There are a number of reasons you might have a concern about the illicit use of your identity. A lost wallet, unexplained accounts on your credit report, mysterious transactions on a credit card; these can all give rise to very reasonable worries about fraudulent activity and identity theft. These events may be of little consequence, or they may be quite serious. Either way, there are a variety of credit repair solutions that you should implement immediately. Credit repair solutions include investigative, preventative, and curative, and all three should be employed.
Investigate the Issue
If you discover activity on your credit report that is not yours it may be the result of a file merger error. This means that someone else’s credit data has been merged with yours. As awful as this may sound, it is pretty innocent and has an easy credit repair cure. So, before you jump to conclusions about identity theft take a few minutes to investigate. Get copies of all three credit reports, circle the unknown accounts, call the creditors, and ask them if they have an account in your name. If they tell you that they have no record of the suspect account you are a victim of a file merger error. This is easily cured with a bit of credit repair. Just write to the credit bureaus telling them that someone else’s credit is showing on your report, and ask them to correct the error. Be sure to provide your identification. File merger errors are surprisingly common and the credit bureaus will most likely resolve the problem for you right away.
Cure the Problem
If on the other hand, the creditor acknowledges that the questionable account is yours, you may have been a victim of identity theft and should implement a more serious credit repair cure right away. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides a very powerful solution for identity theft victims. You need to go the police station with a copy of your credit report and ask them to provide you with an Identity Theft Report. You will need to send this to the credit bureaus along with your identification and a signed statement affirming that the accounts in question have nothing to do with any transaction of yours. The credit bureaus will block the suspect accounts with a few days and initiate an investigation.
Prevention of Identity Theft
If you have been a victim of identity theft, or are just concerned about preventing the problem from occurring there are two easy and effective credit repair solutions. The credit bureaus offer a simple warning system called a Fraud Alert. A Fraud Alert is a statement inserted into your credit report requesting that prospective lenders contact you before extending credit. All you need to do is ask the credit bureaus to include this statement on your report, provide them with a contact phone number, and you are all set. There is no charge and the alert will remain on your credit report for 90 days. After 90 days you may extend it if wish. You may also cancel it at any time if you feel that the threat has passed. Fraud Alerts, however, are not foolproof, and some lenders may ignore the alert and extend credit regardless. An excellent ancillary credit repair solution you should implement simultaneously with your Fraud Alert is credit monitoring. Credit monitoring is a service offered by the credit bureaus which will alert you to any activity on your credit including inquiries. You can expect to pay less than $20 per month for this service. If someone attempts to use your identity you will be contact in time to avert the issue.
Consult a Professional
If you have concerns about fraudulent use of your identity you should consult a credit repair professional. Most credit repair services offer a free consultation which you should take advantage of. There may be considerations other than have been mentioned in this article, and every situation is unique. As important as your credit is your should always make informed choices.
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