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Identity theft takes many different faces. From credit cards to student loans, thieves can open a variety of forms of credit on your behalf, ruining your creditworthiness and financial standing.
If so, it can be difficult and time consuming to correct the situation. But you can put things right.
If someone has taken out a loan on your behalf, it is important to take immediate action to prevent further damage to your credit. Follow these steps to keep yourself safe and get rid of the fraudulent accounts.
1. Submit a police report
The first thing you should do is file a police report with your local police department. You may be able to do this online. In many cases, you will need to provide a police report documenting the theft so that lenders can remove the fraudulent loans from your account. (See also: 9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen)
2. Contact the lender
If someone has taken out a loan or opened a credit card on your behalf, contact the lender or credit card company directly to inform them of the fraudulent account and have it removed from your credit report. With credit cards and even personal loans, the problem can usually be resolved quickly.
When it comes to student loans, identity theft can have enormous consequences for the victim. Failure to pay a student loan could result in a wage garnishment, suspended license, or government confiscation of your tax refund. Therefore, it is important that you stop fraudulent activity on the passport and redeem the loans quickly.
Generally, you’ll need to contact the lender who issued the student loan and provide them with a police report. The lender will also ask you to fill out an identity theft report. You are not responsible for any payments while your application for discharge is being reviewed.
If you have private student loans, the process is similar. Each lender has their own procedure for handling student loan identity theft. However, usually you will be asked to provide a police report for evidence and the lender will conduct an investigation.
3. If necessary, notify the school
If someone took out student loans on your behalf, contact the school that the thief took out the loan with. Call financial assistance or the registry office and explain that a student has taken out loans on your behalf. They can flag the account in their system and prevent anyone from borrowing with your information. (See Also: How To Protect Your Child From Identity Theft)
4. Deny the mistakes with the credit bureaus
If you find evidence of fraudulent activity, you must use each of the three credit bureaus to dispute the errors: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You should approach each one and provide evidence such as: B. Your police report or a letter from the lender confirming identity theft has occurred. Once the credit bureau has this information, they can remove the accounts from your credit history.
If your credit score got hit due to thieves defaulting on your credit, removing those credits could help improve your credit score. It may take weeks or even months for your score to fully recover, but it will eventually return to its previous level. (See also: Don’t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Is Stolen.)
5. Place a fraud notice or freeze your credit report
Once you find out that you are the victim of a fraudulent loan, put a fraud notice on your credit report with one of the three credit reporting agencies. You can do this online:
If you place a fraud notification on your account, potential creditors or lenders will receive a notification when they are managing your funds. The warning prompts them to take additional steps to verify your identity before granting any loan or form of credit on your behalf. (See Also: How To Get A Free Fraud Alert For Your Credit Report)
In some cases it can be a good idea to freeze your balance. If you are on a loan freeze, creditors will only be able to view your credit report or issue you a new loan if you remove the loan freeze.
6. Check your credit report regularly
Finally, check your credit report regularly to make sure no new accounts are opened on your behalf. You can request a free report from any of the three credit bureaus once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can reschedule reports to report every four months to keep track of account activity year round. (See also: Reading a Credit Report)
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