Iowa recently joined 12 other states in passing a significant piece of legislation for protecting incapacitated or disabled elders from becoming victims of identity theft. The law allows guardians to request a security freeze (or “credit freeze”) on the credit reports and ratings of the individual(s) under their care. According to the Mason City Globe-Gazette, the new law “was established to help prevent identity theft and credit score abuse. The freeze prevents a credit reporting agency from releasing credit report data without consent.” The new law took effect on January 1.
This is such an important step for the adult child of an elder parent with some form of cognitive incapacitation to take. Too frequently a caregiver, worker, or even a family member can take advantage of the situation and open up credit cards, loans, and other forms of credit in the elder’s name. This may go undetected for a long time and cause big, painful problems later on.
I strongly encourage everyone who has an elder parent, as well as those who work with seniors and their families, to remember this step as you put together your scam prevention plan for an impaired parent. To help you with this, click here for a complete list of all 50 states’ laws regarding credit freezes.