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Monday Mailbag 10/1/2018

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Question:
I received an alert stating that an account was created using my social security number. When I spoke to a rep @ Cap One, he told me to just keep an eye on my credit to make sure that nobody tries to apply for new things using my information. Should I be doing more?

Answer:
One thing that you could do to protect your identity and add another layer of security is initiating a fraud alert on your credit report. A Fraud Alert is a free service provided by the 3 credit reporting agencies which will warn you if anyone tries to access your credit file or open any accounts in your name.

What happens is, when you initiate the Fraud Alert, you input a phone number, then, if anyone tries applying for anything in your name, the creditor will call that phone number to confirm that it is really you who is applying for the loan.

If it’s really you who’s applying for the loan then you tell them that yes, you are applying and they will continue forward with the loan but, if it’s not, you tell them that you were not the person who applied and the creditor will not be given access to your credit reports. No inquiries will be added to your credit reports, no accounts will be opened in your name, the identity thief will be stopped dead in his tracks.

You can initiate a Fraud Alert via the following link: https://www.alerts.equifax.com

Once the alert is initiated with Equifax they will notify Experian and TransUnion themselves.

Question:
Do you know of any companies to pay a fee to instantly improve credit score overnight? I’ve heard of someone paying $600-$800 bucks for something like that….you know of anyone? I still want to use your services to remove the negative info but, I need to get my scores up 100 points right now.

Answer:
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a company that can improve your credit overnight, no matter how much you pay them. The FCRA, FDCPA, and FCBA laws allow the credit bureaus and furnishers 30-45 days to complete a dispute, 15 days to complete a method of verification request, 30 days for debt validation, etc…. There is absolutely no way to circumvent these laws, that is why you will never see a legitimate credit repair company advertising anything like that. Permanent positive results that increase your credit scores take a substantial amount of time and work. If you hear of a credit repair company advertising overnight results or something too good to be true… RUN.

Having said that, there are companies out there that sell trade-lines. Basically, they would add you as an authorized user to an old established credit card, something like a 15-year-old credit card with a perfect payment history, a high credit limit ($20,000+), and a very low credit utilization. Getting an account like that on your credit report can have a tremendous impact on your credit scores but, it typically takes 30-60 days to get the creditor to report the account on your credit file and the increase is temporary since the account will eventually be removed from your reports.

There are companies out there that do this but, we don’t really know of any reputable ones and have hears stories from clients where they have paid hundreds of dollars for a trade-line and it either never reported to their credit reports or reported and disappeared after a few weeks.

If you’re interested in permanently improving your credit scores, it will take time. You will need to pay your bills on time, pay down your credit cards or establish your credit, you will need to limit your inquiries and keep a good mix of credit, and you will need to work on removing your past derogatory information by leveraging all of the consumer protection laws including the aforementioned FCRA, FDCPA, and FCBA to name a few. Or you can hire a legitimate credit repair service to conduct the work on your behalf. And you can’t realistically expect to remove 7-10 years of bad credit from your credit reports overnight.

Are you ready to get started with your journey to a better credit score?

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award-winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Monday Mailbag 9/17/2018

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Q: I have a bankruptcy 7 that still shows up due to the date filled by the court, also my Identity has been stolen 3 times so not sure if that’s is part of the problem. My understanding any bankruptcy 7 that is investigated or reopen will cause whatever payment to be claimed and collected. It’s with my new name that this old bankruptcy case still shows up. I applied for an apartment and the credit check they did showed the Bankruptcy. I have talked to the social security office,  federal judge and also the I.R.S to prove who I am thus that the reason for my name change which I only have for 3 or 4 years.

A: Identity theft is a major issue but, initiating a fraud alert with the credit bureaus may be your best option to stop it from happening again. Basically, once initiated, no one will be able to access your credit or open any new accounts without your verbal authorization on the phone.

To take care of the previous identity theft issues you will need to get a police report and file an ID theft affidavit with the FTC, file a claim with the CFPB, as well as contact the credit bureaus.

You can do all of these things yourself or hire a company like ours to do these things on your behalf.

Regarding the chapter 7 Bankruptcy, if the condo account was included in the bankruptcy paperwork and discharged, the account should not report any balance, not report a payment history, and report a status of included in Bankruptcy.

If the credit bureaus are reporting something else, your bankruptcy documents which state that the account was in fact included in the Bankruptcy should do the trick to updating the trade-line.

Investigating a Bankruptcy or account included in Bankruptcy will not reopen it. If the account was discharged in the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and not reaffirmed, the debt is not collectible and should report as stated above.

Finally, the credit reporting agencies use 4 identifying data points to verify whether an account belongs to you or not. These are; name, address, date of birth and social security number. Even if you changed your name, if any 2 of the data points in the Bankruptcy public record match your information, the entire account will report to your credit report.

Changing your name does not create a new credit file, the credit reporting agencies just add the new name as an alias in your credit report. Changing your name does NOT protect you from identity theft, you need to initiate a fraud alert to protect yourself.

Q: Is it easier to sign up online or call a Rep and get set up? & will I get information to follow how everything is going and what is being worked on?

A: Either option is pretty easy. Signing up online is probably a little faster, it takes about a minute to complete the enrollment form as opposed to calling and giving the same information to a credit consultant over the phone.

As far as tracking progress, once we process your file and start contacting the credit bureaus we will email you the username and password to our website so you can log in and keep track of your case in our client portal.

You’ll be able to see all of the work being done on your case, when the letters were mailed out, who they were mailed out to, when to expect the responses/results back, what accounts have been deleted, and what is still remaining on your credit reports.

Are you ready to get started with your journey to a better credit score?

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award-winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

How To Protect Yourself After The Equifax Hack

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

steps to protect yourself after equifax breach

A few days into learning that Equifax has been hacked the dust has settled and the shock of the largest security breach in modern financial history has become a part of our everyday lives – what do you do now?

Hacks like this are occurring more and more often and unfortunately, becoming a part of everyday life in the 21st century. Recent hacks include Yahoo, the IRS, the DNC, Snapchat, Netflix, US Dept. of Vet Affairs, Home Depot, T-Mobile/Experian, UPS, Twitter, Evernote, AOL, AMG, Citi, Zappos, Red Cross, Quest Diagnostics, Banner Health, British Airways, Linkedin, the list goes on and on and on.

You can view an interactive infographic of the worlds largest data breaches here.

You can no longer depend on others to protect your private and personal financial information, at this point we must all assume that criminals have access to all of our names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, drivers license numbers, etc…, pretty much everything. Knowing all of this, it’s up to each of us to be diligent in protecting our own identities and the identities of our families.

So how do you protect yourself and your credit?

It’s time to get proactive about protecting your identity and your credit. Follow the following steps to protect yourself from the current Equifax data breach as well as inevitable future hacks.

1. Find Out If You’re Affected

Equifax has created a website dedicated to information about the hack. You can view if your information was impacted by the hack via the following link:
https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

Click “Check Potential Impact” and enter your information on the following page.
If your information was compromised you will be given the following message;
Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.

You will then be given instructions on enrolling in TrustedID Premier for 1 year at no charge with no credit card required.

NOTE: You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.

TrustedID Premier includes:

3-Bureau Credit File Monitoring
– Credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files.

Equifax Credit Report Lock
– Allows you to prevent access to your Equifax credit report by third parties, with certain exceptions.

Social Security Number Scanning
– Searches suspicious web sites for your Social Security number.

Equifax Credit Report
– A copy of your Equifax Credit Report.

$1MM Identity Theft Insurance
– Up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. Helps pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses in the event you are a victim of identity theft.

NOTE: There was some confusion whether signing up for the credit monitoring service meant that consumers signed away their right to sue Equifax via an arbitration clause.

On 9/11/2017, Equifax posted an update on their website, which included the following: “We’ve added an FAQ to our website to confirm that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights to take legal action. We removed that language from the Terms of Use on the website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The Terms of Use on www.equifax.com do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident.”

2. File a Fraud Alert

A fraud alert is an instrument given to you by the 3 credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which notifies lenders and creditors who pull your report to take additional steps to verify your identification before extending credit.

A fraud alert only allows creditors to gain access to your credit reports if they verify your identity. For example, if someone applies for an auto loan in your name and you have a fraud alert active on your credit file, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person applying for the loan before accessing your credit reports. If you do not verify that you are the person applying for credit or simply do not pick up the phone, the business will not be given access to your credit report and loan will not be made.

According to the FCRA, consumers may initiate a Fraud Alert with any of the 3 credit bureaus for free at any time. You do not need to contact each of the 3 bureaus to initiate the fraud alert, by law, once one credit bureau is notified of your request for a fraud alert, they will contact the remaining 2 credit bureaus to initiate a fraud alert with them as well.

There are 3 different Fraud Alerts

1. Initial Fraud Alert
This fraud alert is available for everyone at any time and lasts for a period of 90 days.

2. Extended Fraud Alert
This fraud alert is only available to actual victims of Identity theft or fraud. You will have to forward a copy of an Identity Theft Report to initiate this alert. This fraud alert entitles you to 2 free credit reports from each of the credit bureaus within the first 2 months of initiating the alert as well as another free report within the next 12 months. This fraud alert lasts for a period of 90 days.

3. Active Duty Military Alert
This fraud alert is available to service members on active duty and lasts for a peiod of 1 year.

We suggest that everyone activate an initial fraud alert on their credit to add an extra layer of protection from identity theft.

You may initiate the fraud alert online, by mail or by phone via the following info;

TransUnion:
1-800-680-7289
https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Equifax:
1-800-525-6285
https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian:
1-888-EXPERIAN(397-3742)
https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

Please Note that you can request that a Fraud Alert be removed at any time.

3. Review Your Credit Reports

Get your free credit reports from all 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) at www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you have the reports, review them and look for anything out of the ordinary like suspicious addresses, phone numbers, and account information. If you notice any suspicious activity on your credit reports make sure that you contact the credit bureaus, the creditor reporting the information, the FTC, the CFPB, and if necessary your local law enforcement. If you need help dealing with identity theft on your credit reports contact CreditFirm.Net at 800-750-1416 for help.

4. File Your Taxes Early

The Equifax data breach gave hackers access to your personal data including your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, social, and other financial information which, in the wrong hands, can be used by criminals to file your taxes and steal your refund. Don’t wait till the last minute, file your taxes as early as possible to safeguard your refund.

5. Be Weary of Scam Phone Calls

Now that your social security number may be compromised and in the wrong hands, be weary of calls from collection agencies or even people claiming to be from the IRS demanding payment on a debt. They may threaten you with lawsuits and jail time and even have your personal info like your social and date of birth to confirm your identity but, the law is on your side. If you receive calls from anyone claiming that you owe them money, whether it’s the IRS, Collection Agency, or Law Firm, you can simply demand that the person stop calling you and forward any future communications to you via standard mail in accordance with the FDCPA. If you receive a document in the mail from a collection agency requesting payment on a debt, consider requesting Debt Validation from the collection agency – which forces the agency to provide copies of documents which you signed with the original creditor corroborating their story and proving your liability in the debt. If you are receiving calls or mail from companies demanding payment on debt that you’re not sure about, contact CreditFirm.Net at 800-750-1416 for help.

6. Check in With Your Local DMV

Part of the security breach at Equifax included access to data such as your drivers license numbers. Although less common than typical identity theft that involves accounts being opened in consumers names, some criminals may attempt to create fake drivers licenses with your information and numbers which may lead to parking tickets, moving violations and in some cases even arrest warrants. Check in with your local Department of Motor Vehicles or Secretary of State office every once in a while and request a copy of your driving record.

Be Proactive About Protecting Your Credit

Stay on top of your credit and personal information, make sure that you keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and if you have any questions or need help resolving an identity theft or credit issue you can call 800-750-1416 for help.

 

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Equifax Hacked: 143 Million Identities Stolen

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

equifax breach

Thursday September 7, 2017 – Equifax reveals that sometime between May and July of 2017, criminals hacked their system by exploiting a vulnerability in a website application to gain access to consumer credit information including;
– Names
– Birth Dates
– Social Security Numbers
– Addresses
– Drivers License Numbers
– Over 209,000 Credit Card Numbers
– Credit Dispute Documents for 182,000 Consumers

According to Equifax, this hack has affected as many as 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax, is working with Federal and State authorities as well as a leading private security firm on investigating the data breach but, in the meantime they are reaching out and contacting consumers who’s information was compromised via email.

The hack also exposed data of an unknown number of UK and Canadian consumers which makes this a global disaster for Equifax and every consumer affected.

On top of everything, according to the SEC, 3 Equifax executives, including Chief Financial Officer (CFO) John Gamble Jr., sold nearly $2 million in Equifax stock days after the data breach was discovered. The SEC declined to comment on the matter but, criminal charges may be pending.

You can find out if YOUR personal information was compromised by this hack at the following Equifax website: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

NOTE: This may be a great time to initiate a FREE fraud alert on your credit file to add an extra layer of security. And as always, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your credit reports. You can learn more about adding a Fraud Alert to your credit file at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert

In response, Equifax is offering every consumer in the U.S. FREE ID Theft Protection and FREE Credit Monitoring. Here’s a short message from Rick Smith, Chairman and CEO of Equifax.

UPDATE: Find out how to protect yourself and your credit after the Equifax data breach.

If your credit information was compromised and you’re dealing with Identity Theft, contact us at 800-750-1416 to find out how me can help you get your life back.

 

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

IRS Hacked

May 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

internal revenue service logo

Over 100,000 Tax Returns Breached

According to the Internal Revenue Service, hackers gained access to a secure system called “Get Transcript” and stole personal information such as social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, along with complete tax returns to over 100,000 individuals.

The data breach is being investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration as well as the IRS Criminal Investigation unit. In the mean time, the “Get Transcript” application has been shut down temporarily.

The IRS will provide free credit monitoring services for the approximately 100,000 taxpayers whose accounts were accessed.

If your one of the 100,000 individuals who’s personal-confidential information was accessed, the IRS will be notifying you of this by mail and giving you access to free credit monitoring.

You can read more about identity theft here, and the 4 critical steps to recovering your credit.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Statement-on-the-Get-Transcript-Application

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft and need professional help to recover, we’re here for you.

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

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