Thursday, May 11, 2017

Identity Theft – How to Dispute Your Credit Report

Checking your credit report regularly is important, as incorrect, fraudulent or negative activity can adversely affect your credit. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should dispute inaccurate information on your credit report.

How Will I Know If I Am a Victim of Identity Theft?

  • READ YOUR BILLS – search for charges you did not buy that may indicate identity theft.
  • WATCH YOUR BANK STATEMENTS – any withdrawals you did not make?
  • CHECK YOUR MAIL – getting a new bill you did not know about?
  • GET YOUR CREDIT REPORT – are there accounts you don’t recognize?
  • HAS YOUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION REPLACED YOUR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD?

You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, which you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Credit Reporting Agencies

You can also access your credit information anytime through services like CreditKarma.com, which also include your scores.

If you are a victim of identity theft:

  • You have the right to an attorney before you sign legal papers.
  • Dispute errors in your credit report.

Disputing Information on Credit Reports

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Under the FCRA, both the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider.”

The FTC instructs consumers to alert the credit agencies and the creditors in writing, sending by certified mail, the information you think is inaccurate on your credit report.

Each of the three main credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, have instructions on their websites about initiating a dispute. The credit reporting agencies and the information providers must investigate any dispute, and generally conclude the investigations within 30 days of receiving your request. You can be notified by mail or email the results of the investigation, and you can add a note of any dispute to your credit report, even if they decide not to remove the information in dispute.

For more information on disputing inaccuracies on your credit report, visit:

TransUnion: dispute.transunion.com
Experian: Experian.com/disputes
Equifax: Equifax.com/personal/disputes

Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer information site for detailed instructions on the dispute process, as well as sample letters to send to credit reporting agencies and creditors.

 

We will address this and more issues in our continued identity theft series:

  • How long do you have to sue after discovering identity theft?

 

VISIT WWW.USA.GOV/CREDIT-REPORTS FOR MORE INFORMATION.

*Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice. This does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm.