Mardi Gras was full of jubilant laughter, colorful costumes, and delicious feasts. You had the time of your life and now it’s back to business as usual. Except for one thing: you notice incorrect information on your credit report.
You did everything right. You followed this series from start to finish: You were aware of the Different Types of Fraud,
took proactive Protection Steps,
and even kept a watchful eye to Spot Fraud,
but still it happened.
All incorrect information on your credit reports should be taken seriously. The bottom line is that you need to get this information off your credit reports, and as it turns out, getting it removed is also the best way to determine if false information
is identity theft. It’s Time to Take Action; here’s what to do:
1. File a Formal Dispute ASAP
- The formal dispute process to correct inaccuracies with the credit bureaus can take several weeks
- The easiest way to do this is at the website (though you could do it by mail) of the bureaus reporting the information, whether that is Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
- Be sure to dispute all the incorrect information, since a wrong social security number or address could open the door for other incorrect information to get on your report.
2. Build Your Case
- While you wait for the results of the disputes, immediately contact the organization listing the false data, whether that is a credit card company, a collections agency, a court, etc.
- You have the right to access the information that is being reported to credit reports under your name, so request the organizations’ records relating to the account or legal matter.
- If these records show that you are clearly being mistaken for someone – different address, different social security number, etc. – then your initial dispute should be successful.
3. Contact the Police (if you suspect identity theft)
- If the documentation you receive matches your identifying information, yet you don’t recognize the data as being yours, you may have been a victim of identity theft.
- You need to contact your creditors and the police to file a report immediately.
- It will likely be harder to get this information removed from your credit file because to the credit bureaus it looks like you are the one responsible.
- The police report will be vital for you to get the fraudulent account or legal information removed from your credit reports.
4. Freeze Credit Reports
- It’s also a good idea to put a security freeze on your credit reports at the websites of the bureaus listed above, or by calling them, at least until you are able to better secure your information.
Any mistakes on your credit report should be taken very seriously. Failing to deal with them in a timely manner could make your financial life much harder going forward. However, if you are vigilant and diligent, you can protect your financial information
and minimize the fallout from fraud.
Don’t let credit card fraud slam the breaks on your good times. Protect yourself from credit card fraud and laissez les bons temps rouler!
For more information on Protecting Yourself from Fraud, please check out the rest of the series here:
For more information regarding your security with Spectrum Credit Union and how to report a lost or stolen credit card, please visit Security Central.
BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.