How to Handle a Suspicious Request on Your Credit Report

Let’s say you’re looking at your credit reports and you come across an unfamiliar loan request. An unfamiliar request does not necessarily mean it is unauthorized, but it is worth paying attention to. Here’s what you can do.

Determine the type of request

A request is a record of checking your credit information. If you see an unfamiliar request, first check whether it is a hard or soft request.

  • Soft requests are sent when a loan decision is not being considered. Soft inquiries are common and are usually done by companies promoting loan offers, lenders reviewing existing accounts, consumers accessing their own credit reports, and insurers. It can be helpful to know who is carefully managing your credit history, but this does not affect your creditworthiness in any way.
  • Serious inquiries arise from the fact that you are applying for a loan or other financial services such as a new credit card, refinanced mortgage or applying for a loan, and these usually have a small negative impact on your credit rating. Since they can damage your credit score, you need to keep an eye out for complex inquiries. If you haven’t applied for a loan or services recently, a serious request in your report from an unknown company is a red flag: someone may have used your identity to apply for a loan.

Contact the lender directly

If you would like to know more about the request, please contact the lender making the request directly (contact information will be on your report). Just talking about a suspicious item in a report can help you understand that you are actually authorizing the request. In addition, many lenders use third parties for credit checks, so you might not find out the names for what is otherwise a legitimate request.

During this call, take notes, including the name and contact information of the support representative you are talking to. If the lender is unable to verify the account or the request was made in error, ask them to send a letter directly to each credit reporting agency asking them to remove the request from your credit report.

If the request was made fraudulently, report it to the FTC.

If, after talking to your lender, you suspect identity theft, report the theft to the FTC , which can help you recover and protect your identity with a personal recovery plan.

Contact credit bureaus

Finally, in the event of fraud, you will also want to contact each of the three major credit bureaus:Experian , TransUnion, and Equifax .

Request notification of fraud , which prevents creditors of the need to take special care with your proof of identity before issuing new credit in your name. Fraud alerts will be in effect for a year and can be renewed and will not prevent you from applying for a new loan. When you send a fraud notice to one of the major credit bureaus, that bureau is required to notify the other two.

Or, for better protection, freeze your loan at all three bureaus so that no one opens a new loan in your name. This is a good option if you are not actively shopping for a credit card or loan. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score. Unlike fraud alerts, you will have to contact each credit bureau separately to authorize the loan freeze. You don’t have to be a victim of identity theft to request a fraud alert or credit freeze – you can do so anytime. To request free credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.

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