Do You Know Who’s on Your Credit File?

Expert says more people are becoming victims of this kind of identity theft.

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Chris Amolsch, a criminal defense attorney, has noticed a disturbing increase in the number of people being added to the credit files of those with good credit in an effort to boost their own scores. He says that loan officers, who have access to personal information, sometimes call credit card companies, pretending to be someone else, in order to add clients to the credit record. While such activity is illegal and a form of identity theft, the victims sometimes fail to notice it has happened. "It's probably way more prevalent than you think it is," he says.

One way to avoid becoming a victim: View all monthly credit statements carefully to make sure no extra names have been added. While consumers are notified of such changes, Amolsch says that the problem is most severe among immigrants with limited English or literacy skills who may have difficulty understanding such alerts.