Four Steps To Fixing Identity Theft Credit Report Errors
Four Steps To Fixing Identity Theft Credit Report Errors
Most of us will not be robbed, assaulted, etc. but ID theft is a greatly increasing crime.
So if you are a victim of ID theft, how do you fix your credit report errors?
There are 4 simple steps that will fix this virtually every single time:
- Fill out an ID theft affidavit
- Get a police report
- Dispute the false credit reporting information with the credit reporting agencies in writing
- Either it is fixed or you sue in federal court if your reports are not fixed.
Let’s look at each step in depth….
Fill out an ID theft affidavit
If you are a victim of identity theft, then you need to fill out the ID theft affidavit. This is a sworn statement, that you have notarized by a notary public, where are you state that you did not have anything to do with this debt.
Normally you also need to say that you’re willing to help prosecute if the authorities can find the criminal who committed the identity theft against you.
Sometimes we see folks that are unwilling to fill out this affidavit because the criminal is a family member.
My view is if you are not willing to prosecute, then you have no credibility in saying this is not your debt.
This leads to the next step which is to get a police report and attach it to the ID theft affidavit. . . .
Get a police report
You simply go down to your local police station and let the officer know that you’re a victim of identity theft. Make sure that you make it easy for the officer to know exactly what account is the bogus account so that the officer can put that in the report.
My suggestion is to not go when it is an incredibly busy at the local police station. Drop by and only go and if there is not a crisis occurring. As you might imagine, filling out police reports for ID theft is not at the top of the priority list.
Give as much information as you can — make it easy on the officer — but don’t guess. You may suspect it is your ex wife, but unless you have some evidence, my suggestion is don’t guess. Let the police do their job without just randomly naming folks.
This is the preparation work — now you need to get the false information off of your credit report . . . .
Dispute the false credit reporting information with the credit reporting agencies in writing
OK now is the time to prepare a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.
First, the concept. Then an example.
Conceptually, what you want to do is to send a letter by certified mail to these agencies. You want to identify who you are, and then identify the account that is a bogus account. Finally you ask the agency to delete the false account.
“Why send it certified?”
If you send it by regular mail it will go in the garbage unopened. You have no way to prove it made it to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
I also suggest sending a copy to the furnisher of the false information — i.e. the creditor or the debt collector who is sending the information to the credit reporting agencies.
“How do I identify myself?”
Put your name, DOB, social security, address, and phone number. Include a copy of your driver’s license and a recent copy of a utility or bank statement showing your name and address.
TransUnion and Equifax do not require all of the above. Instead they will actually investigate without the driver’s license and utility/bank statement.
But we suggest including it as Experian is a masterful deceptive company in my opinion. They will refuse to investigate and say you must include those items mentioned above.
Then when you include them, Experian will often send you the same form letter asking for what you just sent them.
Why do they do this? They know every time they illegally refuse to investigate, a large percentage of people will never follow up. So it saves Experian a ton of money.
Here’s how to change this arrogant attitude — do what we recently did: Sue Experian for this. They must investigate. When they don’t, then that is the same as keeping the bogus account on your credit report.
So sue them in federal court under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for money damages. This gets their attention. 🙂
And it may actually get them to not be so arrogant.
Anyway, send what you need to send to take away excuses so these agencies can identify you.
“How do I identify the bogus account?”
List any information about it. The name of the creditor, any account number, balance, when it was opened, etc. Take away any excuse from the agencies to pretend they don’t know which account you are talking about.
“What do I say to get the account deleted?”
You simply say “Please delete this account to make my credit report accurate.”
Dear Sir or Madam,
I fear I am a victim of ID theft as there is a bogus account on my credit report. It is the only Capital One account on my report — the last four digits of the account number appear to be 1234 but in any event it is the only Capital One account on my report. It also shows about a $4,567 balance.
This is not my account.
I’ve enclosed an ID theft affidavit and a police report so you know this is not my account. Investigate this please and delete it.
If you won’t delete it, please explain to me in writing why you won’t delete it. Don’t send me a form letter — send me an actual letter from a human being explaining this to me.
But I’m confident you will delete it and thank you in advance for deleting it.
My contact and identifying information is below so you know who I am. Thanks for handling this.
Enclosures [list them]
Keep a signed copy and then attach your green cards when you get those back.
Either it is fixed or you sue in federal court if your reports are not fixed
In about 30 days you’ll get an answer from each credit reporting agency. There are only two possibilities:
The bogus account is deleted. Congrats! You fixed your report.
The bogus account will stay on your account. You can either do nothing, dispute it again, or sue in federal court.
My experience is if you want it fixed, sue in federal court. When these guys (reporting agencies, credit card companies, etc) have to pay money, then they get serious about fixing your credit reports.
If we can help you and you live in Alabama, give us a call at 205-879-2447 or fill out our contact form and we’ll be glad to get back with you right away.
Best wishes and thanks for reading — feel free to share this article or comment below. Thanks!