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Cyberstalking and Your Credit Rating

Falsely Damaging Credit Is Another Way To Cause Significant Harm

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Updated January 08, 2009
This is sixth in a series of articles on women and cyberstalking written for About.com by cyberstalking expert Alexis A. Moore, founder of the national advocacy group Survivors in Action.

A cyberstalker out to get you can easily hit you where it hurts the most -- in the wallet -- by deliberately destroying your credit rating. As the story below illustrates, it's a very simple process with a number of surprising loopholes that make us all vulnerable.

Messing With Credit - A Cautionary Tale

Jenna was applying for a car loan. It was going to be her first brand new car and her first major debt. With building excitement she chose the perfect car within her budget and the salesperson took her to see the finance manager to complete the deal. But after a few minutes at the computer, the finance manager told Jenna that her car loan was denied.

"But that's not possible!" Jenna cried. After pressing the finance manager for a reason, she finally told Jenna that her rating showed an excessive number of credit inquiries, a big no-no that brings the credit rating down and gives an unfavorable impression.

Jenna was shocked — she had not applied for any new credit.

Turns out what she had done was move out of the apartment that she shared with a college friend. That "friend" was not very happy with Jenna because when Jenna left, the roommate had to find another roommate fast to make rent. Instead of working it out with Jenna in person, she'd pulled a cheap vengeful trick and put in several credit inquires on Jenna's behalf. No one asks for ID when you fill out a credit card application online or when one is completed and dropped in the mail.

Simple Tricks Have Huge Impact

Your credit report is the key to your financial health in our society, and yet it is one of the most vulnerable areas in your online portfolio. Very simple tricks like sending in multiple credit card applications with wrong addresses or spelling can start taking points off your credit rating and are nearly impossible to clean up – and take endless hours to handle.

The major credit institutions (Equifax, Trans Union and Experian) aren't in the least bit customer service oriented. You will rarely if ever get an actual person on the phone. The only method for repairing falsely damaged credit is a long, arduous letter-writing campaign which has unpredictable results. It's damaging to your safety and future and eats up huge amounts of time.

Worse, you have no way of finding out if any third party checks your credit report without your knowledge.

My cyberstalker was able to get my new address and phone number and as soon as a credit card company updated my information. Companies called "datafurnishers" have the right to tap into your credit information without telling you – or who, exactly, was asking for it.

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