Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Facts About Credit Report Errors and Credit Fraud

Most of us don't think about our credit report unless we are buying a home or making some other major purchase. But you don't want to wait until a loan denial to find out there's a problem!

Here are some eye-opening facts about credit report errors and credit fraud that everyone in Millburn-Short Hills should know!

According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in four consumer credit reports contain errors. In most cases the errors do not affect the credit score computation, but 5% to 10% of them do. Erroneous data can come from the creditor who is reporting payment history, or from the credit bureau's handling of the consumer file.

Errors can be corrected, but you must bring them to the attention of the credit bureau! This is just one more reason why pulling your free credit report once a year is so important. The official consumer-access site is Beware of imitations!

Another issue is the growing problem of identity theft and credit fraud. The FTC estimates that over 9 million people are victims of credit fraud every year! Look at these facts:
  • 16% of fraud victims were victimized by someone they knew.
  • 84% of fraud victims did not know who obtained their personal information.
  • Of the above, over half of the victims did not know how their info was stolen.
  • 37% of fraud victims became alerted to the fraud by monitoring their accounts
High-tech thieves are capturing credit and debit card data by placing skimming devices and micro-cameras on outdoor ATM machines and gas pumps. There are also more pedestrian methods of fraud, such as phishing scams that collect banking and credit card data from unwary e-mail users. 

Again, you don't want to wait until you've applied for a mortgage to find out something is amiss on  your credit report. The longer a fraud issue or error continues undetected, the greater the damage. 

You can nip problems in the bud by pulling a copy of your credit report at least once a year. You should also examine your bank statements and credit card statements each month with a fine-tooth comb. If you haven't looked at your statements in awhile, go back and check the last quarter of 2012 on forward. Fraud is at its height during the holidays. 

As your real estate professional, I'm happy to share information that benefits the communities of Millburn-Short Hills, Livingston, and Summit. Please feel welcome to share this information with anyone it could help! 

When you have questions about New Jersey real estate, I will be here for you! Just give me a call

Elaine Pruzon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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