The majority of adults in the U.S.—65 percent—have not reviewed their credit reports within the last 12 months, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. During Financial Literacy Month in April, Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to keep track of their credit reports to help prevent identity theft.
Using victims’ sensitive information, identity thieves apply for new credit cards and loans or open financial accounts.
“Fraud victims often don’t realize that their identities have been stolen until they are unexpectedly turned down for credit or contacted by collections agencies,” says Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “Use credit reports to detect unauthorized accounts.”
Credit Reports: Check free reports yearly at AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
Disputes: To contest fraud or errors, contact the credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian or TransUnion directly. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also accepts complaints.
Prevention: Reduce identity theft risks by securing sensitive paperwork and shredding unneeded financial documents, receipts and junk mail.