Guide 2 Identity Theft - How To Protect Yourself
Guide 2 Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft
How It Happens
Types of Identity Theft
Commercial Identity Theft
Watch Out For
Credit Card Risks
Debit & ATM Cards
Spoofs & Phishing
Unsolicited Card Offers
Credit Reporting Agencies
If Your Identity Is Stolen
Guide 2 Identity Theft > Credit Reporting Agencies
Credit Reporting Agencies
Credit reporting agencies hold a personal credit file about you – and you have the right to see it. In some places, this service is available for free, although in others there may be a small administrative fee.
It is a good idea to check your credit file occasionally, especially if you think that you may be exposed to the risk of identity theft. One especially vulnerable time is when you have moved house and your mail deliveries may have gone astray. Accordingly, a check of your file a few months after the date of your move is strongly recommended.
Check your file for activity involving companies with which you know you have had no contact, or for other transactions that you do not recognise. This could indicate that your identity is being misused by someone, especially if you have other indications from elsewhere that something unusual is happening in your affairs – for example, if you received a bill for something that you did not buy.
If you have reason to think your credit standing may have been threatened by identity theft, you should advise the credit reporting agencies that you may have been the victim of identity theft fraud. You will probably be asked to give your reasons for thinking that, to help with their investigation. You may also receive guidance on what steps you should take given the nature of the suspected theft.
In the USA, you should issue a fraud alert to the three main credit-reporting agencies – the first one you call will probably undertake to issue it on to the others if you ask:-
In the UK, if you suspect your identity is being misused you can also lodge an alert with http://www.cifas.org.uk, which advises its members to take special care about confirming the identification of the applicant – including you – if your identity is used to obtain credit, open a bank account, apply for state services, etc.
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