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Dealing with Credit Problems that You Didn't Cause

[Apr 16, 2008.]


While there are a lot credit troubles that can stem from excessive spending and misuse of your finances, there are other credit troubles that might not be your fault. For example, those dealing with fraud and identity theft may find themselves shackled with debts that they didn't cause, but soiling their credit report in the process.

Here's what you need to do to rebuild your credit in these kinds of situations:

  • Check your credit card statements carefully – By taking the time to look at your credit card statements as well as get an annual credit rating report, you will be able to spot any transactions that you didn't authorize and then report them and dispute them. You will want to get into the habit of this each month, either via online statements or from the paper statements.

  • Keep records of the suspicious transactions – When you begin to notice streams of unauthorized transactions, you need to begin to keep records. Keep copies of the statements with these charges highlighted as well as copies of any other paperwork that might have come along with the charges.

  • Put a fraud alert on your credit report – Call Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to let them know that your account may have been compromised. This will allow these agencies to alert any retailers in future transactions that might occur unlawfully.

  • Cancel your credit cards – You will want to cancel your credit cards to make sure that no further charges are made on your accounts. This is a simple thing to do and really stops damage to a credit score when you realize that your account has been compromised.

  • Talk to the credit card company immediately – As soon as you see anything that you didn't authorize on your credit card statement, call your credit card company as well as the number listed with the charge itself, if there is one. You will want to tell them that you did not authorize that charge and that you will not be paying for that item. Make a note of who you talked to and whatever steps you need to take at that point as well as what the customer service representative told you they would do.

  • Keep records of those that you talk with – Write down the date, the time, and what the peoples you've talked to have said and discussed with you. This will enable you to reiterate the things that you've already confirmed with others in order to keep moving forward in the process.

  • Check and double check – Be sure that you check and re-check with the credit reporting agencies to see that unauthorized charges and poor credit scores are being corrected.

While you will still need to go through some paperwork in order to continuously remind them that these errors are not your fault. You will still need to keep up your good credit habits at the same time as these errors are corrected and your credit rating restored.

More Information:

  • Steps You Can Take Today to Start Rebuilding Your Credit
    While it can seem impossible to dig yourself out of financial trouble, the truth is that you didn't get here overnight. Your debt accumulated over years and years, most likely, so while the road to debt freedom may be long, it's not a road that will go on forever.

  • Rebuilding Your Credit On Your Own vs. Getting Help
    If you're struggling to pay off debts and boost your credit score, you're not alone. More Americans than ever are dealing with financial troubles that are not only causing their financial health to suffer, but also their emotional health.

  • Preventing Credit Damage
    While a lot of people focus on dealing with credit issues once they've become significant, the truth is that it's a lot easier to handle financial troubles before they even begin.

  • Creating Goals for Your Financial Success
    Going on a trip without a road map is the surest way to get lost, so why don't we apply the same logic to our financial goals? When it comes to rebuilding your credit, you need to have some sort of plan in place to help you get to where you want to go in terms of your credit score and overall debt balance.

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