Will Freezing Your Credit Stop Identity Theft?
Consumer Reports wrote an article detailing “Why a Credit Freeze Alone Won’t Stop Identity Theft.” The article identified ways, other than opening credit accounts, that identity thieves can use your personal information including:
- stealing tax refunds
- obtaining health insurance
- scams on payment platforms
The article discusses various ways that consumers may deal with those types of identity theft. While these forms of identity theft are concerning, Blankingship and Christiano specializes in helping consumers who have been victimized by identity theft in the form of credit accounts that are now appearing on the consumers credit report that the consumer did not initiate.
Freezing your credit is usually too late to help
The article suggested that consumers freeze their credit file to stop account initiation identity theft, which may stop an identity thief from opening credit. While consumer’s want to take action to stop the identity thief from initiating new credit, often times the identity thief has already used a consumer’s credit information, incurred charges that the consumer did not initiate, and defaulted on the credit account prior to the attempt to place a credit freeze.
What should you do if you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft?
If you suspect that you may have been the victim of identity theft, you should check your credit report immediately. Focus on accounts you did not open, inquiries you did not initiate, and addresses that you do not recognize. If you identify any information that you do not recognize, you may be the victim of identity theft, you can contact our office with questions that you may have regarding your situation. Consumers can also file their own credit dispute letters with the credit reporting agencies. The letters should detail the information demonstrating that you did not open or authorize the credit accounts that you are disputing. Consumers can also notify the furnishers of the information of the unauthorized accounts which can be either the original creditor or a debt buyer or collection agency. Consumers can also file a police report to assist in the resolution of their identity theft issues. Unfortunately, many times these actions are not enough to solve the inaccurate credit reporting as a result of identity theft.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act can help protect you
Our office helps consumers that face the prospect of a derogatory credit report from the actions of an identity thief that initiated the accounts and thereafter allowed the accounts to go into default. Consumers victimized by identity theft have rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and a trained legal professional like Blankingship & Christiano, P.C. can help you recover compensation from the entities that fail to comply with federal law protections for identity theft victims.
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.