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How to Fix Credit Score After Identity Theft

How to Fix Credit Score After Identity Theft

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Ever wondered what happens to your credit score after identity theft? The answer isn’t pleasant. Identity theft can wreak havoc on your credit score, impacting your financial health and future credit opportunities. However, with the right steps, you can repair the damage and restore your credit health.


Recognizing Identity Theft

Let’s kick off by discussing how identity theft is usually discovered. Intriguingly, most people (71%) find out their identity has been stolen within a week. On the other hand, about 11% of victims don’t learn of the fraud for more than a month, which can lead to prolonged damage to their credit score.

Interestingly, certain demographics, like servicemembers, are more vulnerable to identity theft. Between 2015 and 2019, servicemembers were 76% more likely to report identity theft. This highlights the need for increased vigilance and protective measures among this group.


Immediate Steps to Take Upon Discovering Identity Theft

When you discover your identity has been stolen, time is of the essence. If credit card fraud is caught and reported immediately, specifically between 1 to 7 days after the fraudulent charges are made, it can expedite the credit repair process. However, even in these best-case scenarios, it will still be several weeks before your credit is fully repaired.

Here are some immediate steps you should take:

  • Report the fraud to your bank or credit card company. They can freeze your accounts to prevent further fraudulent activity.
  • Contact the appropriate authorities to report the identity theft.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will alert potential creditors to verify your identity before extending credit.

Repairing Credit After Identity Theft

Now comes the challenging part: repairing your credit. Depending on the severity and complexity of the fraud, this process can take weeks, months, or even years. Aura explains that the timeline varies widely, depending on how extensive the fraudulent activity is and how quickly it’s discovered and reported.

To dispute fraudulent charges and incorrect information, you’ll need to:

  • Gather evidence: This can include bank statements, credit card statements, and any other documentation that shows the fraudulent charges.
  • File disputes: Write to each of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) explaining the situation and providing the evidence you’ve gathered. It’s best to send these letters by certified mail, so you have proof of delivery.
  • Follow up: The credit bureaus usually respond within 30 days. If they reject your claim, you may need to provide additional information or proof.

Remember, credit bureaus play a significant role in resolving identity theft issues. They can remove fraudulent information from your credit report, which can help improve your credit score. However, this isn’t an overnight process and will require patience and diligence on your part.

Maintaining Credit Health Post-Identity Theft

After dealing with the immediate fallout of identity theft, it’s crucial to focus on maintaining your credit health. This involves regular monitoring of your credit report for any suspicious activities. For instance, keep track of credit inquiries. Bear in mind that each credit inquiry could take 10 – 20 points off your score, so unjustified inquiries should be disputed.

Managing credit card debt is another crucial step. Increased credit card debt after identity theft can hurt your score even more. It’s essential to aim for a low credit utilization ratio – that is, don’t max out your credit cards. Keeping your balance low compared to your overall credit limit can positively impact your score.

Here are some tips for maintaining credit health:

  • Monitor your credit report regularly: Look for any changes or suspicious activities.
  • Dispute errors promptly: If you find any errors or unfamiliar transactions, dispute them with the credit bureaus as soon as possible.
  • Manage your credit card debt: Keep your credit card balances low and make payments on time.

Role of Identity Protection Services

Identity protection services can play a significant role in your recovery process and future protection against identity theft. Services like Allstate Identity Protection offer comprehensive solutions to help you navigate the aftermath of identity theft. With experts by your side, you’ll never have to handle the recovery process alone.

Identity protection services typically offer:

  • Fraud resolution support: Experts assist you in contacting credit bureaus, filing disputes, and completing other necessary steps.
  • Regular monitoring: These services monitor your credit reports and alert you to any changes or suspicious activities.
  • Prevention measures: They offer tools and resources to help you safeguard your personal information, thus reducing the risk of future identity theft.

While these services come at a cost, the peace of mind and professional support they provide can be invaluable, especially for those who have already experienced the stress and disruption of identity theft.


Identity theft is, undoubtedly, a distressing experience. It can significantly impact your credit score and, by extension, your financial health. However, by recognizing the signs of identity theft early, taking immediate action, and diligently working to repair your credit, you can bounce back.

Regular monitoring of your credit report and prudent management of your credit card debt can go a long way in maintaining your credit health post-identity theft. Services like Allstate Identity Protection offer valuable assistance in the recovery process and provide resources for future protection.

Remember, recovering from identity theft is a journey, not a sprint. It requires patience, persistence, and a proactive approach. But with the right steps and support, you can restore your credit health and safeguard your financial future.

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