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CREDIT INFORMATION 2017-04-20T11:24:23+00:00

IDENTITY THEFT EDUCATION

CREDIT: THE FIRST STOP

While credit reporting cannot protect you from all aspects of identity theft, ongoing monitoring of your credit information can help you to detect fraudulent identity-related activity.

HOW CAN MY CREDIT INFORMATION HELP ME SPOT IDENTITY THEFT?

Your credit information is the first place to look when you suspect identity theft has taken place. Check for these red flags when reviewing your credit information:

MISTAKES ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT.

In some cases, a credit reporting agency may commit errors such as a typo or an incorrect address on your report. This may be a simple mistake. However, an error on your credit report could indicate that an identity theft event has occurred.

DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE.

When a criminal uses a non-credit identity element fraudulently, you might be able to detect the identity theft event on your credit report. A criminal might use your identity elements to handle fees-due criminal offenses, medical expenses, apply for a Payday loan, or initiate other transactions that don’t require a credit check. Then, when the criminal doesn’t pay the bill, the account may end up in collections and pop up as a delinquent account on your credit report.

LINES OF CREDIT YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE.

Identity thieves may use an element of your identity to open a new credit card account, or even apply for a mortgage, car loan, personal loan or other line of credit. If you see an account pop up that you don’t recognize, it could be an indication of identity theft.

NAMES YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE.

Your credit report will reflect all of the names you have used when applying for credit. This may include variations of the same name — think John Doe vs. J. Doe — and maiden names. But when you see a completely different name on your report, it might be an indication of identity theft.

WHAT IS THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT?

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer credit reporting agencies. The FCRA gives consumers specific rights, summarized below. You may have additional rights under state law.

YOU MUST BE TOLD IF INFORMATION IN YOUR FILE HAS BEEN USED AGAINST YOU.

Anyone who uses information from a consumer credit reporting agency to deny your application for credit, insurance or employment or takes any other adverse action against you must tell you, and give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.

YOU CAN FIND OUT WHAT’S IN YOUR FILE

At any time, you may request and obtain your report from a consumer credit reporting agency. You are entitled to free reports if a person has taken adverse action against you because of information in a report; if you are the victim of identity theft or fraud; if you are on public assistance; or if you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days. In addition, you are entitled to one free report every 12 months from each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies and from some specialized consumer credit reporting agencies. Complete ID delivers reports from all three consumer credit reporting agencies to you as a part of your membership, so you don’t have to think about it.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW YOUR SCORE.

For a fee, you may request your credit score. In some mortgage transactions, you will receive credit score information without charge.

YOU CAN DISPUTE INNACURATE INFORMATION WITH THE CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY.

If you tell a consumer-reporting agency that your file has inaccurate information, the agency must take certain steps to investigate unless your dispute is frivolous.

INNACURATE INFORMATION MAY BE CORRECTED OR DELETED.

A consumer credit reporting agency or furnisher must remove or correct information verified as inaccurate, usually within 30 days after you dispute it. However, a consumer credit reporting agency may continue to report negative data that it verifies as being accurate.

OUTDATED NEGATIVE INFORMATION MAY NOT BE REPORTED.

In most cases, a consumer credit reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than 7 years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.

ACCESS TO YOUR FILE IS LIMITED.

A consumer credit reporting agency may provide information about you only to people with a valid need as determined by the FCRA — usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord or other business.

IDENTITY THEFT VICTIMS AND ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY PERSONNEL HAVE ADDITIONAL RIGHTS.

Victims of identity theft have new rights under the FCRA. Active-duty military personnel who are away from their regular duty station may file “active duty” alerts to help prevent identity theft.

For more information, go to www.ftc.gov/credit, or write to: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580

MORE EDUCATION

MINIMIZE YOUR RISK

While there is no way to ensure that you never become a victim, managing your personal information carefully and sensibly is the first step in minimizing your risk.

Learn More

OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION

Criminals don’t need your complete profile — or even your credit information — to steal your identity. To most effectively minimize your risk of identity theft, it’s critical to monitor non-credit identity data as well.

Learn More

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Explore in-depth FAQs to learn more about fraud, identity theft, and how products work.

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