Brian had been very vigilant about protecting his stellar credit rating. He froze his credit report with the three credit agencies. When he purchased a new house, he unfroze his credit long enough until his lender had completed the mortgage. Then refroze his credit reports with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. He made sure that no one opened an unauthorized loan in his name.
Then this happened.
Brian was wanting to refinance his mortgage since mortgage rates had dropped to historic lows. He called his mortgage lender and unfroze his credit reports with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion so his loan officer could run his credit report. His mortgage lender ran his credit and was stunned what he saw on Brian’s report. His credit scores had dropped from the 790 range to below 700. He looked further and discovered his report showed that he owed a bill for over $2,000 that was past due.
The loan officer called Brian and told him there was a new unpaid debt on his credit report. Brian was totally surprised. He called the lender’s number on the credit report and discovered someone had opened a wireless account in his name and did not pay the bill. It went past due and eventually was reported to his credit report.
Brian had to go through the disputing process with each of the three bureaus and contacted the company that was reporting the debt. Someone in Texas had stolen his identity. He got a police report and submitted a copy of his driver’s license to the phone company and to the three credit bureaus. The process took almost 45 days before things were removed from his credit report.
The problem Brian now has that no credit freeze cannot prevent, someone has his identity and can use it elsewhere. Credit freezes do not totally prevent someone from opening a loan in his – or in your -- name. It can deter, but it will not totally prevent someone from opening an account with your identification.
Not all lenders or creditors will not pull a credit report before they open an account. For this purpose – as happen to Brian – it is imperative to maintain a stellar credit rating that you periodically monitor your credit reports. The process requires that you obtain a copy of your credit report at least annually, and sometimes even more often.
Nothing can totally prevent identity theft – not freezes, or credit monitoring. You must be vigilant to protect your credit rating. Otherwise, what happened to Brian can happen to you!