How Identity Theft Can Impact Credit Scores

Based in Valencia, California, Think Credit Reports offers people the ability to monitor their creditworthiness and continuously receive updated credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Think Credit Reports’ services are particularly vital, given an increase in identity theft, which can have an outsized impact on people’s ability to get loans and mortgages or to get them at good rates.

Identity theft can derail individuals’ financial well-being in a number of ways. In cases where a personal credit card is used fraudulently, victims may be unable to promptly pay for the extra charges that have accrued. By the time that the situation is resolved by the lender, long-term damage to the credit report (which is difficult to undo) may have occurred. This threat is particularly acute when thieves redirect bills to new addresses, resulting in cardholders being completely unaware of fraudulent transactions that have gone through. Identity thieves may also target personal savings and checking accounts, draining funds in ways that make it impossible for victims to pay mortgages, rent, and bills before irreversible harm has been done to their credit score.

Who Can View a Credit Report?

Think Credit Reports allows consumers to check their credit scores and reports from all three active credit bureaus. Think Credit Reports also offers monthly updates to reports and scores, as well as alerts to any activity, so that customers can know what credit report checkers are seeing.

An individual’s credit report is legally available to anyone with a “legitimate business need” to see the data it contains. For example, credit card companies may need to check a person’s credit history when deciding whether to approve a card application. Similarly, landlords may check a credit report to determine a person’s record of late or delinquent payments, in advance of granting a lease.

Government agencies have the right to check the credit report of anyone applying for official benefits. In addition, any government organization may use a credit report to check basic information such as name, address, and employer. Finally, a potential employer may check an applicant’s credit report, but must receive consent. These checks may not include the applicant’s numerical credit score.

Simple Ways to Improve Credit Scores

Think Credit Reports is an online source for providing users with individual credit scores. Think Credit Reports is one of the few online credit score outlets able to access information from all three credit bureaus. The company has been in business for five years.

Credit scores play an important role in determining many financial situations, including how much a person can expect to pay in loan interest and whether they will be accepted for a credit card. Here are some tips on how to improve credit scores quickly.

Get a credit card: Simply having a credit card can help improve credit scores and rebuild damaged credit. If possible, find a card that reports to all three credit bureaus.

Pay off revolving accounts: Credit bureaus give high scores to those with large gaps between balances and available credit. Try to keep balances below 30 percent of the credit limit on each credit card; below 10 percent is even better.

Review reports from all bureaus: Since each bureau receives credit and payment information independently, it is important to review each credit report individually and immediately clear up any errors, such as payment information and credit limits.

Do not cancel unused cards: Cancelling a card can often negatively affect a person’s score. Instead of getting rid of old cards, use them occasionally so they keep reporting to the credit bureaus. Having a long credit history is a great way to increase credit score.