If thieves open new credit card accounts in your name or apply for loans, it can negatively impact your credit score. Thankfully, you can dispute fraudulent information with the credit bureaus to prevent this from happening. Remember that removing the account and charges from your report can take time.
File a Police Report
When you find unauthorized charges on your credit cards or accounts that you didn’t open, it’s time to call the police. Be sure to bring any documentation demonstrating identity theft, including bank statements and letters from creditors or debt collectors. Once you’ve filed a report, the three credit reporting agencies must block any information on your credit reports that you identify as resulting from identity theft. You can also request a fraud alert. Recovering your stolen identity will be the identity theft attorney’s top focus. Visit our website to discover how, given their familiarity with working with legal and financial institutions, they can streamline reporting. They are also aware of your banking institutions’ legal responsibilities in the event of identity theft.
Review Your Credit Reports
Look for accounts you didn’t open, debts that aren’t yours, and hard credit inquiries you need to recognize. Also, watch for unpaid bills or sudden changes in your credit score. Get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus. Scrutinize each piece, looking for unauthorized transactions or errors. Additionally, you can add a fraud alert to your credit report, informing potential employers that you have been the victim of identity theft.
Contact Your Credit Bureaus
If you notice suspicious information on your credit report, such as a purchase you didn’t make or a debt collector contacting you about a loan you never applied for, contact the three credit reporting agencies. So that the thief cannot open more accounts in your name, request that they put a fraud alert on your records. Also, write to each credit bureau disputing any errors (use this sample letter) that appear on your credit reports due to identity theft.
Place a Credit Freeze
Freezing your credit is an effective protection against identity theft. It allows new credit to be opened in your name with your approval. It includes credit cards, mortgages, and loans. It also helps protect you from debt collectors trying to collect on accounts you didn’t open. A freeze requires contacting the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each agency will provide you with a PIN. The agency may charge a fee to lift your freeze temporarily for certain purposes, such as when you apply for a job or an apartment.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have identity theft insurance through a credit monitoring program, call and find out the steps involved in filing a claim. Many services offer 24/7 support from fraud resolution specialists who can help you with the specifics of your case. Remember that identity fraud is rarely a one-time thing. If you’re not vigilant, it can happen repeatedly, costing you more time, money, and opportunities.
Contact Your Lenders
It takes time to clear identity theft, so working with lenders is important to resolve the problem. When you do, it will help protect your credit score and prevent future fraud. Start by calling the companies that report information to the credit bureaus to close any accounts the thieves opened in your name. You should also notify them that you are a victim of identity theft and request they freeze the account. Credit card companies usually refund fraudulent charges, but you must get banks and loan agencies on board. Be sure to save all documentation related to the incident. This will be useful when communicating with lenders, police departments, and credit bureaus. It also helps when disputing fraudulent information on your credit report. It’s also helpful to contact lenders who have reported incorrect information about you. You can ask them to remove the information from your account.
Credit reporting agencies play a significant part in our financial lives by giving information about your credit activity to lenders, landlords, insurance companies, and other organizations. Contact a consumer reporting agency to add a fraud alert to your file. Each of the bureaus offers online tools to add initial and extended fraud alerts, review a report and more. Also, each bureau has a dedicated page for identity theft victims.