How To Use Your Credit Report To Uncover Identity Theft Occurrences
Discovering that you may be the victim of identity theft is a shocking experience. The FBI has stated that identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Blankingship & Christiano helps victims of identity theft who have inaccurate credit reports containing accounts opened by an identity thief. These accounts can be difficult to deal with because they appear as a charge-off from the original creditor and are frequently sent to collectors or purchased by a debt buyer for collection. These situations can multiply the victim’s problem because now two derogatory accounts appear on the victim’s credit file when there was only one specific account opened by the thief. These multiplier effects can make recovering from identity theft even more daunting.
Steps to checking credit report
The first step in solving your identity theft credit reporting problem is to access a copy of your credit file from each of the national credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. When reviewing your file for identity theft issues, start with your biographical information. You should be on the lookout for any address that you do not recognize as they could be addresses used by the identity thief. Next, you should review the account summary information to identify accounts that are not yours or that you did not open or authorize. Make a note of these accounts, you will want to dispute these accounts with the credit reporting agencies. Finally, you will want to review the inquiry section for unauthorized reviews of your credit history. For additional information on your Equifax credit report and Equifax’s version of a credit score, please see Equifax’s video guide on how to review your credit report:
What to do if you find that your identify has been stolen?
If you notice identity theft accounts on your credit report, you do not want to wait to act. Obtain copies of your files, review the credit files carefully, and you may want to place an initial fraud alert on your credit file. You can also contact our office for a consultation about your situation. From our experience, the best results happen when the consumer acts by notifying the credit reporting agencies of the disputed identity theft accounts in conjunction with other actions such as notifying the various third parties that can take action as the circumstances require.
If you have an error on your credit report and need legal help getting it corrected contact the Virginia Credit report error lawyers at Blankingship & Christiano, P.C. (571) 207-8331 or fill out our contact form to discuss your case.