Identity theft can be devastating. So you are probably wondering, how long does all of this take to fix? You have worked so hard to keep your credit history perfect and all of the sudden; an identity thief ruins it. The question becomes; how long does it take to fix my credit after identity theft?
Experian, one of the three main credit bureaus, touches on this topic on their blog. They say that fixing your credit after identity theft can take anywhere from a few days to several years to fix. Now, I know that is not necessarily comforting information- but the reason it is so broad is that identity theft can take on a variety of forms!
Truly the time period is based on a number of factors. Knowing which of these situations happened in your particular case of identity theft can help narrow down that broad range of time.
How to Determine How Long it Will Take to Repair Your Credit
Here are a few things that affect how long it will take for your credit to bounce back after identity theft:
- Did they use your credit and debit cards?
- Did they use your social security number to open up new accounts?
- How long did it take you to notice and report the theft?
Were cards compromised in the theft?
Since this is the most common way that thieves can gain access to your funds, it seems to be the easiest to resolve. It can be way too easy to lose your credit or debit card, and criminals are way too ready to take your money.
The basics of reporting card theft go like this:
- Contact the card issuer; you can use the phone number on the back of the card to do this quickly.
- Contact the credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax).
- File an identity theft report with the FTC.
- Protect yourself against future incidents
Fortunately, card theft is much quicker to resolve and takes a shorter time for your credit to bounce back from! Though it can be increasingly tedious to report, the disputes are typically resolved faster than bigger losses like new accounts opened fraudulently.
Were new accounts opened fraudulently?
If new accounts were opened in your name, then it can take longer to dispute. The process of closing new accounts, and reporting the fraud can be more time consuming than typical card fraud as mentioned above. This is because there is typically a more substantial loss to you and the institution that loaned out the money. Disputing the accounts opened in your name is the best place to start.
You can get an overview of all open accounts, with a free consultation, by contacting Credit Absolute. This will help you make a list of any accounts you don’t recognize and get to disputing. The same process is followed, of course, when reporting identity theft. Dispute it on your credit report, contact the institution that disbursed the loan, and file a report with the FTC.
This is where the longer time frame comes in when discussing repairing credit after identity theft. It can certainly take longer for disputes to be processed if a new account was involved. Be patient, be methodical about your reporting, and your credit will bounce back in time.
How long did it take to report the theft?
One of the biggest factors that come up again and again when talking about repairing credit after identity theft is the time it takes to report the theft. In other words, how long did the identity thief have access to your information? If you were able to catch it quickly and report it, your credit will be repaired quicker. However, if you did not catch it for a few months, it will take longer to fix your credit.
To wrap things up in a nice little bow, there is no one clear cut time frame that your credit will be completely repaired after identity theft. It can be anywhere from a few days to a few years. But, if you catch it quickly, and the theft amount was lower overall, then you have a much better chance of repairing your credit sooner.