Credit Bureaus, known as credit reporting agencies, are companies that collect, store and maintain information about you in order to produce a consumer credit report in the United States, there are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Review your credit report from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) carefully to review accounts and determine if there may be additional ID Theft or errors on your report. You may also want to order additional reports, as detailed in the sections outlined below.
If you confirmed fraudulent accounts that are not reflected on your credit reports with any of the credit bureaus, you may be a victim of Synthetic Identity Theft. Synthetic Identity Theft is usually caused by someone using your Social Security Number combined with a different name and address. Synthetic Identity Theft typically doesn’t affect your credit reports. This is because the fraudulent inquiries and accounts post to the fraudulent, or Synthetic, credit report. Since the Synthetic credit report does not belong to you, the credit bureaus do not share information about the Synthetic credit reports, or even if one is found. While it will not affect your legitimate credit report, a fraudulent one can be problematic for you. Your SSN won’t verify to your name in certain records databases, and minors/young adults may be denied credit entirely if the synthetic file was created before a legitimate file was established for them.
Carefully review your credit reports with all three credit bureaus. Any fraudulent accounts/inquiries, and incorrect demographic information should be circled or highlighted, and disputed as fraudulent directly with each of the credit bureaus.
Note: A dispute is when incorrect information is reflected in your how your legitimate accounts appear on your credit report. A suppression is to entirely remove fraudulent accounts/information from your credit report. They generally follow the same process, but the bureaus have up to 30 days to process a dispute and 4 days to process a suppression.
IMPORTANT: The process the credit bureaus require may change often. You will NOT receive confirmation if a Synthetic credit report is found. You may receive a copy of your credit report from the bureaus as a result of them receiving your Synthetic ID Theft letter and documentation. This is the only communication that the bureaus may provide you that they have received the Synthetic ID Theft dispute.
Criminal Fraud occurs when your PII is used to commit a crime. You are typically notified by the court system when you receive a Citation/Violation, Summons, or Notice to Appear. You should reach out to the entity that produced the notice to confirm your PII is involved and that there are no clerical errors.
If the entity where the fraud occurred or the entity who sent the citation or summons has confirmed you are a victim of Criminal Fraud, there are specific tools available to help you navigate this unfortunate event:
New Account Fraud occurs when your PII is used to open a new account. This could include, but is not limited to, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, mortgage loans, cell phone accounts, and utility accounts. You may typically find out about this type of fraud by receiving a call or bill from the merchant or a collection agency. A new account that you are not aware of can also appear on your credit report.
Existing account fraud occurs when a fraudulent transaction is processed using your valid credit or debit card number.
Account Takeover Fraud occurs when someone fraudulently accesses your existing account and makes changes to your information, orders new cards, new checks, or new services, or adds a new authorized user.
Check Fraud happens when a fraudulent transaction is processed using a routing number and checking/savings account number. You should report the fraud to your financial institution and follow their instructions. Check Fraud may or may not affect your personal checking/savings account.
You should request your ChexSystems and Certegy reports if you are experiencing Check Fraud as follows:
A Non-Credit Loan is a personal loan that uses non-credit based criteria to process applications. The most common type of Non-Credit Loans are payday loans and title loans. This type of fraud occurs when your PII is used to approve a non-credit based loan. You may be made aware of this type of fraud by receiving a collection call or bill in the mail. These can also appear on your credit report if they fall into delinquency.
Utilities Fraud occurs when your PII is used to establish utility services like water, gas, cable, or electricity. It also includes wireless phone services. You may be made aware of this type of fraud by receiving a collection call or bill in the mail. These can also appear on your credit report if they fall into delinquency.
Employment Fraud occurs when your PII is used to gain employment. You may be notified by the IRS or an Unemployment office (if you apply for benefits or are currently receiving benefits).
Rental Fraud occurs when your PII is used on a rental application. This includes, but not limited to, property/apartments, storage units, equipment and vehicles. You may become aware of this type of fraud by receiving a collection call or bill in the mail. These can also appear on your credit report if they fall into delinquency.
Medical Fraud occurs when your PII or valid medical insurance is used to obtain goods or services at a Medical Facility or Pharmacy and can also be used to gain medical insurance coverage. You may become aware of the fraud by receiving a collection call or bill in the mail. These can also appear on your credit report if they fall into delinquency.
Tax Fraud occurs when your PII is used to file either state or federal taxes. You may become aware that you are a victim of Tax Fraud when you attempt to file a tax return and are informed that a return has already been filed with your information.