Let me guess.
You pulled your Equifax credit report and saw another person's account. Maybe it's someone else's and Equifax screwed up (read high settlement value) or maybe someone stole your identity. That stinks.
The problem is that it gets much worse from here.
If someone did steal your identity and knows how to open accounts, they will continue to do so until you have no more good credit. Years later when your credit starts to come back, so they will. They will hit you again with new accounts that you didn't open. Higher interest rates, lack of job opportunities, and denied credit will be in your future.
But, it gets worse. Let's say they also get a driver's license in your name. Now, they are hit someone or do something and give out your id. Guess who gets the police at their door? You.
Guess who gets hauled off to court in another state? You.
Guess who can spend time in jail trying to fix this? You.
If you find accounts that aren't yours on your credit report, you need to call a consumer protection credit attorney who knows what's going on. This article might be educational, but it is no substitute for legal advice.
This could be a mixed file where the blame is solely on Equifax.
This could be an identity theft case where the blame is one the person who did it, the creditor who failed to investigate your claim, and the credit agencies who don't listen and investigate.
In an identity theft case, you would generally see the bad account on all of your credit reports.
In a mixed file case, since it is a credit bureau, in this example Equifax, making the mistake, it can usually be found on just one but not in all occasions. If it is a mixed file situation, you should consider seeking legal advice immediately about filing a lawsuit against Equifax for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If it is an identity theft case, you should consider disputing the accounts by letter and including a police report or an identity theft affidavit. For example, here is a template for an Equifax dispute with instructions. If this fails to remove the accounts, you should strongly consider taking legal action. We can assist you on a contingency basis with no money down in suing Equifax for not removing identity theft accounts.
Basics of the Fair Credit Reporting Act:
The credit reporting agencies are required to keep accurate credit files. 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)
When a consumer disputes information with a credit reporting agency, the agency must “conduct a reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(1)(A).
The FCRA requires CRAs and entities that furnish information to CRAs (“furnishers” or “furnishers of information”) to investigate disputed information.
The furnisher of information must: (1) “conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information”; (2) “review all relevant information provided by the consumer reporting agency” in connection with the dispute; and (3) “report the results of the investigation to the credit reporting agency.” Id. § 1681s-2(b)(1)(A)–(C).
- More information on having the wrong social security numbers and accounts on your credit report.
- More information on suing Equifax for not removing identity theft accounts after telling them.
Having an issue on your credit report can really disrupt your life. Not being able to get the credit you deserve or the job that you want, is a nightmare.
Fighting credit bureaus and businesses that furnish information to the credit reporting agencies it's not an easy thing for consumers.
Many times their disputes are completely ignored and most of the time their disputes are not fully investigated. If you feel like you have properly notified these companies of an error or inaccuracy on your credit report but they didn't fix it, please contact my office today for a free 30-minute consultation.
We may find that you are entitled to compensation. We can help you come up with a game plan moving forward. To reach out there is a contact form in this page or you can contact me directly at 770-775-0938. Thank you.
I normally recommend against disputing Equifax accounts online because you do not get full proof of what you provided them. If you have already provided a police report or an identity theft affidavit to Equifax, and it was not corrected, I would highly consider taking legal action.
In circumstances like these, consumers like yourself are entitled to substantial compensation if the inaccurate credit reporting cause them damages and distress. If this is your situation please do not hesitate to contact my office to see what your rights are.
I can have a 30-minute consultation with you free of charge to see how we can help and if we are a good fit. If we determined that we want to move forward, we only charge clients when we when them compensation.
In summary, if you have disputed to Equifax and they refused to remove identity theft accounts, I would first consider whether you sent them a police report or an identity theft affidavit. If you have already made this determination, I would consider sending them nothing else.
If they refuse to fix the accounts after receiving your dispute and a copy of a police report or identity theft affidavit, I doubt that your problem will be corrected without an identity theft attorney. In circumstances like these consumers can be entitled to substantial compensation if they were damaged and caused distress by the inaccurate credit reporting of these bogus and fraudulent identity theft accounts.
After any dispute with Equifax or any of the other credit reporting agencies, you should always receive a verification back that a investigation was complete and the results of that investigation. If you do not receive one back that means that no investigation was likely done.
This is the exact reason why you want to always send your dispute Letters by certified mail return receipt so you have the little green slip to show that you did in fact dispute the inaccurate information. I know this sounds small and trivial, but having this will not only make you feel better it will solidify any claim you have in the future.
Identity theft accounts often will calls collection attempts to be made at you. Many times collectors will use robocalls to harass you on your home phone and cell phone.
Many of these calls will be illegal and quite valuable to you. For example, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act a collector that calls you using a robodialer may owe you $500 to $1,500 for each call.
If you are getting calls from a collector on an account that is not yours, make sure to save all voicemails and phone records that you have. These could be amazing proof that they were using a robodialer or calling you and making you listen to any type of pre-recorded messages.
Having inaccurate information on your credit report will destroy your credit scores. Not only will it destroy your credit scores but it will also cause you to have too many accounts on your credit report which may cause lenders to not want to lend you money and decline a loan for you.
Even if you were to get the loan, many times the interest rates you are given are extremely high and will cause you years of extra payments that were not necessary. Furthermore, in identity theft situations, many times the thieves will cause criminal violations and provide your information which will cause you tremendous legal headaches.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you must take immediate action or thing will continue to get worse.
Joseph McClelland is a husband and trial lawyer. Graduate of Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. He currently practices Fair Credit Reporting Act, Telephone Consumer Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act litigation. Recent $237,000 consumer victory. Earned the designation of Advocate by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.
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