It could be a letter from a debt collector or a search on your own credit report that helps you discover that a debt you don't recognise is owing to a company you haven't had any dealings with.
Catalogue fraud is growing in the UK, it could be a former house you lived in or maybe a former tenant but what ever the background you can't ignore the issue. Someone, somewhere has opened up a credit account in your name and run up a bill leaving you to pick up the pieces.
Your first steps
The first steps depends on how you find out. If you discover the fraud on your Credit report, take a note of the company that's listed as the lender, visit the relevant section on your credit report which will provide you with their telephone number and address
Take a deep breath
So this could take a small amount of time to resolve, but getting angry, upset isn't going to help, the first thing to totally understand here is that you will resolve this issue and any damage to your credit rating can easily be repaired once we get this information of your credit report.
Sometimes an account listed on your credit report can be a total mistake, it could be linked to you and you may not be the person they are looking for, so give the company a call, explain the situation, stay calm, explain that you haven't opened the account and allow them time to investigate the issue.
Talking to debt collectors
It may be that the first time you become aware of this problem is when you receive a letter from a debt collection company demanding payments, of course you should call them and report this debt as an issue, but don't follow any advice about leaving it with them, you still need to contact the lender yourself.
Explain that you want a fast resolution
If you are 100% sure this debt/account is fraudulent you may be asked to sign some paperwork or provide evidence of residency, this is done to rule you out as the problem and should speed things up.
Ask for a complaint confirmation letter
To help you resolve this matter quickly ask the Lender to send you a letter confirming that a complain is open, what they will be doing to investigate and ask them how long they are planning to take.
Credit File damage
If the debt is showing on your credit report, feel free to contact Experian, Equifax and Call Credit to notify them of your issues, they will have a special department with people who can help you through this issue
Missed repayments/defaults caused will be removed
It won't be over night, but any damage caused by this issue will be removed once the investigation is complete. This means your credit rating will not remain affected.
Why have I been reported to a Fraud agency?
Sometimes with cases like this the lender will report the matter to the Police and or a Fraud agency, for your protection, CIFA's may report your details to other lenders so they can be prepared to check that you are actually applying for credit. This may mean a small delay in applying for credit but is a system aimed at stopping such problems occurring in the future.
Will I get compensation?
That's depending on the background of the case, each matter is different, if you can prove the Lender was irresponsible or didn't handle the investigation into your complain correctly and or this affected you financially you may be entitled to claim compensation
No lasting affect
Once the matter is being dealt with you should have no lasting affect from the issue. This means your credit rating should not be affected and more importantly no debt collection action should continue, if you do receive letters, contact the lenders and debt collection agency and make official complaints