Handle a Fraud Issue

By Megan C @ LivingSenior - September 6, 2012

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In the last few years, organizations such as the AARP have devoted time and efforts towards senior fraud awareness. As the economy worsens issues of fraud and scam and reports of fraud and scams on seniors have grown rapidly. Unfortunately, too many seniors find out about the scam and fraud programs only after they have been a victim to one. In a case where a senior has been a victim of a fraud if you there are a few steps that can be taken to correct the issue to the best of the seniors ability.

Notifying Legal Authorities

The first step in any scam or fraud case is to notify your local authorities. This can be a County Sheriff's office, city Police Department or other authorities in the area. If the senior is unsure who to contact in regards to this or is not in the position to contact the right authorities, a Senior center, Senior activity Center or a senior fraud prevention center can be of assistance. Community centers for seniors may also be of assistance in these issues.

Notifying Banks

Notifying a bank, if a bank was used during the fraud or scam is the second step in making sure that the proper individuals are notified and the proper steps can be taken to prevent further scams and to stop any fraudulent charges. In many cases the bank is notified first and if a bank card has been stolen or the number has been given out the bank should be the first one notified in order to cancel the card, reversing the charges, and cancel any further charges. The bank should also be notified that fraud is an issue when a card is canceled so that they can obtain the proper records to notify the authorities or to draw paperwork for you to give to the authorities.

Notifying Credit Card Companies

Notifying a credit card company is and should be considered part of the step of notifying a bank. A credit card company will need to cancel the charges, cancel the card, reissue a new card and Mark the account as a fraud alert so that the proper corporate members can check for other issues and be on alert if other charges occur. In fact, many credit card communities are now issuing fraudulent charges to special senior fraud departments in order to offer the best assistance possible to a senior center or representative.

Notify Credit Reporting Bureaus

Notifying a credit reporting bureau is vital if the Social Security number has been compromised. The credit reporting bureaus can place a fraud alert on the account to notify individuals of any fraudulent charges and to ensure that credit accounts are not opened under fraudulent circumstances. In fact, many credit reporting bureaus will offer some ways for the senior to ensure that they can still obtain credit if necessary and avoid the fraud alert. This is usually offered by a phone call to a home number or by a password being put on the credit report so that when a company checks to open a new credit accounts they know to ask for the password or two phone the individual to get permission.