Can Identity Theft Affect your Credit Score

If someone has stolen your identity; you probably won’t realize it until you go to get loan for a house or a car. Victims of this crime have had their good credit history replaced with a very poor one. And it takes the victims a long time to recover from the devastation that it wreaks on their lives.

With your name and social security number, a thief can apply for and get credit in your name. The credit card company who issues the card has no clue that it isn’t you requesting it. Then, the thief takes his new credit card and goes on a shopping spree. He buys everything of value that he can with the card and then sells that merchandise out on the street. When the card is maxed out, he just gets another one.

Everyone involved the credit card company, the merchant and you do not recognize that a crime has been committed. Then, one day, you go to purchase a house or a car and you find that your credit score is in the toilet. While, there are steps that you can take to clean your file up after this has been done to you, it will take a long time.

The first step is to file a police report. Not only does this put the police department on the alert; it also is a sign to the credit card companies that identity theft has actually taken place.

Next, get copies of your credit report from all 3 credit reporting agencies(Equifax, Transunion and Experian) carefully review all the charges that are listed and circle all those in dispute. Send each of the credit reporting agencies a copy of the police report that you have filed along with a letter explaining that you have been a victim of identity theft and letting them know which charges in your report are fraudulent. They will add this information to your file. Make sure that you also request that they put a fraud alert notice in your file.

Finally, contact any credit card companies that are on your reports that you haven’t established credit with and cancel all of those accounts. Send each of them a copy of your police report along with a letter explaining the situation as well as any proof that you have that the charges were bogus. Ask them to remove the charges from the accounts and to note each of them if a fraud alert. They will conduct their own investigation and then resolve the issue with you.

This process takes a lot of time and patience. Unfortunately, you will be the one to suffer because a thief got a hold of your information.

To prevent this from happening in the future follow these steps:

Never give anyone else your credit card.
Keep all credit card receipts and put them in a secure place.
When you no longer need the receipts shred them.
Very rarely these days will a carbon be made of the receipt. If one is collect it from the merchant and destroy it.
If you shop on-line, do so with a known merchant.
Make sure that you type in the merchants web address and that the address starts with https:// instead of http:// the s at the end means it’s a secure site.
Some credit card companies can give you a temporary number for single use on the internet you may want to check with them.
Keep your purse or wallet with you all the time. A thief doesn’t have to steal your card if he has enough time to take a picture of it.

Identity theft can wreak havoc on a person’s life. The best way to avoid it is to take extra precautions with your personal information