I Am Glad I Received My Free Credit Report

I was the victim of identity theft and I never even knew it.  I received a phone call one day from someone looking for money for a debt I allegedly owed.  I thought it was a simple error but when the same thing happened the next day and then a week later, I became suspicious.  I had watched a program about identity theft and thought, like everyone else, that it could never happen to me.  Nevertheless, I applied for my free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies.  What I received, shocked me.

I found that there were no less than 20 charges and loans in my name that did not belong to me.  These all had my name and social security number but a different address.  I knew right away that I was the victim of identity theft as soon as I received my free credit report from TransUnion.  The others reported the same information.  I contacted the three agencies, which are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, and told them that I believed I was the victim of identity theft.  They placed a flag on my account. 

I was glad I received my free credit report when I did.  The identity thief had made up fake checks and was passing them in stores.  On the program that I watched on identity theft, one person discovered that she was a victim when she was arrested for passing phony checks.  As it turned out, I caught the thief just in time.  The thief tried to pass a phony check in my name at a well known discount store.  Because of the alert put out by the credit bureaus, she was apprehended right in the store. 

Thanks to my free credit report, which I am so glad I obtained when I did, I was spared the embarrassment of potentially being arrested for passing a bad check.  I should also note that I got my free credit report prior to applying for a job at a large corporation that checked my credit.  Had I not applied for my free credit report when I did, I might not have been hired. 

The identity thief was actually a woman with whom I once worked.  It seemed that one day she went through my purse at work and found my social security number.  That and my name were all she needed to start her criminal activity against me.  She knew I had good credit as I often discussed these things with people at work.  No more.

I urge everyone to get a free credit report each year from the three reporting agencies and make sure that the information is accurate.  I am glad that I got my free credit report when I did, but had I acted sooner, I might have been spared a little bit more trouble in clearing my good name. 

Everyone is entitled to one free credit report each year and any time that they are turned down for a loan because of something reported by one of the three credit reporting agencies.  This is federal law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 

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