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Identity theft has many different faces. From credit cards to student loans, thieves can open various forms of credit on your behalf, destroying your credit history and financial standing.
If this happens to you, it can be difficult and time consuming to correct the situation. But you can put things right.
When someone has taken out a loan on your behalf, it is important to take immediate action to avoid further credit damage. Follow these steps to keep yourself safe and get rid of the fraudulent accounts.
1. Report to the police
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 the lenders can remove the fraudulent loans from your account. (See also: 9 Signs That Your Identity Has Been 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 solved 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 salary garnishment, suspended license, or government confiscation of your tax refund.
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 complete an identity theft report. You are not responsible for any payments while your request for discharge is being reviewed.
If you have private student loans, the process is similar. Each lender has their own process for dealing with student loan identity theft. However, you will usually be asked to provide a police report as evidence and the lender will conduct an investigation.
3. Notify the school if necessary
If someone took out a student loan on your behalf, contact the school where the thief took out the loan. Call financial assistance or the registry office and explain that a student has taken out loans on your behalf. You can mark the account in their system and prevent anyone from taking out further credit with your details. (See Also: How To Protect Your Child From Identity Theft)
4. Deny the errors with the credit bureaus
If you find evidence of fraudulent activity, you must dispute the errors with each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You should contact everyone and provide evidence such as: B. Your police report or a letter from the lender confirming the identity theft. Once the credit reporting agency has this information, they can remove the accounts from your credit history.
If your credit history has been compromised due to late payment by thieves, removing those credits can help improve your credit score. It may take weeks or even months for your score to fully recover, but it will eventually be brought back to previous levels. (See also: Don’t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Is Stolen)
5. Put a fraud warning or lock your credit report
As soon as you learn that you have been the victim of a fraudulent loan, place a fraud warning on your credit report with one of the three credit bureaus. You can do this online:
If you place a fraud warning on your account, it will alert potential creditors or lenders when they run out your loan. The warning prompts them to take additional steps to verify your identity before any loan or form of credit is extended on your behalf. (See Also: How To Get A Free Fraud Alert For Your Credit Report)
In some cases it can be useful to freeze your balance. If you have a credit lock, creditors won’t be able to see your credit report or issue you new credit unless you remove the lock.
6. Check your credit report regularly
Finally, check your credit report regularly to make sure no new accounts are opened on your behalf. Once a year, you can request a free report from any of the three credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can stagger the reports so that you run one every four months to keep track of account activity throughout the year. (See also: How to Read a Credit Report)
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