Everyone has heard the horror stories. The stories about individuals who credit score is ruined from errors and fraudulent activity that is posted on their credit report. Stolen identities, stolen credit card numbers, and stolen Social Security Numbers, can all be used to fraudulently apply for credit on your credit history. There are a few simple rules to keep in mind if ever you have fraudulent activity reported on your report.
Always remember to dispute the fraudulent activity on your credit report as soon as you find out about it. Waiting too long, can erode your rights to dispute the fraudulent activity on your report. Make sure to write to all three credit bureaus, when disputing fraudulent activities. Only disputing fraudulent activity with one credit bureau, will not erase the activity reported on the other two bureaus.
Make sure to ask for proper documentation from the financial institutions that are reporting the fraudulent activity. Many times individuals will dispute the activity, but forget to request documentation from the financial institutions reporting the activity. If you do not ask for the proper documentation, then you will not receive it. Typically, the fraudulent activity is some sort of mistake that can be cleared up upon inspection of the credit application and identifying information, given to the financial institution by the credit applicable. In many cases, the financial institutions may have wrongly reported someone else's credit activity on your report, simply by erroneously giving the wrong address, wrong name, or wrong Social Security Number to the credit bureaus.
Keep in mind, that if the financial institution does not provide the proper documentation to prove the debt is actually yours within thirty days, then by Federal law, the credit bureaus have to remove the disputed charges from your report. This is defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Do not be under the impression however, that after thirty days, the disputed charge will be removed. Although the credit bureaus are required by law, to remove the disputed charges from your report if the financial institution does not provide the appropriate documentation automatically, usually you have to write them again, after the thirty day period expires, to inform them of the failure by the creditor to provide the proper documentation. Persistence is the key.
It usually takes about average, about four to six months, to clear up fraudulent activity on one's credit report. Unfortunately, it is a very slow process. Also, be aware that the individuals who work at the credit bureaus, may not needarily be legally savvy. It is always a good idea, to provide the credit bureaus with copies of the relevant legal statutes, under which you are making the dispute of charges.
Do not get discouraged if at first the disputed charges are not removed in a timely manner. Remember that persistence is the key. Sooner or later, the financial institution will usually give in, and remove the disputed charges. They are not in business to fight with consumers over disputed charges on their credit report. They are in business to make money from interest charged on the borrower's debt.
Sometimes, the credit bureaus and the financial institution will refuse to remove the disputed charges. If this happens, then you have the right to place a comment along with disputed charges. You can say something like "Credit company refuses to remove fraudulent charges", or "Credit card was issued to someone else fraudulently, and charges are not mine." You may also want to consult an attorney, because you may have the right to sue the financial institution and the credit bureaus, to force them to remove the fraudulent activity on your report.
Always remember, that just because a fraudulent charge is shown on your credit report today, does not mean that it has to be there tomorrow.