How to Repair Your Credit after Identity Theft
Having your identity stolen can be devastating to your financial standing and future prospects. If you do become a victim of identity theft, it is important to act swiftly and effectively to rectify the issue.
Legally Repairing Your Credit From Identity Theft
Legally repairing your credit after being victimized will take time, but it can be done, and you can gain your life back. Credit repair consists of making sure that any negative items are removed from your credit file. By disputing these items and providing evidence to the credit bureaus and financial institutions, you can have these items removed from your records, thus improving your credit score and financial standing
The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to dispute all items that you feel are classified as unverifiable, misleading, or inaccurate on your credit report. The credit bureau will investigate your dispute; if they cannot verify the information within 30 days, they must remove them. Burden of proof is on their shoulders, not yours. Just like in court, you are innocent until proven guilty. The only ones guilty here are the identity thieves.
Dispute any and all items that you feel are related to the identity theft on your credit report. When their investigation has been completed, the reporting company should send you the results in writing, along with a free copy of your report showing any changes made. If something is changed or removed, the reporting company can never return it to your report, unless proof is provided that validates the accuracy of the charge. If you request it, the reporting agency has to send a notice to anyone who has received your report in the previous six months regarding the change. You can also have corrected copies sent to anyone that received your report in the previous two years in connection with employment.
Safeguards To Prevent Identity Theft From Happening Again
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your identity was stolen through the use of your information being circulated within criminal networks. This means that it can happen again and again. Awareness and monitoring your credit is the key. Start by ordering and reviewing your credit report every few months to check for signs of theft. While you are contacting the credit bureaus, request that fraud alerts be placed onto your account. As a victim of identity theft, they allow a longer period of time until the alert expires – it will last for seven years, with proper proof.
You should also think seriously about getting identity theft insurance or a credit monitoring service. Since someone out there already has all of your information, they could sell your information to other criminals or strike again at any time. There are several specialist services, such as Lifelock and Identity Guard, which will protect you against identity thieves. In fact, the founder of Lifelock is so confident in the services that he gives out his social security number to the public, and they also insure you up to $1,000,000 against any damages the ID thief inflicts on your financial records.
If you sign up with a credit monitoring service, you will not have to spend your time with the corrective steps of identity theft discussed earlier. A great service, such as Lifelock and Identity Guard, will take care of the hassle and clear your credit for you.
Monitoring your own credit is easily done by ordering and reordering your credit reports, but it could be compared to representing yourself in a court of law, when you are not an attorney. You can certainly represent yourself in a case, but you must decide whether your knowledge is up to par, and if you want to spend extensive amounts of time doing all the legwork. For a small yearly fee, you can have a professional look after everything for you.
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