Brian found himself in a troubling situation with Comcast. He was setting up service at his mother’s home, about thirty miles from, his home where he already had Comcast service. Comcast’s systems apparently aren’t set up to handle one person with separate accounts in different regions. A customer service rep told Brian that he would not be checking his credit report in order to set up the new service: then ran right up against the freeze Brian had put on his credit report in order to prevent unauthorized access. From, say, Comcast.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), a military payroll facility in Ohio, has told at least 62 of its employees that they will be terminated for having bad credit, reports WKYC. Troy Marshall, a 17-year veteran at the DFAS and one of the people being fired (incidentally, he’s also the president of a union that expanded jobs at the DFAS five years ago), told WKYC that he handles Social Security numbers and maiden names, but nothing else. “We are people. We are not just numbers. We are not just credit reports… Look at the whole person.”
Sean has a warning for Consumerist readers with Bank of America credit cards. At the beginning of December, he tells us that he called the bank about a billing issue, which earned him an account review and a drastic reduction in his credit limit.
It might be tempting to open a store-only credit card, especially when you’re about to make a big purchase and retailers offer big discounts to open an account on the spot. The problem is, that card you may only use a few times per year might hurt your credit score enough to outweigh a 15% discount on a new suit. These problems will persist even if retailers are forced to verify customers’ income before issuing them cards.
Did you know that when a company checks out your credit report, it can damage your credit score temporarily? It depends on if the inquiry is “hard” or “soft.” Hard inquiries ding your score, soft don’t. If you’re going to get a mortgage or a car loan, a few points difference translates into a big chunk of change. So how do you know when an inquiry is going to be “soft” or “hard?”
SmartMoney has a feature this week about Susan Blue Hitt, an Austin-based math nerd who loves football, flies planes, and is responsible for the revised FICO scoring model “that will change the way credit scores are calculated, affecting interest rates for 160 million Americans” sometime next year.
We focus so much on identity theft and safeguards against it that it may seem like freezing your credit is the only solution in a world of identity thieves. That may or may not be an accurate assessment (ask me the next time my credit card is duped), but credit freezes aren’t for everyone. Consumerism Commentary offers a sort of beginner’s guide to the topic for readers who are trying to decide if it’s right for them.
Yesterday a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate that would “let victims of identity theft seek restitution for money and time they spent repairing their credit history,” as well as remove some existing barriers to prosecuting criminals.