Thursday

Block Your Credit Records

Did you know that a guy working for a mortgage company thousands of miles from you can open your wallet or purse and look at everything? They can get your credit card names and balances, even your mortgage info. It's a little known loophole in the law that can result in identity theft. Here's how.

The outside of the envelope in your mail says "important notice about your bill" and the return address is some nondescript business name and a local address that you don't recognize. It's enough to make you wonder so you, quite naturally, open the envelope.

The letter tells you that they know "that you have a 1st mortgage balance of approximately" and the exact amount is printed there. They also know that you have a "revolving credit card balances of" and that exact amount is printed there too. Then they hit you with a sales pitch to let them refinance all your debt with a new mortgage with, of course, one lower payment "to protect your credit". Yeah, right.

If you're like me, you wonder how in the world did they know my mortgage balance and my credit card balances since you never applied for credit with them. Because they're blue-suited thieves, that's why. Sure they call themselves a legitimate business, but in my book anyone who I don't have an account with and who gets a copy of my credit record, is just a thief.

You may think they have no right and no way to get your credit record, but think again.

The law actually lets someone pull your credit record as long as they say they intend to make you an offer of credit, even if you didn't ask for it. Problem is, even when they send you that offer (like the one above) it's full of "we're gonna check your credit again if you apply" conditions that mean it really isn't a firm offer after all. That stinks!

No company should have the right to pull your credit information to "size you up" for their marketing department's loan solicitations. What, you don't get enough junk mail as it is? And who knows where your credit info will end up after that?

The credit reporting agencies have a right to sell your credit information without you knowing it, but you can stop it. You can stop it now.

You have the right to prohibit use of your credit file with any credit reporting agency in connection with any transaction that you did not initiate. All you have to do is notify the "Big 3" credit reporting agencies to stop it. But until you do, any Tom, Dick & Harry loan company (including the one those three cons in prison set up behind bars) can pull your credit file just by saying it's for a "legitimate" use, whatever that may mean to them. And who knows where your credit data goes from there.

You can stop it right now.

Write a letter to all the credit reporting agencies, telling them that you are instructing them not to allow any use of your credit file in connection with any transaction that you did not initiate yourself. Take control of your private data. It's a beginning step to stopping identity theft.

The Big 3 are:

Equifax Options, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374
Trans Union, Name Removal Option, P. O. Box 97328, Jackson, MS 39288
Experian Consumer Opt-Out, P. O. Box 919, Allen, TX 75013

To learn more about your consumer credit rights, click here. If your credit info is misused or your identity stolen, we can help. Email us or call.