Posted on 2015-10-07 09:00:12
Your credit report tells the story of how you have and are handling credit obligations. The heart of your credit report is the listing of your credit accounts and loans with details about each—the type of account, when it was opened, your credit limit, the current balance and your payment history. Those you have accounts with update information regularly. Credit report mistakes are rather common and can result in a lower credit score. That can impact your access to credit at the best terms. But it doesn’t stop there. Other entities such as utility companies, insurance companies, landlords and employers use the information in your credit report—or the credit score calculated based on that information—to make decisions that can affect your life. Accuracy matters! When you spot an error on your credit report, it should be reported to the credit bureau that is listing the incorrect information.
Report Errors to the Credit Bureau Report credit report errors in writing to the credit bureau that is listing inaccurate information. Your credit report will have contact details for each credit bureau. Include copies—not originals—of documents to support your claim. Explain your side of the story and why you think there is a mistake. The credit bureau must investigate within 30 days (unless your claim is frivolous). They must forward the information in your claim to the information provider who must investigate and report back to the credit bureau. If the information provider determines the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three national credit bureaus so the information can be corrected on your credit report with each credit bureau. When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must provide you with the results (in writing) and a free copy of your credit report if the dispute resulted in a change to the report. If the investigation is not in your favor, you can add a statement to your credit report that will be included with future reports. Credit Report Monitoring Since information on your credit report can change frequently, it is a good idea to review your credit report periodically. MyFreeScoreNow’s credit monitoring service will alert you whenever there are significant changes to your credit report. This early notification of potential errors can help you maintain the accurate credit report you deserve.
Posted on 2015-09-30 09:00:57
A recently released Justice Department report indicates there were 17.4 million identity theft victims in 2014. How were these victims targeted? The vast majority (86%) were targeted for credit card and bank account fraud. • 8.6 million had their credit card information compromised. • 8.1 million had a bank account compromised. When identity theft involves credit cards, the goal is often to max out the accounts before the cardholder realizes the cards are missing or have been used fraudulently. But identity theft involving credit cards may go deeper. Criminals may hack into credit card accounts online, changing settings such as an address, and open new accounts. They can do this without physical possession of a credit card. The statistics reveal that about 7 percent of all U.S. residents over the age of 16 were victims of identity theft. The total financial loss for all victims was reported to be $15.4 billion. Very few identity theft victims—less than 10 percent—report the crime to the police. Yet notifying the police is an important step that can help in the resolution process.
Reduce Your Risk of Becoming an Identity Theft Victim No one is immune to identity theft, but it is possible to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Here are the top 3 things you can do to protect your identity: 1. Keep your personal information safe. Remember that all an identity thief needs is one piece of critical information to steal your identity. Secure personal documents at home. Go paperless to the extent possible. When you dispose of documents with personal information, shred them first. 2. Limit the personal information revealed online. Information such as your birth date or where you live are valuable tools in the hands of an identity thief. Keep personal information private. 3. Keep tabs on your accounts. It only takes a few minutes to review your credit card and bank accounts weekly, yet this step can put an early stop to identity theft. A credit monitoring service can also help you keep tabs on new information reported on your credit report, also helping put an early stop to identity theft.
Posted on 2015-09-24 16:33:12
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. It is a crime that strikes victims from all walks of life. It happens when someone uses your personal information to assume your identity for personal or financial gain. Even the most careful consumer can become an identity theft victim. What sets identify theft apart from other crimes is that it is a silent attacker, often going undetected until an enormous amount of damage has been done. Criminals may go on spending sprees, open new accounts, apply for large loans, establish cell phone service and even file for bankruptcy or commit a crime using your personal information. Identity theft takes an enormous toll on its victims, many who have worked a lifetime to establish and maintain a good credit record. The best way to limit the damage done by identity theft is to act quickly. Here are 5 steps to take if you suspect you may be an identity theft victim.
Posted on 2015-09-11 09:00:51
We spend a lot of time talking about things that can hurt your credit score. This article focuses on 5 things that won’t help or hurt your credit score. 1. Income Whether you are working for minimum wage or are independently wealthy, your income does not directly affect your credit score. Your employer’s name may be recorded on your credit report, but your income is not. That said, your income could certainly affect how you pay your bills, and that affects your payment history which is a major factor in most credit scoring models. 2. Child Support or Alimony Do you pay child support or alimony? Don’t expect it to help or hurt your credit score unless you become delinquent. If you become delinquent, your account may be turned over to a collection agency. The collection agency may report the delinquency to the credit bureaus. But aside from that scenario, child support or alimony is unlikely to affect your credit score.
Posted on 2015-09-07 09:00:53
Identity theft is no stranger to the teen population. According to one study, children under the age of 18 are twice as likely to become identity theft victims as their parents. Teens make easy identity theft targets because they usually have clean credit reports (or none at all). Couple that with the typical teen’s trusting nature, and the stage is set for identity theft. Here are 5 steps that can help protect your teen from identity theft.1. Keep bank information private. Teenagers may not see the harm in sharing personal information with friends. But sharing personal information is a dangerous habit to start. All it takes is one less-than-honest or desperate friend to open the door for identity theft. Encourage your teen not to hand over the keys to his identity by sharing personal information. 2. Limit exposure on social media. Most teens are on at least one social media network such as Facebook or Twitter. And most of them are friends with people they hardly know or don’t know at all. Once something is posted, control of that information is forever lost. Identity thieves hang out on social media sites looking for opportunities. Teach your teen to limit exposure on social media networks.
3. Keep a lean wallet. Your teen should never carry more than is necessary in his wallet. Old-fashioned pick-pocketing is still popular with identity thieves. Social Security numbers are especially valuable, and there is usually no reason for a teen to carry his Social Security card in his wallet. 4. Shred, shred, and shred some more. Help your teen get in the habit of shredding anything with personal information before getting rid of it. Unsolicited credit card offers contain a wealth of personal information that makes it easy for an identity thief to open credit in your teen’s name. Buy a shredder and use it to discard of anything with personal information. 5. Monitor your teen’s credit report. Once your child starts using credit, teach him the importance of knowing what is on his credit report. Review it periodically to check for accuracy. That’s often where evidence of identity theft first shows up. A credit monitoring service is an easy and effective way to keep tabs on your teen’s credit report.