Repairing Your Credit After Identity Theft
If you know an identity thief tampered with some of your accounts, you may have contacted the related businesses already. After you get your credit reports, read them to see whether other fraudulent transactions or accounts are listed, and then take steps to correct the errors.
Your credit report is full of information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, or have filed for bankruptcy. The information in your credit report is used to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, and renting a home, so it’s important that the information is accurate and up-to-date. Check all key information, including your:
- Social Security number
If you see errors on the report, like accounts you didn’t open or debts you didn’t incur, dispute the errors with the credit reporting companies and the fraud department of each business that reported an error.
If the errors result from identity theft and you have an Identity Theft Report, ask the credit reporting companies and business to block the disputed information from appearing on your credit reports. The credit reporting companies must block transactions and accounts if you are an identity theft victim.
Get Copies of Documents Used by the Thief
As you contact businesses to make corrections, ask for copies of any documents the identity thief used to open a new account or make charges in your name. Here's how:
- Contact the business that has records of the fraudulent transactions. Our sample letter can help.
Give written permission to a law enforcement officer to contact the company on your behalf.
- Ask for copies of documents the thief used to open new accounts or charge purchases in your name.
- Send details about where or when the fraudulent transactions took place.
- Include a copy of your Identity Theft Report or the proof the business requires, and proof of your identity.
The business must send you free copies of the records within 30 days of getting your request. For example, if you dispute a debt on a credit card account you did not open, ask for a copy of the application and applicant’s signature.
- Update your files.
- Record the dates you made calls or sent letters.
- Keep copies of letters in your files.