One of the single-most important aspects of buying a new home is related to your credit history. A solid credit score will not only help you get approved for a mortgage, but you'll also likely receive much more favorable terms and conditions. If you've been a victim of identity theft, however, you'll be paying the price of having a poor credit score even though its no fault of your own. The good news is that there are a number of steps that you can take to repair your credit after identity theft in order to buy that new home.
Contact the Credit Reporting Companies
After identity theft, the first step that you should take involves calling all three of the major nationwide credit reporting companies and putting a fraud alert on your credit report. To do so, use the following telephone numbers:
- TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289
- Experian - 1-888-397-3742
- Equifax - 1-800-525-6285
Put an "extended alert" on your credit report. Good for seven years, these types of alerts will verify to creditors that there has been an identity theft issue with your credit history and that they should take additional steps in verifying your identity and other information before opening up a new line of credit (like a mortgage).
Removing Fraudulent Information
The next step that you'll want to take when repairing your credit involves going through and removing all fraudulent information from your credit report. When contacting each of the three major credit bureaus, be sure to request a full copy of your credit history. Go through each entry and identify the ones that were made by the person who stole your identity.
Itemize all of the errors that you've found on each of the three credit reports and obtain all necessary documents proving your innocence. If you found that the person who stole your identity opened up a credit card in your name, for example, you would call that particular credit card company and ask them to send you a copy of the application or other documents that you can use to prove your innocence. Then, you can send a list of the errors and all supporting documents to each credit bureau and ask them to remove that fraudulent information.
The credit bureau will need to alert you regardless of its decision. Rest assured that whether a particular item is removed from your credit history as a result of the identity theft, you will receive written notification of this. You can then present this information to your mortgage company to help buy your new home.
Consider a Protection Service
By and large, one of the best ways to repair your credit after identity theft involves taking a proactive approach to make sure you aren't a victim again in the future. LifeLock offers a full line of identity theft protection services, and offers a discount to veterans. All packages include a $1 million guarantee to help fight identity theft cases.