If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, a stranger may have taken out loans in your name or run up debt on your credit card. Once this has happened, your credit score may drop dramatically, or you may have a hard time getting a new loan if you need it. It’s a very upsetting experience and you may feel like it will be impossible to fix your credit, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not. Here’s what you need to do:
Take Immediate Action
The most important answer to the question “How do I fix my credit after identity theft?” is to take action immediately. The sooner you recognize unauthorized charges on your credit report and report them to companies that are reporting them, the sooner you can begin to rebuild your credit. It’s a good idea to keep a log of the actions you’re taking so you have a record to reference.
Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports
You will need to get in touch with Experian, Equifax or TransUnion either online or by phone as soon as possible. To try to prevent further problems, you can have them place a fraud alert on your credit report or you can place a credit freeze. A fraud alert lets potential lenders know you’ve been a victim of identity theft so that they’ll take extra precautions before loaning money. This lasts for 90 days and can be renewed if necessary. If you place a credit freeze, no one can access your credit report until it’s lifted.
File an Identity Theft Report
Some creditors expect you to contact the police or sheriff’s department to file an identity theft report. Give them as much information as you can and get a copy of the report you’ve filed with law enforcement. It’s possible that your local police department won’t write a report if you don’t know who stole your identity. If that happens, document the date and time you contacted them and who you spoke to. You can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission’s page IdentityTheft.gov.
Close Revolving Accounts That Have Been Affected
When you notify creditors that you’ve been a victim of identity theft, they’ll probably close your current credit card accounts and issue replacement cards with new account numbers. If fraudulent charges are reported promptly, lenders are less likely to hold you responsible.
Dispute Inaccurate Charges with the Credit Bureaus
To dispute fraudulent charges with the credit bureaus, send a letter to each of the three bureaus listing accounts and charges that are fraudulent. Include a copy of the police report or identity theft report. Credit bureaus are required to respond to a dispute within 30 days of the time they receive it.
Be Proactive About Your Credit
Identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. Data breaches are common, and criminals watch for opportunities to steal unattended personal information. If there’s fraudulent information on your credit report, Dovly can help you take the steps needed to rebuild your credit, including disputing inaccuracies on your credit report. Our automated AI credit engine can help you rebuild your credit after identity theft. Try it risk-free with our free membership tier.