2. Contact a Credit Reporting Agency and Place an Initial Fraud Alert
If you’ve been the victim of Identity Theft, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus. First, though, you have to place an initial fraud alert with one of the them, either Transunion, Equifax, or Experian. This is the one communication with a credit bureau that can be over the telephone, though using the internet is better. Each of the big three has a link on their site specifically to help victims of identity theft.
3. Get a copy of your credit report.
After you’ve placed an initial fraud alert, you need to write each credit bureau a letter demanding a copy of your credit report. They cannot charge you for this, and all you must do to get one is say that you’ve been the victim of a suspected identity theft, state the specific debts which you know or reasonably suspect to be bogus, and ask them to only show the last 4 digits of your SSN on your reports.
4. Review the report.
Look for anything you don’t recognize. Make a list.
5. Write a dispute letter to each credit bureau. Send a copy to the creditors reporting the info.
This is a very important step and it is IMPERATIVE that you do it in writing and keep a copy of everything you send the credit bureaus and everything they send you. If an item doesn’t belong on your report, they’re not supposed to report it. Period. If you dispute an item that doesn’t belong there and they don’t remove it within 30 days, they are liable to you for any damages that causes you, plus attorney’s fees! You don’t have to be denied credit or have an interest rate hike to suffer damages. The time, trouble, and frustration of having bad credit, the stress, the embarrassment, all of these things are damages and they are recoverable if a credit reporting agency does not fix your credit report after you’ve disputed an item. That is the law and if you have a credit report problem that hasn’t been fixed despite your dispute, then you need to contact a lawyer.
Next we’ll go over what you need to do about a creditor or debt collector who won’t leave you alone after you’ve told them about the identity theft.
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