Is your credit report part of your identity?

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Most understand their credit report is used to calculate their credit score which in turn is used to grant new credits or loans.  However, many people struggle to accept the importance of their identity information contained in their credit report.

Even more people disregard the importance of having the identity portion of their credit report current.  After all, some say, “my credit score is calculated only by my credit history”, or, “when I need credit, I can simply show my driver’s license to prove that I have moved”.  This is partially true if you are applying for credit in person and then at the discretion of that lender.  However, it’s not that simple if you are applying for an auto loan or credit card on-line.  Why?  Because Identity Theft is a big deal and most of it is committed on-line.  Creditors may be wary enough to hold or decline credit if there is a mismatch of identity information on your application versus your credit report.

If your address is nowhere near where you claim or your maiden name is showing on your credit report, this could be a problem.  Many applications for credit are rejected by risk calculations based on a mismatch of your name or address location.  You may not get an opportunity to demonstrate otherwise.

The answer is your credit report is NOT a substitute for a government issued physical form of identification; it is only a tool to verify your identity.

The identity portion of your credit report can get stale, there are credit reporting errors and identity theft is the number one crime in America.  All this can make using your credit report to verify your identity difficult.  No one should have their credit score go down, as a result of a credit report inquiry, where ultimately credit is declined because the identity portion of their credit report is not accurate.

Beyond a record of your credit history and a list of who’s looking at your credit, the identity portion of your credit report contains:

– Your full name and any previous names you have used, like a maiden name

– Your address and any previous addresses

– Your phone number and any previous phone numbers

– Your place of employment and any previous employment

– Your date of birth

– Your social security number.  This can be limited to certain credit grantors.

Your credit report does not have your driver’s license number, passport number, nor your physical attributes like your hair and eye color.

Another important factor to consider is credit reporting bureaus never remove any of your identity information from your credit report.  It stays there forever, unless, you have inaccurate portions removed or corrected.  There is no reporting time limit as there is for reporting negative information.

You should consider your credit report part of your identity.  Know that it may be used to verify your identity many times.  Just like you need to keep your driver’s license or passport updated, you need to keep all aspects of your credit report updated.

Also ensure you have strong identity theft protection along with credit monitoring. Having only one or the other is not good enough.  SmartCredit.com, with its Always Active Complete Protection, guards both your credit and identity. Smart Credit’s Rapid Response puts action buttons right on your mobile phone allowing you to stop identity theft with the simple push of a button, avoiding the need to login or call anyone.

David B. Coulter – Founder and C.E.O. of SmartCredit.com

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