Credit Reporting Agencies - Check Credit Report Identity Theft
You have the right to see your personal credit file held by credit reporting agencies. This service is free in
some places, and in others there may be a small administrative fee. It is a good idea to check this file
occasionally if you think you may be exposed to the risk of identity theft.
One particularly vulnerable time is when you have moved house and your mail deliveries may have gone astray.
Accordingly, a check of your credit file around three months after the date you move is strongly recommended.
Look for activity being reported on your file involving companies with which you know you have had no contact,
or other transactions that you do not recognise. This may indicate your identity is being misused by someone,
especially if you have other indications from elsewhere that something unusual is happening in your affairs.
Perhaps you received a bill for something you did not buy, for example.
If you have reason to think your credit standing may have been threatened by identity theft, you should advise
the credit reporting agencies that you may have been the victim of identity theft fraud. You may be asked to give
your reasons for thinking that to help with any investigation. You may receive further guidance on what steps you
should take given the nature of the suspected theft.
In the USA, you should issue a fraud alert to the three main credit-reporting agencies - the first one you call
will probably undertake to issue it on to the others if you ask:
In the UK the following are the equivalent contacts:
- Call Credit: 0870 060 1414; http://www.callcredit.co.uk;
Consumer Services, Callcredit Limited, PO Box 491, Leeds, LS3 1WZ
- Equifax: 0870 010 2091; http://www.equifax.co.uk; Equifax Plc,
Capital House, 25 Chapel Street, London, NW1 5DS
- Experian: 0800 656 9000; http://www.experian.co.uk; Experian Ltd,
PO Box 7710, Nottingham, NG80 7WE
A fraud alert ensures that credit and identification checks are made more thoroughly, which may be an
inconvenience to you, but which reduce the risk of your identity being successfully stolen.
In the UK, if you suspect your identity is being misused you can also lodge an alert with http://www.cifas.org.uk, which advises it's members to take special care about
confirming the identification of the applicant - including you - if your identity is used to obtain credit, open a
bank account, apply for state services, etc.
Other countries will have similar organizations.