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Protecting your credit from fraud

Unfortunately today identity theft is on the rise. Here are some things you can do to safeguard your credit:

  • Burn or shred any paperwork containing personal information including, pay stubs, credit card receipts, bank statements, utility bill stubs, ATM receipts, old tax returns, and anything containing your Social Security Number.
  • Order a copy of your credit report at least once a year and review it to be sure that all information is correct.
  • Secure important documents in lockable file cabinets or safety deposit boxes.

Your credit record and inaccuracies
When you apply for credit, lenders review your outstanding debts, your bill paying history, the current number of your creditors and the outstanding balances. If your credit report shows patterns of late payment, overextended credit, liens and garnishments, foreclosure and/or bankruptcy, your chances of being turned down increase.

But your credit report shouldn't always be taken at face value. Credit bureaus record billions of transactions - including yours - every day. Given that huge volume, it's not surprising that reporting errors can happen. That's why the accuracy of your credit report depends so much on you. If a credit bureau reports unfavorable information about you and you can show that the information is inaccurate, the bureau is obliged to remove it from your file. At the same time, you can also request that the bureau send notification of the correction to all the creditors.

Check it often and make corrections
Your credit report tells mortgage brokers / lenders a great deal about you. You can make your loan process go much faster by obtaining your credit report ahead of time. Once you have obtained a copy of your report from all three major credit bureaus you should provide each of the bureaus with a written request to investigate the status and correct any outdated, inaccurate or ambiguous information.

Each inaccuracy is a separate issue
When you attempt to have the credit reporting agency correct several items (or even all items) at once, the agency may claim that your request is frivolous. It is also a good idea to write to the creditor reporting the inaccurate information, include copies of any "proving" paperwork. It is very important that each questionable item is dealt with individually. When disputing items on your credit report, make sure that you retain copies of your credit report and your dispute letter. Mail the letter as Certified, Registered, or Return-Receipt Requested, and retain a copy of the return receipt when you receive it.



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