Having your credit impacted can affect you in different ways. Below are the two most common scenarios you may encounter.

  • Scenario #1: A scam has caused you to miss payments, which hurts your credit.
  • Scenario #2: Your credit score was harmed because somebody made fraudulent transactions in your name (identity theft).

 

STEP #1: Take Immediate Action (Prevent Further Impact)

We’ve outlined some suggested next steps for the two scenarios outlined above.  

Beware of scammers offering debt relief or credit repair services, which are bogus, expensive promises to solve your debt or credit issues. Learn more about these scams.

Scenario #1: A scam caused you to miss payments, which has hurt your credit:

  1. Get a free credit report to understand where you stand. You can request a copy of your own credit report – for free – from any of the three major credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) at Annual Credit Report.com
  2. Create a plan to rebuild your credit:
    1. Get on a schedule to ensure you can pay your bills on time moving forward.
    2. Consider rebuilding your credit by using credit cards for small purchases.
    3. Keep your debt down. Read more at the following resources:

Scenario #2: Somebody made fraudulent transactions in your name (identity theft), which hurt your credit:

  1. Ensure the criminal can do no more damage. Contact all affected companies, credit lenders, and bank accounts and dispute fraudulent charges in your name
  2. Consider filing a police report. This may be helpful to provide to your credit provider or financial institution.
  3. Visit our resources on our Identity Theft page to learn the next steps.

 

STEP #2: Warn Others (Report a Scam)

Good job on taking the first steps to control the situation. We recommend taking a few moments to report the scam, which can help us fight fraud. Please consider reporting the incident you encountered to BBB Scam Tracker, our prevention and reporting platform. Reporting the scam to the proper channels can help law enforcement shut down scam operations that prey on others. BBB shares all scam reports with the Federal Trade Commission, and we publish key information from the reports, enabling the public to determine if they are being targeted. Learn more about BBB Scam Tracker.

 

STEP #3: Take Important Next Steps to Recover

Thank you for reporting the scam! We’ve outlined some next steps for you to consider. If you put several of these into practice, you’ll be safer day-to-day. As each situation is different, these steps are not exhaustive or listed in any particular order:

  • Consider notifying your employer or commander (if in the military) to ensure they are aware of the situation.
  • Consider using an identity theft protection service which, for a price, can monitor your credit and financial accounts, notify you of suspicious activity, and help you recover lost funds.
  • If you really want to step up your security, download an MFA "authenticator" app which provides a security code to help access your account.
  • Reach out to companies that may have evidence of any activity that would impact your credit, such as your credit card company.
  • Avoid using free public Wi-Fi without a VPN This will shield your account information and activity from scammers.

 

STEP #4: Avoid Future Scams (Learn How)

Research indicates that knowledge about scams and scam tactics can help people spot and avoid scams that will inevitably target them. The unfortunate truth is that scammers will always try to steal data, money, and important information from people, and that even when scammers are caught, others will replace them. The best defense, then, is to understand what a scam looks like and how to respond.  Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning more about scam types and tactics. Visit BBB’s Scam Prevention Guide.  

 

More Resources 
The following resources can help guide you in scam education, response, and reporting: 

General resources

Canadian residents

 

Active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their spouses