What should I do if I've been a victim of student loan fraud?
If you discover that someone has opened a student loan account in your name fraudulently, contact the lender to notify them of the fraud. The sooner you notify the lender, the sooner they can begin the process of clearing your name.
Steps to Take If You Are a Victim of Fraud
It can feel overwhelming to discover that someone has stolen your identity or committed credit fraud against you. Luckily, there are steps you can take to recover:
- Contact the lender with whom the fraudulent account was opened. The lender will tell you what they need to conduct an investigation. Among other things, they may ask you to fill out and submit an affidavit stating that the account is the result of identity theft.
- Add a security alert to your credit file. Contact Experian and request that an initial security alert be added to your credit report. Experian will add the alert and notify the other two credit reporting companies so that they can add an alert as well. The initial alert will remain on your report for twelve months.
- Review your credit reports. As a victim of fraud, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. If you add the alert online, you can view your free report right away. Be sure to get your report from each of the three national credit reporting companies and review them carefully for any other signs of fraud.
- Dispute fraudulent information on your report. Contact Experian to dispute any information in your report that you feel may be the result of fraud.
- File a police report. If you haven't already done so, contact your local police department to file a police report or identity theft report. Provide as detailed information as possible on the report and send a copy to Experian. An officer may help you complete the form. The lender with whom the fraudulent account was opened may request a copy of the report as well.
Protecting Yourself from Future Identity Theft
Going forward, you should continue to monitor your credit report for additional signs of fraud. In addition to the initial security alert, which lasts for one 12 months, you also have the option of adding an extended security alert that remains for seven years.
Depending on your situation, you may also consider freezing your credit file. Learn more about the difference between a security alert and a security freeze on our blog.
Thanks for asking,
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist
This question came from a recent Periscope session we hosted.