Beware unknown credit report inquiry

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. I found an unfamiliar inquiry on my credit report. I requested it be removed and was denied. The inquiry was from a cable TV company, but I’ve never inquired about getting any of their services. What can I do now?
— Credit worried

A. You’re smart to be concerned.

An unfamiliar inquiry on your report could be a sign of identity theft.

The first thing to do is request your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com and see which bureau(s) show the inquiry, said Beverly Harzog, a consumer credit expert and bestselling author.

Next, she said, contact the cable company and let them know you did not request cable. Then ask the company to notify the credit bureaus that have listed the inquiry.

Depending on what you learn, you should contact the bureaus and place a credit freeze to limit access to your credit reports, Harzog said. You’ll need to contact the bureaus individually.

Also, place a 90-day fraud alert with the bureaus, she said.

“This alerts potential creditors that your identification needs to be verified,” Harzog said. “Thankfully, you only have to contact one bureau about this. The bureau you contact will notify the other bureaus about the alert.”

Finally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has an online complaint form to file an identity theft complaint. You’ll get an Identity Theft Affidavit that you’ll need when you file a report with your local police department.

Don’t waste any time taking these steps to protect your identity.

Email your questions to moc.p1524214694leHye1524214694noMJN1524214694@ksA1524214694.