Recently, I wrote an article on enhancements to the free annual credit check. Now that you have checked your credit, consider this example:

Bob checks his credit and finds that he is listed as a secondary applicant on a home loan for property in California. Bob has never lived in California and has not attempted to purchase property there. So what happened? Someone has more than likely used Bob’s information to attempt to qualify and purchase a home.

You have options

Have you had a situation where you see your information was used to purchase something that you yourself did not purchase? Do you suspect identity theft or an error on your credit report? You do have options.

Step 1

First, double check the credit report to ensure you are interpreting the data correctly. Sometimes a second look may add clarity that was missed the first time.

Step 2

Second, notify the credit reporting bureau, in writing, about the discrepancy. The Federal Trade Commission has a sample letter that you can use here. It is a good idea to include copies of items that support your position. Do not send in the original supporting documentation. You need to keep all of this for your records.

Step 3

Third, you need to notify the provider, or the business/entity that pulled your credit, that you are disputing the credit transaction. Again, the Federal Trade Commission has an example letter that you can use here.

Step 4

Fourth, it is a good idea to file a local police report as a matter of record. You may not have all of the information to successfully prosecute the individual(s) responsible but you do know that your information has been compromised, and you need to document this. The local police department will complete a simple police report and assign it a case number. While this report may not be investigated due to a lack of details about the suspect, it will be an official legal document that will inevitably be needed in future correspondence with the credit bureau and provider/business that pulled your credit.

Step 5

Next, look at additional resources. IdentityTheft.gov has a great checklist outlining this process in detail and it’s interactive, meaning you answer questions about your situation and the system guides you on what to do next to complete all the steps.

In addition to the IdentityTheft website, be sure to file out an electronic report with the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at IC3.gov. I have written in detail about IC3, including who they are and what they do, in this previous blog post.

Step 6

You need to keep all of your documents in a safe place. Document every pertinent detail and log this information in logical order. Enlist the help of a close trusted friend or family member to help you if needed.

Step 7

Finally, you will need to remain vigilant. Checking your credit, protecting your identity and keeping the documents will become habit. Stay aware, but do not obsess. It will be okay, and things will get better. Tackle the problem and then move on.

 

Wilson Bank &Trust is here for you. Should you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us online at wilsonbank.com, through our mobile app, or at (844) WBT-BANK (844-928-2265).

 

Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

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