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Identity Theft on Credit Reports Busted

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, July 1st, 2010

75939668Not all credit reports are accurate. Many people claim are denied credit due to very low credit scores but these people have no idea where those 3 digit numbers came from. Many people also find credit card bills charged to their name although there weren’t a time that they even applied for a credit card. Worse a collection agent comes knocking on people’s door demanding for an overdue amount that is in reality has nothing to do with those people they are demanding from.

These situations root to one crime: Identity Theft. Identity Theft is defined as a form of fraud in which a person assumes another person’s identity in order to gain access to the former’s information and resources for purposes of stealing benefits, such as credit cards, under the innocent person’s name.

Identity Theft has been a growing concern in the credit industry. Many cardholders have lesser trust on what appears in their credit reports. These past years, FICO scores, the most used scores in America, has been accused as one of the culprits during the mortgage meltdown. FICO or Fair Isaac Corporation, FICO’s sole creator, denies this insisting that it has performed accurate and fair calculations to obtain those scores. The scores are the mortgage lenders basis for their loan approval decisions. And since those scores were believed to be unreliable by many, credit card reports shared the blame.

Privacy Rights Clearing House or PRC is a nonprofit consumer organization with a two-part mission — consumer information and consumer advocacy. It aims to promote privacy rights and increase consumer awareness of the problems and prevention methods related to Identity Theft.

PRC outlines ways on how to respond with identity theft. In their website, PRC advise victims to notify to the three credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – to discuss the problem and remedies with them. Victims should report the crime to their local police or sheriff’s department and the Federal Trade Commission right away. If the credit reports show that the imposter has opened new accounts in the victim’s name, the victim should contact the creditors immediately both by phone and mail. More detailed ways to regain financial help and prevent more credit injury are found in the organization’s website.

The internet has also opened solutions that are available to all card holders, non-card holders and banks to eradicate the effects of the crime. Identity Guard is one of the providers of internet theft solutions that provide quality programs to help victims repair the damage done to their credit report and financial situation. FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center allows victims or concerned citizens to report suspected cases of internet crime or fraud, including phishing.  

People are advised to check their credit reports regularly in quarterly basis. This should be done to prevent their credit history and scores from failing. Although there are many organizations and programs that will repair the damages done by identity theft, people should be well aware that prevention is better than cure.

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