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It all happened in a miraculous moment…a moment like no other. After being out-bid over and over due to a hot housing market, the perfect home was sought after.
It was destiny. Now I am at the mercy of the bank…where now I must play by their rules.
The mortgage banker walked over with a strong poker face and me with my thoughts running around a million miles per hour of calculating every point in the interest is more money out of my pocket and what did my credit score state about me.
Knowing my credit is solid, I was more curious about the interest rate. When she quoted this mortgage interest rate, I was pleasantly surprised. I was prepared and had already obtained a free credit report.
My research and keen attention to detail in keeping my bills in line and understanding my credit score worked in my favor this time.
I am flesh and blood and I always learn from my mistakes. You see my credit score use to be something I was very embarrassed about.
I was ashamed because I didn’t understand finance and my first credit card was given to me at 18 (a very dangerous game). I quickly racked up $2,500 in debt while finishing high school and then going to college.
My minimum wage job of $4.25/hour wasn’t enough to keep pace of the interest rate being punished upon me. This mistake is also what led me to study finance in college. It is then where I discovered the importance of money and its impact.
Knowing what I know now, protecting your credit is vital. With online hackers and other people in our world who lack integrity, are always out to do us financial harm.
I am a fan of Credit Sesame because you can monitor your credit score for free every month. This company is awesome because you will receive daily monitoring alerts in the event something changes on your credit report. It is like having a personal financier consistently monitoring your credit live. Prior to discovering this company, I was paying from $12-$18 a month to have such service from other companies.
In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a study per Congressional mandate requiring the FTC to examine consumer errors within the three main credit reporting agencies. In 2015 a follow up study was performed and as to many surprised consumers, nearly 20% of these consumers had identified errors. 1
It highlights the importance to regularly review and check for accuracy. Another factor to consider as another reason to verify its accuracy is Identity Theft. I’ve written an article found in DollarOtter.com, A Victim of Identity Theft stating according to BigCommerce, "96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase at some point in their lives, and four in five (80%) have done so in the last month alone. 2
It used to be that such companies offered their products solely on their website; however, with the clear majority of online shoppers hitting up Social Media, retailers are flocking to social sites to advertise their brands. While simplicity may be convenient, out in the shadows of the tech world lurches a hungry thief waiting for an unsecured network to quickly hack a shopper's credit card information.
In 2016, Bankrate.com reported that 41 million U.S. adults were such victims.3 Due to this alarming number making up approximately 13% of the U.S. population, the Federal Trade Commission established a site, IdentityTheft.gov.
Don’t be a victim of Identity Theft. Protect your sensitive personal information and check it for any irregularities, errors, and check for accuracy.
Report missing or dispute accounts
Should you find any errors or items needing to be corrected, you must contact the company or institution first to address the matter.
If contacting by mail, then ensure you send via certified mail with return receipt. If the matter has been corrected but still reflecting negatively on your credit report, then contact the credit reporting agencies.
Be sure to keep and maintain copies of any disputes and records of such frivolous activity.
According to the FTC, both the company and person are responsible for correcting the information. Follow the steps outlined in the link to further take action:
1 FTC Issues Follow-Up Study on Credit Report Accuracy. Federal Trade Commission. 21 January 2015. Retrieved from https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/01/ftc-issues-follow-study-credit-report-accuracy
2 Wallace, Tracey. The Complete Omni-Channel Retail Report: What Brands Need to Know About Modern Consumer Shopping Habits in 2018. BigCommerce. Retrieved from https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/omni-channel-retail/
3 Dickler, Jessica. 41 Million Americans have had their identities stolen. CNBC.com. 11 Oct 2016. https://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/10/41-million-americans-have-had-their-identities-stolen.html