What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
If you are a victim of identity theft, then you must read these 5 steps to correct credit report errors. Identity theft is the number one crime in America. In 2017, over 146 million Americans became identity theft victims because of the Equifax data breach. However, there are many other ways to become an identity theft victim besides being part of a data breach.
- Order your free credit reports.
You found out you are a victim of identity theft, what should you do? First, we recommend identity theft victims request their credit reports from the consumer reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Identity theft victims have the right to free credit reports. Click Free Annual Disclosure Request Form to download a form to order your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.
- Don’t buy credit monitoring.
Be wary of credit monitoring services that advertise “free” credit reports. While the credit monitoring companies may offer free reports during a trial period, consumers may be enrolled in monthly recurring fees to obtain credit reports afterthe trial period. Again, if you are a victim of identity theft, then you have the right to a free report under federal law. You should not have to pay for your credit report!
- Review your credit reports for errors.
After you receive your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, review the credit reports for any information that does not belong to you. Make a list of each of the credit report errors for each credit reporting agency.
If you request your credit reports and you do not receive all 3 reports, don’t give up! Make a second request to each credit reporting agency who did not send you your free credit report. Keep a copy of your letter and send the request by certified mail to confirm delivery to each credit bureau.
- Dispute credit report errors.
Draft dispute letters to each of the credit reporting agencies that is reporting false information about you. Your dispute letter should identify yourself, the false information and why the information is false. Sign and date your letter and make a copy for future reference. You should mail the dispute letter to these addresses for Equifax, Experian and Trans Union:
1550 Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
701 Experian Pkwy
Allen, TX 75013
555 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60661
Click Sample Credit Report Dispute Letter for a free sample credit report dispute letter.
- Review the Credit Bureaus’ response to your dispute letters.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit reporting agencies to respond to your dispute letters. The response must be sent to you within 30-45 days of receipt of your dispute. You should receive a letter from each bureau outlining their response to your dispute. The response letter should also say whether the disputed credit report information was deleted, updated or verified as accurate.
Make a list of the false items of information that the credit reporting agencies verified as accurate. This list may include items that were included in your dispute letter, but that were not addressed by the credit reporting agencies. Do you want to send another credit report dispute? Or, do you want to hire a professional who has experience in representing consumers with credit report errors?
The Adkins Firm represents Tennessee identity theft victims. We also represent consumers in Tennessee with credit report or background report errors. The errors may be due to identity theft or because the credit bureaus mixed our client’s information with someone who has the same or similar name. Either way, we offer our clients a free consultation. Remember, It’s your credit report!
Contact us at 615.370.9659 for a free case review.