Five Apps to Protect Your Identity This Holiday Season - Quicken Loans Zing BlogOur personal information is everywhere. We provide our phone numbers, addresses and email addresses to stores without a second thought about who could be listening. We receive credit card offers, shopping invoices and medical documents in the mail and sometimes throw them away without masking or destroying the precious data. We live in a digital world where we often list our contact information and location alongside our interests and vacation pictures.

There is nothing more violating than having your identity stolen. Identity theft costs money, tarnishes your reputation and puts a strain on your peace of mind. There are a plethora of tips on how to avoid identity theft, but what if it has already happened? What if your bank account contains unauthorized charges, withdrawals or even overdrafts? The road to financial recovery can be a rough one, but the sooner you act, the better. Here are some useful tips for mitigating the damages of a stolen identity.

Report Lost Credit, Debit or ATM Cards Immediately

If you have lost or misplaced a card, close or freeze the associated account. This step can help you both avoid identity theft and put a stop to occurring or future damage. Next, gather your credit and debit statements and search through the transactions with a fine-tooth comb. Verify that the transactions are indeed yours. If they are not, report the unauthorized charges to the card issuer. The Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act protect you from unauthorized charges if you act quickly. You are only liable for up to $50 per card if you report the loss within two business days.

Contact a Credit Reporting Company

Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert makes it very difficult for a thief to open more accounts under your name because it forces an extra identity verification before credit is issued. Placing a fraud alert is free, lasts 90 days and covers all three credit reporting agencies. It’s important to document everything at this point, including the people you’ve spoken with and the actions you’ve taken. This chronicled timeline of events will help in the process of repairing your credit.

Consider a Credit Freeze

Along with extending a fraud alert beyond 90 days, you can also place a freeze on your personal credit file. A credit freeze stops all new access to your credit report but does not necessarily prevent existing entities from accessing your information. If you need to allow future access to your credit report, such as when you’re applying for a new job or obtaining a mortgage, you’ll have to manually lift the freeze. Unlike your first fraud alert, this process is not always free and requires a greater degree of maintenance.

Create an Identity Theft Report

Repairing the damages to your credit can be a long and arduous process. It involves disputing all of those bad transactions with credit reporting agencies and businesses you have accounts with. Take all of the information you’ve gathered over the process, including that timeline of events, and compile it into an Identity Theft Report. This report will help you remove fraudulent information from your credit file, stop the debt collection agencies from unfairly collecting from you, and facilitate access to all of your abused accounts.

The best combative strategy against identity theft is a good defensive strategy: Protect your identity like you would protect your reputation. Keep your information on a need-to-know basis, shred documents you don’t keep, and always be aware of your surroundings. For an in-depth guide on identity protection, check out Identity 101. And remember, take an active role in your financial wellbeing by checking your credit report at least once per year.

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. I want some amount for home loan pls some help for this matter,if you can give,s some help some help for loan amount ,pls contact me , my personal number is thanks,ok

    1. This is a public forum, so I’m removing your phone number. However, we can certainly help you look into your options. You can get started online with Rocket Mortgage or give us a call at (888) 980-6716 and speak with one of our Home Loan Experts. Thanks for reaching out!

    1. Hi Mary:

      Are you looking for a home loan? One of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to work with you at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

    1. Hi Sylvia:

      I’m sorry to hear about your identity theft issues. In addition to getting any money back that that you may need to recover, a big part of what you’ll be dealing with is the potential credit impact. This blog post talks about rebuilding your credit after being denied a mortgage, but a lot of the tips still apply. You’ll have to be sure to contact Experian, Equifax and TransUnion about the removal of any fraudulent financial information showing up on your credit report. A good place to start would be to check out QLCredit because you can get your credit report and score for free without affecting your score. This will give you an insight into what’s on your credit report, but make sure to get the information from all three bureaus. If you see anything fraudulent, you can contact the bureaus to start the process of challenging it and having it removed. Hope this helps at least a little.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

    1. Hi Tammie:

      You’ve come to the right place. Before we can help you, we need to get your score up to at least 580 so you can qualify for an FHA loan. The great news is you’re really close. With that in mind, I’m going to suggest you do two things.

      If you visit QLCredit, you can get a look at your credit report and score for free without affecting your score. Even better, you can get personalized tips on how to improve your score based on the information in your credit report. I’m also going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts as they may be able to go over your situation and possible next steps in greater detail than I can here. You can get in touch with them by calling (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  2. You are right; we live in a digital world and we often share our photos, address etc. with many people but it is also important that a person should take preventive measures so that he/she would not fall a victim of identity thefts and if he/she is a victim of these threats, then he/she should take action about it.

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