Identity Theft

Credit Bureaus Slow to Block Inaccurate Information Resulting From Identity Theft

Being a victim of identity theft can be financially devastating. When someone steals your identity, they can open utility and credit card accounts; even take out loans in your name. You may not even find out until you must pay the bills.

Also, if the payments are already late, you may find your credit already damaged. To help victims of identity theft, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives victims of identity theft some rights.

The FCRA requires Credit Bureaus to stop any information from being reported on your credit report that you claim resulted from identity theft. They have four business days after you notify them of your allegations to comply with this requirement. However, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), credit bureaus are not always good about complying with this requirement promptly.

Suppose you want the credit bureaus to stop reporting information in your credit report that resulted from identity theft. In that case, you should send them a notice pointing out the transactions you are disputing and declaring that you did not make the transactions. Be sure to include proof of your identity, a copy of the identity theft report, and the notification you send to the credit bureaus.

Once the credit bureau receives your notice, they should contact the lender responsible for the account. The credit bureau must inform them that the account may have been opened or used due to identity theft and that you want the information blocked. However, the credit bureau could decline your request to stop the data from being reported. This denial happens if they believe you made a mistake in blocking the account, benefited from the blocked account, or provided misleading information when requesting it.

Lenders should also stop reporting the disputed information to credit bureaus once notified of the identity theft. The exception is if they have additional information disproving the claim. You can also inform the lender yourself about identity theft.

Also, lenders are not allowed to put your debt into collection after learning the debt is a result of identity theft. However, should a debt collector contact you concerning the disputed account, you can inform them of the identity theft and request they notify the lenders they are representing of the situation.

If you find out that you are a victim of identity theft, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to obtain your rights under the FCRA. Then, you should file a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. This alert will let lenders know to contact you and verify your identity before they open any new accounts or increase any lines of credit in your name. You should only need to file the fraud alert with one credit bureau, as they should notify the other national credit bureaus.

Credit bureaus must cease these reports promptly. If the credit bureaus continue reporting information you claimed happened because of identity theft, you can file a complaint. You may file with the FTC or CFPB.

Identity theft is a serious matter that can happen to anyone at any time. You may want to run a self-background check to ensure you are not a victim. If you find you are, it is best to ensure there is no criminal affiliation with your identity.

You can stay one step ahead of hackers and identity thieves by running a quick self background check Click Here to get started.


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