These days, the contents of your credit report can affect your quality of life – from whether you can rent a flat, find a job, or obtain financing for a car, home, or personal loan. With your credit score representing you so often, it’s important to know how to read your credit report, and spot [...]
FAQs About Identity Fraud
Questions About Identity Fraud:
- What is identity fraud?
- How does identity fraud affect my credit report?
- How do I determine if I’m the victim of identity fraud?
Identity fraud means that someone is using your name as their own. In the case of your credit, identity fraud means that someone is using your name and personal information to charge up your accounts or open new accounts.
The person that is fraudulently using your name and personal information to open an account is essentially doing so to steal money. They will charge items in your name and have no intention of ever paying the bill. Since your name is associated with the account, you will be the one responsible for the debt, and your credit score will suffer. If you suspect you are the victim of identity fraud, it’s very important to contact the relevant lender, as well as all three credit reference agencies. This assures that the items are removed from your credit report and, in most cases, you will not be responsible for the balances charged.
Many people are not aware that they have been victims of fraud until they begin being contacted by collection agencies. It’s best to discover identity fraud before the fraudulent accounts reach collections, and the only way to do that is by regularly checking your credit report. At least once a year, access your report. To determine if someone is using your identity to commit fraud, review the information in your report. Are the balances what you expected, or are there large balances you know you did not charge up? Are there accounts open in your name that you know you didn’t personally open? These indicate identity fraud, and should prompt you to contact the lender and all three credit reference agencies immediately.