Perhaps you have seen ads from the credit bureaus pop up on your computer screen or television encouraging you to run a credit check. You know it is a good idea but never seem to make the time to do it. Whether you think you may be a victim of identity theft or not, take the time to run your credit report to look for any inconsistencies that could be impacting your credit rating and costing you money.
It is possible that someone has opened an account and begun accruing debt in your name. Often times, people are blissfully unaware that they have been victimized until they apply for a new loan or line of credit and are rejected by a potential creditor. You are the best person to recognize, as well as report, any unauthorized activity. You are entitled to at least one free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus once every 12 months. Take advantage of this opportunity to help protect your financial health.
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Many people assume that closing those old, inactive credit accounts you no longer use is a good way to clean up your credit report and look more attractive to potential lenders. In fact, lenders like to see a long credit history with a low percentage of your available credit being used. Closing accounts may shorten your credit history and increase the percentage of available credit you are using. This may have a negative impact on your credit score. When you obtain your credit report, carefully weigh the impact of closing out those old accounts.
If you do worry about a number of open accounts and choose to close one or more, contact the credit issuer directly and cancel the account. Your account does not close automatically due to lack of use. Request a confirmation letter that the account has been closed out and keep a copy in your files.
If you find any kind of inaccurate information on your credit report, contact the creditor or the proper credit reporting agency to open a dispute. Steps will be taken to investigate the matter and, if the creditor cannot verify the information, it will be corrected or the incorrect item will be removed from the report.
Your best protection is your own vigilance. A few minutes spent today to obtain your credit report may help secure your financial future.
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