Your credit report is one of the most important documents in your financial life.  The information in your credit report as maintained by the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian is used to calculate your credit score.  This is used by financial institutions to evaluate your credit worthiness and can affect your ability to get a credit card, mortgage loan or a car loan.  It also can affect the rate that you will be charged on such loans.  In addition, your credit score is used in many states by companies in making hiring decisions and landlords will consider credit scores when determining whether or not to rent an apartment or home to someone.  When you are the victim of identity theft, the effect on your credit score can be devastating. Preying on this fear, scammers, posing as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, are sending phishing emails to targeted victims telling them that their is a problem with the intended victim’s credit score. For more information, the person receiving the email is instructed to click on a link. Unfortunately, clicking on the link will download malware such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware that can lead to the person becoming a victim of identity theft.
TIPS
Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you have absolutely confirmed that the email is legitimate. Some of these phishing emails look quite legitimate and even contain the logo of the credit reporting agency it purports to be, however it is a simple matter to copy a phony logo into an email or text message. Often the email address from which the email is being sent may have nothing to do with the particular credit reporting agency that supposedly sent the email, but may be the email address of someone whose email address was hijacked and made a part of a botnet of computers used to send out these emails. In that case it is easy to determine that the email is fraudulent. However, in other circumstances, the email address of the sender may look entirely legitimate. In either case, do not click on the links. If you think there may be a problem with your credit report, you can contact the real credit reporting agency at a telephone number or email address that you know is accurate. Don’t use the phone number or email address provided to you in the email.
Regularly monitoring your credit reports and credit score is a good idea. It can help you recognize potential problems or mistakes before they become too serious. The law permits you to get a free copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also use free services such as Credit Karma at https://www.creditkarma.com/ to get free copies of your credit reports and scores in return for receiving advertising.
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