Q: How do you repair credit after identity theft?
Repairing credit following identity theft can be complex. Here are some important steps to follow in addition to hiring professional help.
- Notify creditors and banks as soon as possible. Many may provide protections that limit a person's liability, but the coverage works best when issues are reported right away.
- Report the issue to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Make a report to the local police to get an official report document.
- Request a credit freeze so the fraudsters can't get credit in the person's name in the future.
- Check credit reports and look for inaccurate information related to the fraud.
- Work with a credit repair company to dispute that information.
Q: Is credit repair legal?
A: Yes, credit repair is legal. In fact, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, people have a right to an accurate credit report. Companies that legitimately help achieve this are simply supporting those rights with experience and professional guidance. That being said, there are companies that run credit repair scams. Companies that ask for large payments up front or guarantee a clean credit report or improved credit score may not be legitimate. It's illegal for a credit repair company to make a guarantee.
Q: Can a credit repair company remove late payments?
A: Inaccurate reports about late payments are, in many cases, one of the easier things to get removed. An individual can send a letter to the credit bureau in question with a copy of a statement or canceled check showing that they made the payment on time. That may be enough for the item to be removed. If the payment was made on time but wasn't appropriately recorded by the creditor, you may need professional help from a credit repair expert to address the issue.
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