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07/06/2008

Victim of Identity Theft?

How to get Your Financial Life Back on Track

Ken had everything going for him, a great job, no debt, an excellent credit score... or so he thought. In fact, he felt with everything going right for him financially it was time to look into owning his own place. He sat down with a Realtorâ„¢ to figure out how much of a home he could qualify for and was shocked to learn that the answer was ZERO. His credit score was not what he thought it was... in fact, on his credit report, there were loans and credit cards that he did not even apply for that put him thousands of dollars in debt. After careful and diligent research, Ken came to the understanding that he was the victim of identity theft.

If you are like Ken and have been a victim of identity theft, don't think that your life will be in financial ruin forever. There are some things that you can do to help get your financial life back in order and fix your credit score. Before you do anything else, it will be important for you to file a report with the police department. If you are finding this a difficult task, you might want to consult with a lawyer or an identity theft specialist who will be able to help you file the correct reports, get a police report and get your life back on track. Once you have filed the report, make sure to request a copy of it so that you now have proof of the identity theft occurring.

The next most important thing that you need to do is to get a copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Compare all of these reports and make note of the fraudulent items. Now you will have to make sure to not only contact the companies about the identity theft, but you will also need to let the old accounts that you actually did open know what is going on as well. This will help to ensure that these companies know what is going on as well.

Now that you have a list of the cards and loans that you did not open, you will need to contact each company in turn, explain what has happened and close down the account. You will definitely need the report from the police in front of you when you do this. In fact, many companies will expect to see a copy of the report before clearing your name. Always take down the name of the person that you spoke with, the time and the date of the conversation. Above all, once the account is closed, request a letter stating that the account has been closed due to identity theft.

Another important thing that you will need to do to insure that you are not a victim again is to ask lenders to take additional security steps. This means that whenever there are applications for new credit in the future the credit companies know to either ask for a secret security code, or if there is a lot of activity on a particular card that they contact you before approving the spending.

Once you have cleared your name from identity theft, you should obtain a new copy of your credit report and double check to see that everything has been taken care of. Every year you should make it your duty to get your free copy of your credit report in order to keep an eye on your credit score and make sure that no one took off with your personal information again.





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