Identity Theft Prevention - Which Credit Bureaus Do You Need To Contact?
Most people think there are only 3 bureaus ... Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. While these are the Big Three, there is actually a fourth one which, while often overlooked, is actually just as important as the others.
Experian, TransUnion and Equifax all record your credit payment history. This includes credit cards, secured loan payments such as your mortgage or car note, and liens against your property such as taxes owed. It will also include collection agency information and medical bills. Since each creditor has to report your credit history to each agency, the Big Three may not all contain the exact same information. Here are the websites for the 3 credit bureaus -
Chex Systems, on the other hand, has to do with banking issues. It is a central location for financial institutions to contribute information on mishandled checking and savings accounts. ChexSystems shares this information among member institutions to help them assess the risk of opening new accounts. As with the credit bureaus, ChexSystems simply acts as a third party reporting agency and does not decide on new account openings. Here is their contact information -
Mail: Chex Systems, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
So you can see why this 4th agency is one that should not be overlooked. Since identity theft prevention encompasses all aspects of your personal and financial information, you need to cover all your bases. Any time you have a question or concern about your credit rating, you need to contact each of these agencies. They do not always all have the same information so in order to get the full picture, you need the information from each of them.
In order to start the identity theft prevention process, you need to contact each of the 4 credit reporting agencies and have them place a fraud alert on your account. That way, any time someone tries to open a new account or take out a loan in your name, you will be contacted. While this means your own applications will require prior contact before acceptance, it is a minor inconvenience worth putting up with.
Related Tags: identity theft prevention, preventing identity theft
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