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The Impact Identity Theft Can Have On Your Credit Score

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, and the impact of the crime can have long-lasting effects for you and your credit score. Identity theft not only costs you money, but this crime could lead to false imprisonment. When thieves steal your identity, they could use your social security number, and other personal or financial information to open up lines of credit, or to falsify medical and tax records.

You will need to monitor your credit report and score frequently to prevent or detect identity theft. If you notice any fraudulent activity, you will need to report the identity theft to the credit bureaus, police, creditors, and your employer.

The Impact

Your credit score is not only a three-digit number; it is what lenders and employers use to measure your credit-worthiness. A bad credit score could keep you from leasing a car, being extended a home loan, or getting approved for a job or promotion. When your credit score is lowered, it might cause you to pay higher interest rates on new lines of credit - assuming a lender takes the credit risk.

Identity thieves might run up your existing accounts, and as a result, your payments are late, and your credit cards are maxed out, both of which are bad for your credit score. If an identity thief opens up a new line of credit in your name, they have no intentions of paying the bill, which also tanks your credit score.

If any of your accounts are turned over to a collection agency, this will lower your credit score, because you have failed to keep up with your financial agreement. You can clear up identity theft, but the process is not simple; in the meantime, your credit score is being damaged more and more.

Clearing up the Issue

If you have become a victim, there are ways to clear up identity theft. You will need to make a report of the theft immediately. Failing to take immediate action could cause more damage to your credit score. You should always contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); this can be done online or via telephone. The form that you need to file with the FTC is an Identity Theft Affidavit. Once you have filed this form, it will be placed into a database that is available to hundreds of law enforcement agencies.

Notify all three of the credit bureaus. These are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Be sure to have a fraud alert placed on your credit file; this will keep new lines of credit from being opened under your name, without your approval.

It is necessary to contact creditors and account holders once you have been a victim of identity theft. This allows you to place a hold on your accounts until you have cleared up the situation. You are able to dispute the purchases that were made by thieves, and you can dispute any new lines of credit that were not opened by you. It is a great idea to follow up with these disputes so you can be sure immediate and proper action is being taken.

Monitoring Your Credit

There are actions you can take to prevent identity theft, such as credit monitoring. When you monitor your credit on a regular basis, you can check for any fraudulent activity, or credit errors. If there is fraudulent activity on your credit report, you will need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. The first step would be to report identity theft to the credit bureaus.

You can monitor your credit report and score on your own, or you can hire a credit monitoring service. The service provider will alert of you when activity occurs on your credit files, which gives you the opportunity to report the identity theft to the credit bureaus immediately, as well as follow all the necessary steps to clear up identity theft.

Protecting your credit score should be a priority, and monitoring your credit is the first step you should take. If you notice errors on your credit report, take immediate action. This could help you keep thieves from causing more damage to your credit score, and it could keep you from facing legal issues later on down the road.

Joy Mali is an active blogger who is fond of writing articles on identity theft and advising people how to identify the theft signs and prevent identity theft. Follow her on Twitter to know more on effect of identity theft on your credit score.

Original article published on amazines.com

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