Credit Protection and Credit Repair

Help, my credit has been really messed up!

What do I do now?

What is credit protection?

So you recently applied for a loan for a new car or tried to buy a house to find out that your application was denied. You feel very upset. You pay everything on-time and there must be a mistake, right? Anyone been there? You call the credit bureau and ask for a copy of your credit report, and you find a number of cards have been open in your name with mounting debts and you have been put into collection. After the shock has worn off, and you sit down you realize you have been the victim of Identity Theft.

OK, let’s not panic. The world has not ended but it will take time to fix. Let’s discuss how to do credit protection and credit repair.

Here is list of credit protection things you must do:

 Fraud Alert – contact the three major credit bureaus.

 File a Police Report

 Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

 Close and Dispute Unauthorized Accounts

 Continue to Monitor your credit report

Trying to fix your credit after you have been the victim of Identity Theft is challenging. Credit protection and repair can be done but it is not going to be FUN, it’s going to take time and lots of hard work to do credit repair.

Let's walk through each of the steps.

Fraud Alert

Placing a fraud alert on your credit report is the first thing that needs to be done that can help with credit protection when you have determined you have been the victim of Identity Theft and your personal information has been compromised. A fraud alert gives you the right to a free credit report from the credit reporting agencies. This is in addition to the annual free credit report you are able to receive through www.annual

Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or

Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or

A fraud alert does not erase the fraudulent accounts, but it will keep the identity theft from getting worse while you work on clearing and or closing the accounts.

File a Police Report

As soon as you know that your identity has been stolen and the accounts compromised, it’s important to move forward with a police report in your local area. Don’t wait to report an Identity Theft incident.

Because the nature of identity theft can involve so many different methods, the police may not be able catch the thief, however the police report will help you cancel the accounts and have them removed from your credit report.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a prepared a cover letter that explains the importance of a police report in the event that your local police department will not compete a incident report. Additionally, the FTC has a new joint governmental agency that logs in reports of identity theft and provides for coordination. Go to their website for more information.

Close and Dispute Unauthorized Accounts

Assuming you have obtained your credit reports and have figured out which accounts have been opened in your name you need to do two things:

1. Contact the business and advise them that a fraudulent account was opened. Some may require proof or evidence; this is why the police report is important to have.

2. Cancel the account and request the business remove the account from your credit report. In the event that the business won’t comply, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau.

Continue credit monitoring your accounts monthly

At this point in the process you will need to check on your progress with both the business that had the account opened to make sure the account is closed as well as with the various credit bureaus. It is hard to determine the length of time this might take, but it’s important to be diligent on the process.

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