Since its implementation, credit controls a significant portion of everyday life. From housing opportunities to whether or not you can open a new credit card, ensuring you have a good financial history is essential. Despite working hard to guarantee security, scams and fraud can impact the rest of your life. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or credit errors, understanding the differences can help you determine how to proceed. The following blog explores how they differ and how an Arroyo Grande consumer lawyer can help you protect your finances from unfair and fraudulent practices.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a common and unfortunate occurrence in which someone steals your personal information to make purchases, open accounts, and commit general fraud.
Generally, the information necessary to commit identity fraud is stolen in data breaches, in which a company’s database is hacked, and the offenders steal the details of those with accounts. However, identity theft can also occur from unsecured browsing, phishing scams, and physical information theft like a social security card or cellphone.
For example, your social security number, date of birth, and credit card information can all fall into the hands of thieves looking to use your information for personal gain. Unfortunately, you may not be aware of this occurrence until it has already impacted your credit score.
If a thief opens up a credit card in your name and makes an expensive purchase, you will not know that the missed payments are accruing. Unfortunately, this can significantly impact your credit score without knowing this account exists.
How Does This Differ From Credit Errors?
Credit errors, on the other hand, are mistakes on your credit report. Though not as severe as identity theft, you should still remedy them as soon as possible. In many instances, this is an easy fix and within your rights as a consumer.
Typical examples of credit errors include the following:
- Misspelling of a name
- A typo in your social security number
- The inclusion of an account that was never opened or you recently closed
- The report features a missing payment that was made
In general, these can be easy to fix so long as you have proof that the information on the report was an error.
If you are unsure whether or not your credit report features a credit error or you’re the victim of identity theft, you’ll need to examine your credit report closely. If there is only one incorrect or strange error, it is likely that it was simply just a typo and not identity theft, and you should contact the bureau to resolve the issue. However, if you continue to monitor your report and see more inconsistencies accrue, you’ll want to report and freeze your accounts to protect your credit score.
When you are experiencing issues with your credit score, whether you’re the victim of identity theft or a credit agency ignores your request to remedy an error, you must contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Loker Law, our dedicated legal team can help you get your credit back on track. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.