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Old 14 September 2017, 09:59 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Default Someone opened a credit card for me

A few months ago, I got a card in the mail from Key Bank; I get a lot of fake cards that look like real ones as promotional items, etc, so I just shredded it with the rest of the junk through the card/CD slot of the shredder.

Then, about a month ago, I got a cardmember agreement and my first statement (which was $0.00). So, apparently, that one was real.

I definitely did not open this credit card; I've been actively cutting off some of my CC's that no longer offer points/rewards that I use because 5 accounts is a little much for my liking. (I have my retail points card, travel points card, old travel points card from when I lived elsewhere, etc etc).

I called KeyBank and they really couldn't tell me anything except they got an application from me and approved it (for a very small amount, FWIW; if I opened a credit card the amount on the mystery CC is about 10% of what I'd qualify for normally).

I checked my credit score and it's down about 150 points due to the KeyBank credit card opening (I check it about once a month). I can't figure out why else my credit score would be down so much so fast.

I reported the account as fraudulent to the credit reporting agencies, but I'm not sure else what to do. Otherwise there are no signs I'm a victim of identity theft. My husband has an immigration hearing coming up, so changing my personal details would cause a LOT of unpleasant issues.

I have literally no idea where this credit card came from, unless someone went through my mailbox and mailed in an application on my behalf. Which would be incredibly stupid because I ended up with the card and haven't spent a cent on it.

Are there credit advisors available? I have an investment broker who manages our IRAs but he has no clue about the situation. He referred me to a service which told me to close out the account but couldn't explain how it was opened, or if I should be panicked. But he did let me know shutting down the account could negatively affect my credit score (more! gah).

Any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 14 September 2017, 10:56 PM
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GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
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IANAFE, but here's a few things I know.

Did you get the full credit report including all inquiries? Because multiple "hard" credit checks over a period of time will drop a rating pretty quickly. (Hard credit checks means an application for credit, a "soft" check is when you see what your score is.) Over a short period of time, multiple hard checks won't affect your rating as they figure you are shopping for the best interest rate. But if the checks come over a period more than 30? days or so, then it looks like you might suddenly be getting multiple credit lines that could be an issue.

Having a credit card shut down by the request of the borrower should not affect your credit rating as a delinquency would. There is a part of your rating based on how much of your available credit you are using, having more available credit being better. That part of the score might dip a bit since you'll have less available credit, but it shouldn't dip below where it was before that card was opened. The key is to make sure that the account is reported as account closed by consumer.

But that aside, a fraudulent card shouldn't affect your credit at all. Make sure to follow up with the credit agencies to make sure they remove the data when it is found to be fraudulent.

ETA: If you aren't planning on applying for a loan anytime soon, lock your credit rating with all the agencies. There will be a small fee, but that lock will prohibit any new credit from being opened on that account.
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  #3  
Old 14 September 2017, 11:04 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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We've been seeking a HELOC, would that alone lower our credit score?

We're in kind of a weird position because we bought our house for cash in the US because we have both been working in foreign countries.

My husband works in Canada and I work in Belgium. We both file returns in all countries, of course, but I can't think of a thing I've done to lower my credit score.

In fact, I opened a CC in his name to establish his Credit Score (cos he didn't have one in the US prior), and his is now 200 points higher than mine. What?
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Old 14 September 2017, 11:07 PM
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GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
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As long as you've not applied to multiple lenders over several months, a HELOC shouldn't drop your credit by 150 points.

I'd go ahead and get your full credit report from all the agencies. By law, you can get a report from each agency for free once a year so that shouldn't cost you anything.

ETA: PS. The above post and this one are based on US rules. I have no idea how they handle credit information from things that happen outside the US.
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  #5  
Old 14 September 2017, 11:11 PM
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So, is it more likely the two banks we talked to about a HELOC are responsible for my dip in credit score?

Jesus that's harsh - but the one report said KeyBank did make a "hard" report against me which I understand affects me negatively.

I reported it as fraudulent to all 3 agencies but I'm not sure what else I should do except get a better mailbox? But keyBank isn't even in my neighborhood - it's weird - I think it might be someone in my past who hates me but who knows?
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  #6  
Old 14 September 2017, 11:15 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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We applied to one lender. We haven't even applied to any other lenders yet cos it took us a while to realize the one lender's customer service was unforgivable. We've interviewed other lenders but only applied to one.
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  #7  
Old 14 September 2017, 11:17 PM
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I can Google credit repair experts as best as y'all can, anyone have a recommendation?
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  #8  
Old 15 September 2017, 01:13 AM
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khisanth khisanth is offline
 
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I am not a finance person, but I've done some self-credit-repair in the past.

Do not look into Credit Repair companies. They're a bit of a con and they can't do anything that you can't do yourself.

Things like credit inquiries and closing of accounts are temporary credit score dips that bounce back after a month or two.

Liz Pulliam Weston is an awesome Finance Writer who writes about Credit Scores and doing self-credit repair.

What score are you looking at for the 150 dip? There are a lot of different scoring methods so check to see where this score is coming from.

FICO is pretty much the standard and everyone else tries to copy them (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax have their own copycat scores).

If you purchase your credit score to check for yourself, FICO is the only one worth purchasing. Here is a link to articles about credit scores from their website.

http://www.myfico.com/credit-educati...core-articles/

If you order the FICO credit score (costs money) from myfico.com they will tell you in the report what is causing the score to go up or down.

http://www.myfico.com/credit-educati...-credit-score/

You should be able to place a hold or a fraud alert at the three credit reporting agencies for free (I forget which one). It shouldn't cost any money and will not affect your credit score.
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  #9  
Old 15 September 2017, 01:35 AM
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I admit, I'm going based on CreditKarma because I've maxed out my annual freebies.

My FICO score, per my DiscoverBusiness Card, is still within 5 points of where I thought it should be.
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Old 15 September 2017, 02:10 AM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Thank you, khisanth! Very good advice all around. Thank you thank you!
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  #11  
Old 15 September 2017, 02:18 AM
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I don't know about you guys, but I suspect CreditKarma is a bit of a scam because that's what sent me into a frenzy about my credit score.

I only signed up to see if my husband had a score yet (he is a new US citizen with his first cc) and found that CK rated me WAY below my last FICO score check in.

I've since taken some advice above and know my CK score is absolute crap - but what should I do about it, except dispute to the 3 agencies? Should I try to talk to an exec at Key Bank to track where this account was established/how do I wipe it out?
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Old 15 September 2017, 02:21 PM
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Like has been mentioned, shutting down a $0 bal account should not affect your credit score, especially if you can get them to note the account as fraudulently opened.


GenYus is spot on about how credit checks affect your score too.
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Old 15 September 2017, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khisanth View Post

Do not look into Credit Repair companies. They're a bit of a con and they can't do anything that you can't do yourself.


.
Are you telling me that companies who advertise their services via placards stapled to telephone poles are NOT legitimate?!

I was wondering about Credit Karma myself; I like to keep track of things like that, but I'm also leery of services like that.
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  #14  
Old 15 September 2017, 03:09 PM
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GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
So, is it more likely the two banks we talked to about a HELOC are responsible for my dip in credit score?

Jesus that's harsh - but the one report said KeyBank did make a "hard" report against me which I understand affects me negatively.
A single hard report shouldn't cause a 150 point dip. And talking to two banks without making an application would only cause soft reports, which should have little to no effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
I don't know about you guys, but I suspect CreditKarma is a bit of a scam because that's what sent me into a frenzy about my credit score.

I only signed up to see if my husband had a score yet (he is a new US citizen with his first cc) and found that CK rated me WAY below my last FICO score check in.
Credit Karma doesn't make reports, they just echo what the credit agencies report to them. And your score can vary significantly between the agencies, especially since the agencies don't always have every single account in their records.

For me, the score reported by CK is within 20 points of the score I get from the bank (who also reports from the credit agencies). 20 points is well within the margin of error that you'd see from different credit agencies.
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Old 15 September 2017, 03:45 PM
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Keeper of the Mad Bunnies Keeper of the Mad Bunnies is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
I don't know about you guys, but I suspect CreditKarma is a bit of a scam because that's what sent me into a frenzy about my credit score.

I only signed up to see if my husband had a score yet (he is a new US citizen with his first cc) and found that CK rated me WAY below my last FICO score check in.

I've since taken some advice above and know my CK score is absolute crap - but what should I do about it, except dispute to the 3 agencies? Should I try to talk to an exec at Key Bank to track where this account was established/how do I wipe it out?
Since Credit Karma is using the Vantage 3.0 score, I would complain directly to them if their score is not consistent with the other ones you are seeing. It sounds like it is a problem with CK and their scoring. I have had a CK account for years and have never noticed that type of behavior. It may be related to how CK is treating the report about the fraudulent card.

As for the card, I would simply make sure the account is closed and not worry about having it expunged. You may want to add a fraud alert to your information through one of the big three (it only has to be reported to one to be effective on all). I know a lot of people are freezing their credit due to the Equifax debacle, but you are actively seeking a HELOC and a freeze would be a pain at this time.
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Old 15 September 2017, 05:45 PM
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erwins erwins is offline
 
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Have you considered whether it could be identity theft connected with the Equifax data breach? I don't know much about it, but apparently the kind of data involved could lead to identity theft. And starting with a small attempt could be a test. I echo the suggestions to put a lock on once you are done making your HELOC applications.

I think it couldn't hurt to try to find out more about how the account was opened--like, did they get a hard copy application, or was it online, because it could help you to guess how it might have happened.
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  #17  
Old 15 September 2017, 09:10 PM
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khisanth khisanth is offline
 
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Another disclaimer, my credit knowledge is U.S.-centric.

Whatever the score is that Credit Karma uses, it's not one that's generally used by lenders. One of Liz Pulliam Weston's articles calls them "consumer education scores." They're for illustrative purposes.

Another article on common credit score myths.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/29/pf/c....html?iid=Lead

A Credit Report Freeze is apparently the one that costs money. Instead, you can do a fraud alert.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/fina...content=440511

"If you don’t want to lock out all creditors — perhaps you’re in the middle of mortgage shopping or refinancing — you can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit. This tells potential creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name."

I just realized something from your OP. If you closed down some older cards (5 cards down to 3?) that you weren't using anymore, those would have a bigger impact on your score than this mysterious new card. Part of your score is based upon credit utilization (amount of credit used vs. available credit). So closing cards increases credit utilization. Closing a "new card" will be minimal compared to that. Those closed cards will hit you again in 7 years when they drop off your report because the age of your accounts will be "younger." Older>younger. This is not information meant to frighten you and you didn't do a "bad" thing. The score likes reliability and any time something "new" happens, they get a little excited.

Last edited by khisanth; 15 September 2017 at 09:39 PM. Reason: added last paragraph
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Old 12 October 2017, 05:10 AM
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I didn't close any of my actual cards, just stopped using them and paid them off - for example I used to live in NYC, which was a JetBlue hub so I had a JB rewards MC but since JB doesn't fly to DTW I just paid it off but left it open and don't use it anymore. I used to get free flights but no longer.

Same with my AirMiles Mastercard (Air Canada) account.

The KeyBank card is freaking me out becuase I did. not. open. it. But its amount of credit is so tiny (most of the limits on my CCs are in the $25-30K range, and this one is only good for $2K) I will follow advice given and close it out.

I made a complaint to Equifax about how I did not open the card and they dismissed my complaint and said they had evidence that I had opened it. WTF? I have not filed reports with Transunion or Experian yet.

I am starting to suspect it has something to do with the Equifax data breach. According to credit karma, my credit score is within 5-10 points of what I'd expect at TU and EXP, but at Equifax it's like 200 points lower.
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Old 12 October 2017, 02:05 PM
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You should demand they share their so-called evidence with you. Tell them to prove the card was not a result of their data breach.

Seaboe
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  #20  
Old 12 October 2017, 02:12 PM
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What Seaboe said. If it is what they claim, there is no justification for them *not* sharing it with you.
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