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Credit Check Wednesday helps identify scams, identity theft

Following November "shopping holidays," Elder Victim Ministry has coordinated a December 1 "Credit Check Wednesday" program. Individuals can go to participating financial institutions to access their credit report for free.

“In working with identity theft or scam victims, we’ve observed that most have not checked their credit report,” 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 area, are participating this year: 

  • Premier Bank: Ottawa and Shawnee Road (Lima) branches; 
  • First National Bank: Ottawa, Pandora and Bluffton branches;
  • Citizens National Bank: Elida and downtown Lima branches; 
  • 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 EVM has hosted Credit Check Wednesday, which purposefully follows Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, when many consumers spend more. 

Individuals can go to any of the above participating branches or go online to 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 the elderly, to check their credit report at regular intervals throughout the year. 

Check your credit report to ensure your information is accurate, which protects 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 shows your public records, payment history, amount of debt and other financial info. As part of this report, you’re given a credit rating or score (somewhere between 300 and 850) and this score can be used to determine whether you get a loan, among other things.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, checking your credit report can help spot identity theft, as any mistakes might be a sign of identity theft.

If you have any questions about identity theft, scams or elder abuse, please contact Crime Victim Services’ Elder Victim Ministry program at 419-222-8666.