Protect yourself from future identity theft and fraud. You can review your credit report from each of the three credit rating agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for free once a year. Look for signs of identity theft, such as unauthorized purchases, and report any errors or signs of fraud. Consumers can freeze their accounts for security reasons to prevent someone from verifying their information, which can prevent identity thieves from establishing credit in their name.
You can also set up a fraud alert if you know that your information has been stolen or exposed to potential fraudsters, so that lenders first check if an action has been authorized before opening a new account or granting credit. In addition, the credit repair industry is full of fraudsters looking to access your personal information. Identity thieves can use a person's information to do things like apply for credit cards or loans in their name, break into their bank account or use their credit card, file a fraudulent tax return or health insurance claim, or simply sell the information to someone else. Fortunately, the credit combination is one of the few factors in your credit score that isn't affected by identity theft.
To repair your payment history, you'll need to challenge all fraudulent transactions in your credit rating. Fraud may not be discovered until the victim is older, perhaps because a loan or credit card has been declined due to a loss of credit. Unfortunately, once the fraudulent accounts are removed from your credit report, specific credit inquiries will still be there. Monitoring your credit history will help you detect any account that isn't yours and identify and correct errors that could affect your credit rating.
The Identity Guard total plan monitors all your sensitive information, including credit accounts, credit score updates and bank accounts, and alerts you to any suspicious activity. Call the number on the back of your credit card and ask to speak to your credit card fraud department. When fraudulent charges are challenged and removed from your credit report, your credit utilization returns to normal levels. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the score you get with Identity Guard isn't the same score that lenders use to assess your credit.
If credit card fraud is detected immediately (1 to 7 days after the fraudulent charges were made) and reported immediately, it will still be several weeks before the elimination of the fraudulent charges appears on your credit report. Negative information and public records can affect your creditworthiness and be another mess you'll have to fix to repair your credit after identity theft. When you detect suspicious activity, contact one of the three national credit bureaus Experian, Equifax or TransUnion to include a fraud alert in your credit report.