Ask Andy: ID theft/credit report mistake dispute letter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: ID theft/credit report mistake dispute letter

(WMC TV) - First and foremost, never have your taxes done by a company that makes a contraction out of a monosyllabic word. 

That should have been the first red flag, dear customers of Mo' Money Taxes.

Now the company's defunct Whitehaven branch has dumped an untold number of customers' files outside, full of Social Security numbers and personal information.

At the very least, it was a reckless and irresponsible act.

At the very most, Mo' Money Taxes may have violated federal privacy laws.

If you are -- or were -- a customer of Mo' Money Taxes, you need to follow these steps:

* CONTACT THE FRAUD DEPARTMENTS OF EACH OF THE THREE CREDIT BUREAUS (www.experian.com, www.equifax.com, www.transunion.com). Contact them by phone first, then confirm the contact in writing by registered mail -- and keep that letter for your files.

* ORDER YOUR CREDIT REPORT. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free report per year from each of the bureaus. Pour over those reports for any unusual or unauthorized accounts, address changes, name changes, etc. The three reports should match.

IF you find evidence of fraud or mistakes...

* PLACE A "FRAUD ALERT" ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT. "Request that a statement be placed in your credit report that creditors must contact you before opening any new accounts or changing any of your existing accounts," wrote Kevin Snider, a Germantown lawyer and certified fraud examiner, in his "A Practical Guide To Identity Theft."

* CONTACT YOUR CREDITORS, LENDERS & BANKS. Your credit card company, your mortgage lender, your auto loan, utilities, the bank that holds your checking account -- call them all and alert them to the fraud or mistake -- and have them check to make sure there isn't any funny business with your accounts. Ask each creditor to assign a password to your account that must be used before any inquiries or changes can be made to your accounts.

* FILE A POLICE REPORT. It's most helpful to file the report with the agency in the area where the theft took place, if that can be established. If not, call your local police or sheriff's office.

* CONTACT THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION'S IDENTITY THEFT CLEARING HOUSE (www.ftc.gov/idtheft). "After the FTC obtains your information, they will place it into a secure consumer fraud database which may be used by local law enforcement agencies in apprehending perpetrators of this crime," wrote Snider.

Snider also prepared the following letter to dispute fraudulent or inaccurate items on your credit report. Feel free to use this template if you need to dispute your report:

(DATE)

(YOUR NAME)

(YOUR ADDRESS)

(CITY, STATE, ZIP CODE)

 

(NAME OF CREDIT BUREAU)

(ITS ADDRESS)

(CITY, STATE, ZIP CODE)

Re:  Your name and Account Number

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I have recently reviewed my credit report with your company, and I have noticed some erroneous, inaccurate and/or fraudulent activity.  Consider this letter written notice to your company that I am disputing the items that are highlighted, circled or otherwise marked on the enclosed copy of my credit report.

In particular...(list and describe the item(s)).

The item(s) is (are) erroneous, inaccurate and/or fraudulent because...(specifically describe why the item(s) is (are) inaccurate).

Please begin an investigation into this matter and delete or otherwise correct the disputed information as soon as possible.  Once the investigation and/or modifications are made, please notify me in writing at the above mentioned address and provide me with an updated copy of my credit report.

Sincerely

 

Your Name

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