Bad credit can be the result of life circumstances or illegal activity such as identity theft or unfair debt collection. Unfortunately, if you become saddled with bad credit, it can have devastating consequences on your life.
Our Los Angeles credit reporting attorney, Howard Silver, understands the impact bad credit can have for you and your family, and he can help you with any legal issues associated with your credit report. For help with understanding your credit report and any inaccuracies within it, please contact Mr. Silver today by calling 818-597-2610.
Identity theft thieves can quickly destroy your credit and leave you in major debt. While you are ultimately not responsible, repairing credit damage can be incredibly difficult.
Learn more about the specifics of how to handle a bad credit report by clicking on the items below:
- How Common Is Identity Theft?
- Quiz: Is Your Identity Actually Safe?
- Why Should I Apply for a Credit Report?
- How Can I Receive Free Credit Reports?
- What Is Included in a Credit Report?
- What Is a Credit Report Used For?
- How to Check Your Credit Report for Inaccuracies
- What If You Find Mistakes on Your Credit Report?
- Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Act
- Creditor Harassment Tactics & the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Why Should You File a Credit Reporting Claim?
- Contact Our Attorney for Help
Identity theft has become one of the most widespread crimes in California as well as the United States, with millions of victims affected every year. According to the California Department of Justice, more than 1.6 million Californians were victimized by identity theft in 2013 alone. Unfortunately, there is a high likelihood that you will become the victim of identity theft at some point in your life. While there are many things a victim can do to end the continuing damage, reversing the effects of I.D. theft is often much more complicated.
You can receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months via each of the three credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Because of this, you may want to receive one report from a different company every four months. By doing so, you can keep track of your finances and prevent any wrongful damage from continuing for an extended period of time.
Ordering credit reports on a regular basis will also help you discover any instances of identity theft or other wrongful activity being done in your name. If you find a blemish on your credit that should not be there, you may want to receive a report from at least one of the other credit reporting companies to make sure it is not due to a company error.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion provide consumers with a free credit report once every 12 months. The law is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ensure accuracy and privacy.
In addition, when you are denied credit, you have a right to receive a free copy of the credit report used by the lender that is deciding to deny your credit request. Typically, you can find this information in the letter you receive explaining why you have been denied credit.
Our Los Angeles credit reporting attorney recommends requesting copies of your credit reports by mail so that you have a record of the date you made this request and the date the credit bureau responded. You can also request your free credit reports online by clicking the links below.
Here is the information for each of the credit reporting companies:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348
A credit report contains important information about your credit history, including your:
- Place of residence
- Bill payment history
- Bankruptcy claims
This information is used by creditors, insurers, and employers in making decisions about your credit worthiness, employment, and other issues.
Once you receive a copy of your credit report, review it carefully to see if there are any inaccuracies. Since each credit bureau has a different report for you, you'll need to review each one.
Ask the following questions when reviewing these credit reports:
- Are there any accounts that were discharged more than 7 years ago?
- Are there any accounts that aren't mine?
- Are there any bankruptcy filings that aren't mine?
- Are they showing a correct bankruptcy filing that is more than 10 years old?
When you receive a copy of your credit report, you can better understand the impact of your financial decisions and find out if your payment history or debts have been reported inaccurately. After finding mistakes on your credit report, you may be overwhelmed, stressed, and unsure of what to do next.
To protect yourself, you will need assistance from skilled Los Angeles credit reporting attorney Howard Silver. He can help you dispute fraudulent changes on your credit report and rectify the problem.
Debt collectors must abide by guidelines set forth in the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Act, found in the California Civil Code. Under Civil Code Section 1788.18, if a debtor submits proof to a collector that he or she is a victim of identity theft and that the debt in question was caused by such illegal activities, the collector is required by law to cease all collection efforts while investigating the matter. If it is proven that the debt was caused by identity theft, all collection efforts must stop permanently.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) exists to protect consumers from credit inaccuracies on behalf of credit bureaus, lenders and banks that can have unjustly adverse effects on credit reports. When the aforementioned institutions do not meet the legal FCRA requirements, you have a right to hold them accountable.
Loans are something most people will have to deal with at some point during their life; unfortunately, creditor harassment is becoming almost as common in California and throughout the United States. Even though both California and federal law make many tactics used by debt collectors illegal, unlawful activity still takes place.
Among the practices made illegal by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot do any of the following:
- Call a creditor before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm
- Misrepresent the debt
- Seek an unjustified amount
- Contact a third party about the debt
Additionally, collectors must cease contact when requested to do so by the creditor and can never act abusively during collection attempts otherwise they may be guilty of unfair debt collection tactics. Despite these safeguards however, with advancements in technology and a tenacious focus on collecting debts, collectors are finding new ways to circumvent these laws including the following:
- False identification – collectors may identify themselves as someone else to gain access to valuable information and contact the creditor
- Threats of legal actions – to scare consumers into paying, collectors may tell victims they will file criminal charges against them if payment is not made
- Calling your workplace – if an employer does not allow it, collectors cannot contact a subject's place of work. Once informed of this, they are legally required to cease such practices
- Offensive subject matter – recorded incidents have shown that some debt collectors resort to foul language or threats of physical or sexual harm to collect a debt. This form of creditor harassment is meant to bully and intimidate debtors and is strictly illegal
When you have bad credit, it can have devastating consequences on the way you live your life. What’s worse is when that bad credit is not actually a result of your actions, but is due to inaccuracies caused by mistakes and misreporting by the institutions providing and logging your information. Generally when this happens, violations of the FCRA are occurring.
These violations may include:
- Flagrant errors – these occur frequently in credit reports
- False reporting – lenders and creditors who provide negative information for malicious purposes during a dispute despite having come to a resolution
- Privacy violations – when your credit information is unlawfully shared with unauthorized parties
If your credit report is inaccurate and you follow proper dispute procedures but the credit bureaus fail to correct your file, you may have a valid legal claim for reparations including:
- Damages for instances of credit denial
- Damages for being required to pay higher credit card or mortgage interest rates
- Compensation for harassment from bill collectors and the ensuing emotional distress
- Compensation for credit reporting attorney fees if your lawsuit is successful
- Additionally, the credit bureaus should also agree to correct your credit report
If you've been the victim of a credit reporting error, whether because of identity theft or unfair debt collection and reporting, please contact our attorney today. Mr. Silver has the experience and tenacity you need when approaching a sensitive case that deals with your credit. He will help you determine how the credit reporting errors occurred and whom to hold responsible. He can also help you if you've been the victim of creditor harassment. He will help you seek financial restitution to ensure that you don't suffer because of the actions of another.
Mr. Silver proudly serves clients in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and all of California. Contact him today by filling out the form on this page or calling 818-597-2610.