So, you’ve suddenly been getting messages about credit card transactions you never made and are now getting bills for large amounts. What does this mean? You may be a victim of financial identity fraud.
Identity fraud is not only difficult to deal with and tedious to fight, but it can also have long-lasting effects about your relationship with your lenders as well as your credit score. Let’s take a look at what you should know about identity theft as well as credit scores.
Understanding Identity Theft
Identity theft is a basic enough concept to understand, but it can look really subtle if you’re not being vigilant. Look out for any sign of bills or transactions that aren’t yours. For example, being billed by a clinic you never went to is a sign most people don’t immediately register.
You should also be wary of irregular charges on your credit card and bank statements. You could also be receiving calls or notices from debt collectors about these unfamiliar transactions. Once you’ve identified the symptoms of identity theft, there are some steps you should take immediately.
What to do Next
Make sure that you go over all your bills, bank statements, taxes and even check your credit report. This will help you identify all the counts of fraudulent actions. Contact all the companies or businesses where you believe false services have been given to the thief, including any credit card providers.
Freeze all new lines of credit that have been opened as well as the ones you own. You can also consider getting a fraud alert attached to your credit report from one of the three national credit reporting agencies so that whenever a potential lender requests a credit report in your name, they’re aware that another person may be trying to con them
Your health insurance fraud department, your bank’s fraud department and even the local consumer protection department can help you unravel the mess the identity thief has left behind. However, you must remember to take quick action, since the longer you wait, the less likely it is that you can ensure minimal long-term effects.
Cleaning Up Your Credit Score
In most cases, a victim of identity fraud has to deal with serious impact to their credit score. Medical billing, unpaid credit card bills and other items can pile up, creating a huge loss for you. That’s where credit lawyers from firms like Cook Law, LLC step in.
We can help you analyze and track fraud transactions and help you in disputing credit report errors that the identity thief created. Our experience in credit report inaccuracies as well as debt harassment and incorrect background check services in St. Louis and Chicago make us uniquely situated to offer you insight into dealing with the credit score repercussions of identity fraud.