The purpose of an alarm is simple. It serves to tell you and others around you of a problem. In most cases the alarm is simply the first step to further actions that are needed. Credit monitoring is no different, it’s your first line of defense to manage your credit score and react to unusual credit report activity.
Suspicious Information on Your Credit Report
Let’s say you look at your credit report and are not sure where a new credit card came from. You notice inquiries from companies with whom you never applied for credit. Unauthorized accounts or address changes could be one of the first signs that a I.D. thief is using your identity. If you find a credit card or loan that you don’t remember opening, call the creditor immediately to start an investigation. If it turns out to be a case of identity theft, take evasive steps to lock down your credit.
Credit Card Balances at their Credit Limit
High balances on credit cards are not uncommon, but that extra debt could bring your credit score down significantly. Reducing your balances to below 30% of your credit limit can help you keep your credit score at its peak.
Paying your credit card bills late not only can cost you extra fees and interest, it also may damage your credit score. If you have had trouble making your payments on time, evaluate what is causing the problem. You can ask your creditor to move your due date to a different time of the month or sign up for online bill payment services that can be programmed to remind you before the due date.
Inaccuracies on Your Credit Report
With almost 300 million people in the United States, a few mixed up records on your credit report can be expected from time to time. The Federal Trade Commission indicated that 1 in 5 people have inaccuracies on their credit report. Finding someone else’s credit data on your report is especially widespread for people with common or shared family names like “Joe Smith, Junior.”
If you find an inaccuracy on your credit report, consider the following steps
1. Creditor Dispute
The fastest way to fix an inaccuracy on your credit report is often by contacting the creditor that is reporting the information to the credit bureau. Most have internal processes that will quickly help you address the problem.
2. Credit Bureau Dispute
If the creditor is not able to address your concerns or you cannot contact them, then you should file a credit bureau dispute. You can dispute an inaccuracy by mail or online with the credit bureau directly.
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