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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?

 

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