Experian, TransUnion and Equifax now offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.
Our credit card information was stolen when hackers broke into a major retailer's system. The fraud charges caused our credit card balance to go over the limit. Experian is now reporting that we were over the limit on our account. Why? It was clearly not our fault, but when our credit report is viewed, it reflects negatively on us.
If you haven't already done so, contact the credit card company and notify them that there are fraudulent charges appearing on your account. They will then let you know what, if anything, they need from you to begin a fraud investigation. In some cases, you may be asked to sign a fraud affidavit or provide a copy of a police report or identity theft report.
Once the lender's investigation is complete and they remove the fraudulent charges from the account, they should contact the credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) to request that the information in your credit reports be updated. The high balance information should be corrected, as well as any late payments associated with the fraudulent charges. Any reference to the account being over the limit should be removed.
Can I Dispute Fraudulent Charges With Experian?
In addition to contacting your lender, you may also dispute the information directly with Experian. You can request a dispute quickly and easily by using our online Dispute Center, or by calling the phone number listed on your credit report and speaking with a fraud representative.
If you choose to dispute the information online, you can also upload any documentation you have to support the dispute. When you submit your dispute, be sure to indicate that the high balance amount is because of fraudulent charges on your account. Experian will contact the creditor to notify them of your dispute and ask them to verify the information.
Should I Add a Fraud Alert to My Credit Report?
You may also consider adding an initial security alert, also called a fraud alert, to your credit report. An initial alert lasts for one year and notifies anyone accessing your credit report that your personal information may have been compromised and that someone may be trying to apply for credit in your name fraudulently. It asks potential lenders to contact you to verify your identity before approving credit.
Once the alert is added, Experian will automatically notify the other two credit reporting companies so they can add an alert to their files as well.
Check Your Credit Reports Often
Monitoring your credit reports frequently can help you detect fraud and identity theft sooner, which in turn helps to mitigate any damage to your credit history. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also request a free copy of your Experian credit scores and report any time on our website.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist