Identity theft is a scary experience. Most people don’t know that their identity is at risk until it’s too late. Then, after the fraud happens, the victim is left with the bag. Most victims have no recourse to recover what they lost because by the time they find out, the fraudster has already taken out sizable loans in their name.
It’s important to know that if you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you have options. You have legal and practical options that you can use in order to clear your good name and prevent more harm from being done.
So how do you improve your credit score after identity theft? Let’s discuss.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity fraud, or Identity theft, is a term that encompasses a wide variety of financial crimes. Identity theft happens whenever someone successfully uses your identity to pose as you for financial gain. Identity fraudsters use identity theft for a variety of purposes, however the most common thing they do is take out loans in your name without any intention of paying them back.
Fraudsters rely on the victim not knowing what happened for a long time. Most victims don’t understand what happened until months, or even years, after the crime took place.
How Does Identity Theft Work?
Identity theft is much more simple than it sounds. A fraudster will use whatever information they have on you in order to pass identity checks. Then, they’ll use your identity to do whatever they wish.
Fraudsters don’t need much information in order to commit identity theft. Usually, a name, social security number, date of birth, and proof of address is sufficient to commit most identity crimes. In many cases, they might not even need your social security number. Sometimes, just a name and a date of birth is all they need.
Many people find that their information has been leaked to the Internet. This happens as a result of data breaches that result in hackers being able to get large amounts of information from businesses who store said info on their servers. Afterward, this information is published on the Internet for criminals to use.
Despite all of these possibilities, none of these are the most common forms of identity theft. Most identity theft is done by family members who have access to a large amount of personal information and an incentive to steal the victim’s identity.
How Do You Improve Your Credit Score After Identity Theft?
Check Your Credit Report
The first step to improving your credit score after identity theft is to check your credit report! You can get a free one from each of the three bureaus once per year at https://annualcreditreport.com. This is a secure government website that encrypts your data so that hackers can’t get access to it.
Take a look at your credit report and make sure that you recognize each entry on your credit report. If there’s something you don’t recognize and that you can’t cross-reference with a lender, then it’s time to move onto step 2.
Dispute Any Fraudulent Items On Your Credit Report
Credit bureaus may remove items that they deem to be fraudulent or that were put on your report in error. However, they won’t do this unless you open a dispute with each of the credit bureaus that have that item on your credit report!
The dispute process usually starts with a phone call to the credit bureaus, and then it goes through several steps until it reaches a resolution. Learn more about the dispute process in our article here!
We at The Credit Pros assist people with the dispute process. With our legal expertise and our understanding of how credit works, we’re able to help expedite disputes and make sure that your concerns are taken seriously by the credit bureaus. Give us a call or schedule a free consultation with us today!
How Does Peer-to-Peer Lending Work?
There are reasons why you might not want to go to a bank to get a loan. Maybe your credit isn’t very good, maybe you only need a small amount, or maybe you’re looking to make an investment that the bank won’t support. Some people look for hard money investments. Others might turn to high interest payday loans. Some might even dip into their own credit cards to get this money. But there are other options. One of the most interesting technological advances that the Internet has brought to financing is a concept called peer-to-peer lending. But what is peer-to-peer lending, how does it work, and why should you look into it?
What Is Peer-to-Peer Lending?
Peer to peer lending, or P2P, is an alternative to borrowing from financial institutions. You don’t borrow directly from an institution; instead, you borrow from an individual or a pool of individuals who lend money to those who meet the requirements.
Lenders can sign up to a P2P lending network, with the intention of earning a return from lending the money to borrowers. This is a form of crowdsourced financing and took off mostly in the 2010s. Keep reading this blog on Peer-to-Peer lending work.
Who Is Peer-to-Peer Lending Best For?
P2P loans are great for people or businesses looking for relatively small loans. Different networks have different minimum and maximum loan amounts, so you will want to check with the P2P lending network.
Generally, P2P loans are not meant for those with bad or no credit. Most networks have a minimum FICO score requirement of 600 and a low debt-to-income ratio. However, there are some networks that specialize in riskier loans for investors that are seeking higher returns.
On the lending side, P2P lending can provide investors with returns that are not very common in other debt markets. They also present an opportunity for investors who want to lend small amounts to a large variety of people for various reasons.
How Do You Get Started?
I Want To Borrow
To start borrowing from a P2P lending network, all you gotta do is sign up to one. We’ve listed a few of the most popular P2P lenders where you can instantly create an account.
P2P lending networks make it easy to get your money. Typically, all you gotta do is add your bank account information and you get the money directly deposited into your account.
I Want To Lend
P2P lending networks make lending quite easy. Simply go to their website and apply to become a lender. You will have to go through an application process and your application is not guaranteed to be accepted.
Some networks may require you to be an accredited investor; that is, an investor who meets certain qualifications such as an income of over $200,000 or a net worth (not including primary residence) of $1 million. To be accepted on one of these networks, you simply need to provide proof that you meet the qualifications.
Popular Peer-to-Peer Lending Networks
Are Personal Lines of Credit Worth It?
There are many ways individuals can get money for their various wants and needs, even if they don’t have it available to them. They can take out a credit card and get a cash advance. They can go get a personal loan from a bank, payday lender, or a peer-to-peer lending network. Or, they can go to their bank and get a line of credit. Are personal lines of credit worth It? What is a line of credit? Do you need that personal line of credit? Read more on this blog to know more about it.
Most people don’t use lines of credit on a day-to-day basis. However, a line of credit is a tool you can use to get money for things like home renovations, car repairs, or even family vacations. So what is a personal line of credit, how do you get one, and how do they work?
What Are Personal Lines of Credit?
A personal line of credit is a type of loan from a financial institution that provides you with a specified amount of funds that you can access when you need them.
They differ from home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) in that most personal lines of credit are not secured by any sort of asset. As a result, personal LOCs have higher interest rates than HELOCs and other secured lines of credit.
To get one, simply go to your bank or credit union and apply for one. Depending on your income, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and outstanding balances, you may be able to qualify for one. Limits can vary widely, so ask what you qualify for!
How Does a Line of Credit (LOC) Work?
These types of credit lines do not work in the same way that most loans do. Instead, they’re more similar to credit cards. Lines of credit are sources of funding that an individual can dip into at any time. To get access to these funds, you can ask your bank or see if you’re able to get access to them through Online Banking.
When you take money from or charge a purchase to a line of credit, interest on that purchase immediately starts to accrue. You are then given a bill at the end of the period, along with a minimum payment and a due date. You have the option to pay down the LOC at any time. In this way, they function similarly to credit cards.
What’s Better: Personal Line of Credit or Credit Card?
Personal LOCs tend to have lower interest rates than credit cards, often ranging between 7 and 15% versus credit cards that range between 14-23%. Not only that, but personal LOCs often provide larger balances.
However, unlike credit cards, personal LOCs don’t come bundled with benefits, and interest accrues as soon as a purchase is made. Credit cards come with a grace period and start accruing interest after that period, making it possible for borrowers to never pay a penny in interest when using a credit card.
Are Personal Lines of Credit Worth Getting?
We recommend getting a personal LOC and using it very sparingly. Having a LOC gives you more available credit, which helps your credit score. However, interest rates can be high so we recommend only using it for necessary immediate purchases that you can’t charge to a credit card.
In conclusion, personal lines of credit are an excellent addition to your credit mix and can be used in many different situations.
Why You Can’t Get A High Limit Credit Card
Have you ever applied for a credit card and ended up surprised at how low the limit was? You’re certainly not alone, because many people find themselves in this exact scenario every day. Read this blog to know what is a high-limit credit card, and how to increase credit card limit?
You might have a high income and/or a high net worth, but the limit on your new credit card might not seem to reflect that. This might not make sense to you. We’re here to explain how credit card limits are determined and discuss some reasons as to why your limit was lower than you expected.
How do banks & credit card issuers determine credit card limits?
Financial institutions use a set of complex and specially engineered statistical models to determine how high your credit limit will be. Some criteria they use include your income, your net worth, your debt balances, your credit history, your credit score, and your current mix of debt.
The actual formula used to determine credit card limits is proprietary. That is, financial institutions keep this information secret. They do this for several reasons. The first reason they keep it secret is because they’re using this formula to make the most money for themselves, and keeping this formula secret allows them to protect their businesses. The second reason they keep it secret is because they don’t want individuals or businesses trying to “game” the system. Keep reading this blog on what is a high-limit credit card.
Credit card limits are determined on a case-by-case basis. Not everyone with similar credit profiles will get the same limit. Credit limits granted can also change over time. For example, during the 2020 financial crisis caused by the This is an obvious one, but we thought it important to get it out of the way. Someone with an income of $30,000 per year is not going to get the same limit as someone with an income of $100,000 per year. Financial institutions know that your income is important to your ability to pay credit card bills.
But what if you have a high income or high net worth? Why else might you be unable to get a high limit credit card? Read this blog on what is a high-limit credit card.
Outstanding balances are too high
This is one of the most common reasons why some high income individuals are unable to get a high limit credit card. If you have a lot of debt, even if you’re able to make the payments on time, banks and other financial institutions are going to be less willing to give you more available credit.
Keep in mind that a card issuer is under no obligation to tell you why they set the limit they did. It’s up to you to look at your own credit profile and see if there’s anything you can improve on. Read this blog on how to increase credit limit.
Your credit score is too low
If you have poor credit, card issuers are not going to want to lend you much money. You’re considered high risk, and they’re not willing to provide you with a large limit if you’re a high risk borrower.
People with low credit scores also have trouble getting car loans, mortgages, and personal loans. If you want to improve your credit, but your credit score is currently low, check out our guide to improving your credit in a few easy steps!
You lack a credit history
If you’re a recent graduate working a well-paying job, but you don’t have a credit history, you probably will not qualify for a card with a high limit. In fact, you might not be able to get an unsecured card at all! Keep reading this blog on how to increase credit card limit.
If you don’t have a credit history, your best bet is to open up a secured credit card with a small limit. Use it often, but don’t go above 50% of your total limit. After about a year of using this card, you should be able to qualify for an unsecured card with a much higher limit. However, if you qualify for an unsecured card immediately, take it and use it wisely!
The economic situation is not favorable
After the credit crisis in 2008, many people found themselves completely unable to open up a new credit card for a short time. Shortly thereafter, banks were offering very small limits on credit cards and were thrifty with the loans they provided.
This is not unusual. Banks and financial institutions are businesses, too, and they react to the overall economic situation.
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