This past week I was the victim of identity theft. Somebody applied for a Small Business Administration loan in my name. Fortunately, the SBA detected the fraud and declined the loan. Yet a hard inquiry still ended up on my credit report. Here’s how I got it removed in under 24 hours.
Portrait of an anonymous man in a black hoodie and neon mask hacking into a smartphone. Studio shot.
How to detect fraud on a credit report
Before we can deal with a hard inquiry, we need to know about it. The easiest way to keep an eye on your credit report is through one of your credit cards. Most major credit card issuers offer free access to your credit score, your credit report, and credit alerts.
I've signed up for a number of these services. I track my credit through Discover, American Express, Capital One and Chase. It may seem like overkill, although after what happened this past week, I'm glad that I do. In some cases, you have to carry the credit card to get access to your credit score and report. In others you don't. For example, Discover offers credit reports and scores for free, whether you carry a Discover card or not.
You can find a list of credit cards that offer free credit scores and alerts here.
Thanks to the alerts received from Capital One, I discovered a hard inquiry on my Experian cr ..