Fraud and identity theft, unfortunately, is prevalent in the world we live in. While taking steps to try and prevent it from happening to you is always a good idea, you should also be checking for signs of fraud and identity theft, just in case it’s already happened. The sooner you catch it the better chance you’ll have of stopping it before too much damage is done, and that could include damage to your credit, your financial situation, your reputation, etc.
One way to do this is to monitor your credit report. By visiting AnnualCreditReport.com, you are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the credit bureau’s, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If you space these out and check one every 4 months, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your report throughout the year to check for anything that you don’t recognize. This could include credit cards, loans, or credit inquiries that you didn’t apply for.
Not only is keeping an eye on your credit report a good tool for catching identity theft, but you may also find errors that you’ll want to get corrected. Errors could include a missed payment that you in fact paid or an account could be reported more than once. According to NerdWallet, 20% of Americans have an error on at least one credit report. Errors can affect your credit score and leave you having trouble when applying for any type of loan or credit card. The good news is, if you find an error you can dispute it, either online or in writing, but be sure to have documentation to prove that it is in fact an error.
To learn more about this topic, check out Nerd Wallet’s article “Error in Your Credit Report? Here’s How to Dispute It”.