Can Identity Theft Affect Your Credit Score?
If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you are likely familiar with how much your life can change. Identity thieves can take your financial information, purchase expensive items in your name, and leave you to deal with the consequences.
After you realize your identity was stolen, you may be wondering if your credit score was affected. Unfortunately, identity theft can and sometimes does have a negative impact on your credit score. Thankfully there are ways to combat the damage.
Significant harm to your credit score can affect your finances for years to come. Follow this advice to repair your score and take back control after an identity theft.
How Identity Theft Affects Your Credit
Identity thieves work quickly to reap the benefits of their stolen goods. Thieves can use your good credit score to their advantage and take your information to finance their own lives without paying anything back. Some of the most common ways identity thieves can negatively impact your credit score include:
- Maxing out credit card limits
- Opening new accounts
- Failing to make payments
These three things can undoubtedly harm your once flawless credit score. The longer your identity theft goes unnoticed, the more damage is done.
How to Save Your Credit Score
Repairing your credit score takes time and patience, but is necessary to ensure that your finances are safe. Take the necessary steps to mitigate the damage and hold offenders accountable for their actions.
Report to the FTC
The job of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is to protect consumers from harmful practices. Go onto their website to report your identity theft and set up a plan to begin the reparation process.
Contact Your Card Issuer
If you see a credit card on your credit report that you know you didn’t apply for, you must contact the card issuer immediately. Call the card’s fraud department or the bank to dispute the account. You may also want to send a written follow-up to have proof of the notification.
Contact a credit union and place a fraud alert on your report. You are only required to call one credit union to set the alert; once they receive the notification, they will contact other credit unions with this information.
File a Dispute
Send a written letter to a credit reporting agency like Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to alert them of the inaccurate information on your report. Your letter should give a detailed explanation regarding why the information is incorrect, as well as a request to remove the false info from your report. Once the information is proved to be false, all three credit bureaus must correct your file.
Consult With A Consumer Law Attorney
Repairing your credit after an identity theft is a long and complicated process. A consumer law attorney has the time and resources to contact credit bureaus and credit card companies on your behalf to begin the process. It’s also beneficial to have a consumer law attorney on your side if debt collectors start to contact you regarding debt from your identity theft.
You may also be eligible to receive compensation for your trouble. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that you may sue credit bureaus for reporting inaccurate information. In addition, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also outlines rules that debt collectors must follow, and violations of the act can result in legal consequences against the collector.
The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi can help you fight inaccurate debt collection and seek compensation. A violation of the FDCPA may award you up to $1,000, and we are eager to fight for you. Contact our office at 1-844-JIBRAEL to find out if you have a case. We don’t get paid until you do, so call today.