Resolving Credit Problems

One big problem with identity theft is trying to plead your case. How do you prove that you are a victim and not just a deadbeat! The process is time consuming and frustrating, but the good news is that there are procedures under federal law for correcting credit report and billing errors, and stopping debt collectors from contacting you about bills you do not owe. Here is a summary of your rights:

Fair Credit Reporting Act establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on your credit report and requires that your report be made available only for certain legitimate business needs.

Truth in Lending Act limits your liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50 per card.

The Fair Credit Billing Act established procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts. This includes fraudulent charges on your accounts. To take advantage of the law's consumer protections, you must: write to the creditor at the address given for "billing inquires," n0t the address for sending payment. Include your name, address, account number and description of the fraudulent charge, including the amount and date of the error. Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days from when the first bill containing the fraudulent charge was mailed to you. This is why it is important to keep track of you billing statements and immediately follow up when your bills do not arrive on time. Send your letter certified, return receipt requested.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using unfair and deceptive practices to collect overdue bills that a creditor has forwarded for collection. You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop. If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of the police report.

The Electronic Fund Transfer Act provides consumer protections from transactions involving an ATM or debit card or any other electronic way to debit or credit an account. It also limits your liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers.