Through December 31, 2023, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.
I am a victim of identity theft, and I have a false ID on my account. I need this removed as it has caused me to be declined for credit and also for an apartment. What can I do to remedy this?
Finding out that you're a victim of identity theft can feel overwhelming, and you may be wondering how you can protect yourself and have fraudulent information removed from your credit reports. Here are some steps you can take to begin repairing your credit and minimize the damage done by a fraudster.
Steps to Take if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
Anyone who finds they are the victim of identity theft should obtain their credit reports immediately to determine whether there are signs of fraud. In your case, you indicated there is incorrect personal identification information on your Experian report you believe is due to identity theft. You'll want to address that right away by contacting Experian to notify us of the fraudulent item. In addition, you'll want to:
- File a police report. If you have had your information stolen or an application for credit made in your name, contact your local police department and ask to file a police report to document the incident. You can also file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Add a fraud alert. You have the right to add a temporary security alert to your credit report and Experian will automatically notify the other credit reporting companies so that they can add an alert as well. An initial fraud alert lasts for one year and notifies lenders that someone may be trying to apply for credit using your information. It asks lenders to contact you and verify your identity before extending credit in your name.
- Request a credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies. If you haven't already done so, order your report from each credit reporting agency and review it carefully to make sure there are no other signs of fraud. You can get all three reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Dispute any fraud-related items. Once you have reviewed your credit reports thoroughly, contact each of the credit reporting companies to dispute any information you see on those reports that you believe may be related to fraud. You can dispute information with Experian quickly and easily online, by phone or by mail.
- Contact your lenders. Contact any lenders that are reporting the fraudulent information to Experian or the other credit reporting companies and notify them of the situation. They may ask you to complete a fraud affidavit and send them a copy of your police or identity theft report.
- Sign up for credit monitoring. Experian offers credit monitoring that can help you keep tabs on any suspicious activity and provide some peace of mind, including a free option that will notify you if a new inquiry or account is added to your credit file. This can enable you to act quickly if someone tries to use your information to obtain credit.
Finally, contact the apartment complex and the lender you applied for credit with. Let them know that there was information appearing on your credit report that was the result of identity theft, and that you've obtained a police or identity theft report and have begun an investigation. You may be able to provide copies of the documentation to them and ask that they reconsider your application.
Once the fraudulent information has been verified and deleted from your credit reports, you'll be able to receive an updated credit report for free from Experian so you can see that the information has been removed.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist
Learn More About Credit Card Fraud
- Steps to Take if You Are the Victim of Credit Card Fraud
If you’re a victim of credit card fraud, it’s important to act fast and notify your card issuer and a credit bureau to avoid lost money and damaged credit.
- How to Get the Best Credit Card Fraud Protection
Credit card fraud protection can save you from having to pay for unauthorized purchases on your credit card. Here's what you should know.
- What Is Credit Fraud?
Credit fraud is the use of victims' personal information and credit standing to borrow cash or buy goods or services on credit, without repaying the debt.
- The 10 Most Common Types of Fraud
Fraudsters are endlessly creative, so it’s smart to be super-skeptical, and to resist taking quick action. Hold on to your wallet.
- Does Credit Card Fraud Affect Your Credit?
Credit card fraud may affect your credit, but you can get unauthorized charges and accounts removed to avoid a permanent impact.