One of the smart things to do when your identity has been stolen is to contact the three major credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — to discuss placing a temporary fraud alert and credit freeze on your accounts. But as one Consumerist reader found out, all it takes to remove those restrictions is the same information that any good ID thief already knows about you. [More]
It can take years, decades even, to repair one’s credit. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, despite promises of relief from companies offering their services for a price. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued one such company, Prime Marketing Holdings, for allegedly misleading consumers and charging illegal fees. [More]
It seems like every day, another retailer, service provider, or government agency falls victim to a data breach, and if a hacker uses that stolen info to open up a new line of credit in your name, you may not know until long after the fact. One lawmaker is hoping to curb identity theft by giving consumers a heads-up whenever their credit reports are accessed. [More]
Is a free credit score coming to a credit card statement near you? It is if major companies listen to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s call to ensure all Americans have free and easily accessible access to their credit scores. [More]
Despite proof that a person’s credit history isn’t an accurate predictor of their job performance, companies still do it. This is unfortunate for candidates whose recent payment history isn’t so great because they–I don’t know–need a better job, or don’t have one to begin with. The good news for job hunters is that the number of employers performing these checks is falling.
Right now, any medical debt that gets sent to a collections agency can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, even after it’s been paid off. This ding on your credit score can be the difference between qualifying for a loan or being denied. That’s why the House Committee on Financial Services is looking at a bill that would erase some paid medical debts from folks’ credit reports.
Gerard, now 26, has spent his entire adult life fighting with Capital One. No, we are not exaggerating: he got his first credit card with the company at age 18, and they have been causing him payment and credit-report headaches ever since.
Some experts claim that there’s no connection between poor credit history and poor job performance. That doesn’t stop employers from evaluating applicants based on their credit reports. The governor of Illinois signed a law this week prohibiting employers from hiring on the basis of credit checks…but there are some pretty big exceptions.
“An auto dealership checking a consumer’s credit through TransUnion is not required to have the individual’s social security number (SSN) in order to submit the request,” says Steven Katz, a TU spokesman. Does the dealer need your permission to do that? “The dealer does not need ‘permission’; rather, it needs only certify a permissible purpose (such as extension of credit),” says Katz. [Consumer Reports]
Does paying off and closing a credit card hurt your credit score? That’s a two-part question. The answer to the first one is no, it helps, and the answer to the second is yes, closing your credit card hurts your credit score. Credit bureau Exerpian’s “Ask Max” says,
Kristin and her husband say they’ve made all the payments on their Nissan Altima on time, but Nissan has nevertheless denied their payments and reported them delinquent to credit bureaus. Customer service won’t help, and they don’t know what to do. Their story:
When your credit score sustains a dent, make sure your car doesn’t. Because higher car insurance is just what you need when you’ve lost your job. Auto insurers use customers’ credit scores as part of the formula to determine premiums. Shop around—different companies assign different weights to credit score in their calculations. [MainStreet.com]
A study from Fair Isaac confirms that even the best borrowers are seeing their credit lines slashed as banks move to boost profitability during the recession. 16% of Americans have seen their credit lines reduced by an average of $2,200, and of them, 11% had no late payments or negative marks on their credit report.
You’ve probably seen those commercials featuring a friendly looking jackass and his factually inaccurate songs about what can happen to you if you don’t check your credit report. It’s true, checking your credit report is a good idea, but you can avoid subscription-hawking pay sites and, instead, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Having trouble finding the mailing address for any of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, Equifax? Here they are:
Freecreditreport.com is NOT actually free, nor is it related to Annualcreditreport.com, the free credit report that you are entitled to under federal law. So why are people still being tricked into signing up for a credit monitoring service in order to get something that they are entitled to under federal-freaking-law? Because the credit bureaus are linking them to the website and most consumers don’t believe that a major credit bureau would try to trick them. Always read the fine print!
A credit freeze is a tool to prevent ID theft for those people who believe that their information has been compromised. If an ID thief applies for credit and your report is frozen, the thief will be denied.