In the state of New York, identity theft is a criminal offense. For victims, identity theft not only harms their financial wellbeing. It can also negatively affect their credit. If identity theft occurs, there are several steps you may take to protect your credit.
After identity theft, there are 5 things to do to improve poor credit:
- File a police report. Identity theft is a crime, and should be reported to the police as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, victims may be able to obtain a copy of the police report to use as evidence for their situation. Victims may also call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and fill out an online ID theft complaint and affidavit form. These records serve as identity theft reports, and can provide helpful evidence when trying to work with credit bureaus later on.
- Communicate with lenders. It is important for victims of identity theft to call their lenders as soon as possible. Some credit card companies may refund fraudulent transactions, as well as provide a letter outlining the situation to credit bureaus. Communicating with lenders (including banks and credit card agencies) as soon as possible can help ensure you don’t have to pay back all the money from fraudulent purchases on your account. It is also important to communicate throughout the process to keep the lenders informed of the situation.
- Contact credit bureaus. Victims should obtain copies of their credit reports to understand how the identity theft specifically hurt their credit. They should review and highlight the accounts affected by the identity theft, and provide a copy of the report to a credit bureau, such as TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. Victims may also send a copy of the police report, as well as a letter from the lending agency, to the credit bureau to provide additional evidence of the identity theft. Once the claim has been examined and verified, the credit bureau will remove the negative items from the credit report and notify other bureaus as well.
- Follow up with credit agencies. It is important to send a copy of the ID theft report to the credit reporting agencies, credit bureaus, and lenders on the affected accounts via certified mail. Although there is a strong inclination to send this information online, doing so can weaken the credit reporting agencies responsibility to adequately reinvestigate your problem.
Furthermore, victims should notify the Social Security Administration, change their account passwords, and apply for a new driver’s license. By keeping written records of police reports, credit report letters, and conversations with credit agencies throughout the process, victims of identity theft can help ensure fraudulent records do not reappear on their accounts later on. It is also a good idea to regularly communicate with credit bureaus, the police, and lenders for at least the first 3 months to ensure the credit report remains accurate. Any signs of false or fraudulent activity should be reported immediately, and following up regularly after the credit has been restored is essential.
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The Law Office of Abel L. Pierre, Attorney at Law, P.C. tenaciously represents victims of identity theft. If your identity has been stolen, and it has negatively impacted your credit, our firm can help. We can guide you through the process of restoring your credit, help you file the necessary paperwork, and work to ensure all the details are examined. With a commitment to meeting clients’ legal needs, our New York City debt collection defense attorney can provide thorough, informative legal services.
Contact our dedicated advocate today to discuss your case.