Your personal and financial information should belong to you and you alone. Unfortunately, however, many South Carolina residents discover that their information has been stolen and used without their consent.
In addition to emotional trauma, victims of identity theft may suffer long-term financial consequences because of this wrongdoing. For example, you may find that your credit score has been negatively impacted.
Why is my credit impacted by identity theft?
Identity theft can damage your credit score in a couple of different ways. Your credit score can be damaged if the thief obtains your:
- Credit card information: If the thief obtains your credit card number, they may attempt to max out your credit card by purchasing as many items as possible in your name and failing to pay the bill. These missed payments will show up on your credit report and drop your credit score. A maxed-out credit card can also lower your credit utilization ratio below 30%, which can also harm your credit score.
- Social security number and other personal information: The thief can also use your personal information to get a loan or open a credit card in your name and fail to make payments.
How can I repair my credit?
A low credit score can result in higher interest rates on credit cards and fewer options when applying for mortgages and loans.
If you notice fraudulent charges on your credit card, contact your credit card provider as soon as possible. You will also need to contact a credit reporting agency and put a fraud alert on your account. In some more serious cases, you may consider implementing a credit freeze to stop the creditors from seeing your report all together.