After the November “shopping vacation”, Elder Victim Ministry coordinated a “Credit Check Wednesday” program on December 1st. Individuals can contact participating financial institutions for free access to their credit report.
“While working with victims of identity theft and scams, we observed that most had not checked their credit reports,” said Elysia Bush, director of Elder Victim Ministry (EVM), a program of Crime Victim Services. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it’s important to check your credit report to guard against fraud and identity theft.
Four financial institutions, including 15 branches in the territory, are participating this year:
- Premier Bank: Ottawa and Shawnee Road (Lima) branches;
- First National Bank: Ottawa, Pandora and Bluffton branches;
- National Citizens Bank: branches in Elida and downtown Lima;
- Superior Credit Union: Delphos, Ottawa, Shawnee and Lima branches, including Elida Road, N. West Street, Allentown Road, W. Market Street (St. Rita’s), Kibby Street and Blue Jacket Court.
This is the sixth year that EVM has hosted Credit Check Wednesday, which deliberately follows Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, when many consumers spend more.
Individuals can visit any of the participating branches above or go online at https://www.annualcreditreport.com to get their free credit report. Bush notes checking your credit report using this free website will not affect your credit rating.
EVM advises all individuals, but especially seniors, to check their credit report at regular intervals throughout the year.
Check your credit report to make sure your information is correct, which protects you against identity theft. If you find anything incorrect or unusual, report it immediately.
A credit report is different from your credit score. A credit report displays your public records, payment history, debt amount, and other financial information. As part of this report, you are given a credit score or score (between 300 and 850) and this score can be used to determine if you are getting a loan, among other things.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, checking your credit report can help detect identity theft because any mistakes can be a sign of identity theft.
If you have any questions about identity theft, scams, or elder abuse, please contact the Department of Seniors Crime Victims Program at 419-222-8666.