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Brand new here - would love help!

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Brand new here - would love help!

First so have no collections or anything on my account. The only negatives are that I am often late on payments. (Either pay the lawyer - divorce- or pay the bills). I always pay and am current on everything, I'm just often 40 days late.

I am trying real hard to raise my credit score. I am going to do my best to pay on time. I opened another credit card.

1. If I have open credit cards but don't use them does that hurt me? Is it better to use them and pay them off each month?

2. I am concerned someone has my social security # and is using it. Sprint contacted me due to fraud on 6/20 and I just last night saw an inquiry show up on my account for a business that's not even offered in my area. Is there a way to freeze your account for free?

I was told I'd need to contact all 3 credit bureaus separately and pay $ to each monthly to keep the freeze. ($10/month foof Equifax). Is there a way to find out who may have my ssn?

Thanks! I appreciate any and all help.
Message 1 of 6
5 REPLIES 5
Super Contributor

Re: Brand new here - would love help!

My comments below in blue:

 


@Babygabesmom wrote:
First so have no collections or anything on my account. The only negatives are that I am often late on payments. (Either pay the lawyer - divorce- or pay the bills). I always pay and am current on everything, I'm just often 40 days late.

I am trying real hard to raise my credit score. I am going to do my best to pay on time.

The constant lates will be hurting your score a huge amount.  Getting to a place where you can pay every bill on time is what you need to do.  Which I realize can't happen for you overnight.  After you achieve that, you'll want to pay all cards to $0 except one, which can regularly report a small balance.  That also may take you a while to achieve.  Those are the overwhelming drivers to your credit score.

I opened another credit card.

1. If I have open credit cards but don't use them does that hurt me? Is it better to use them and pay them off each month?

You should activate and use any new credit card shortly after receiving it.  That's just best practice.  After that major cards only need to be used once every six months to ensure they are not cancelled due to inactivity. 
And yes it is best to always pay any CC bill in full.  It's also fine if most of your cards report $0, as long as at least one card reports a small balance each month.



2. I am concerned someone has my social security # and is using it. Sprint contacted me due to fraud on 6/20 and I just last night saw an inquiry show up on my account for a business that's not even offered in my area. Is there a way to freeze your account for free?

I was told I'd need to contact all 3 credit bureaus separately and pay $ to each monthly to keep the freeze. ($10/month foof Equifax). Is there a way to find out who may have my ssn?

 

First I would read this thread here on the forum:

 

http://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/General-Credit-Topics/Victim-of-Identity-Theft-What-To-Do-to-Protect...

 

This thread will tell you more about the costs associated with credit freezes by state:

 

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-freeze-data-1276.php

 

I would certainly monitor your credit reports and pull them at least once a month.  If you see strange hard inquiries you do not recognize, I would google that merchant or institution and ask if they can tell you more about that inquiry, since you do not recognize it and believe it may be the result of identity theft. 

Thanks! I appreciate any and all help.


 

Message 2 of 6
Valued Contributor

Re: Brand new here - would love help!


@Babygabesmom wrote:
First so have no collections or anything on my account. The only negatives are that I am often late on payments. (Either pay the lawyer - divorce- or pay the bills). I always pay and am current on everything, I'm just often 40 days late.

I am trying real hard to raise my credit score. I am going to do my best to pay on time. I opened another credit card.

1. If I have open credit cards but don't use them does that hurt me? Is it better to use them and pay them off each month?

2. I am concerned someone has my social security # and is using it. Sprint contacted me due to fraud on 6/20 and I just last night saw an inquiry show up on my account for a business that's not even offered in my area. Is there a way to freeze your account for free?

I was told I'd need to contact all 3 credit bureaus separately and pay $ to each monthly to keep the freeze. ($10/month foof Equifax). Is there a way to find out who may have my ssn?

Thanks! I appreciate any and all help.



I have my reports frozen, and paid the fee one time for each bureau to freeze the reports and when I have needed to, I have paid to unfreeze them temporarily.  You could initiate a fraud alert with the bureaus if you suspect identity theft.  For a certain number of months, an alert is placed on your report.  BF was contacted by Sprint  ironically 6 months ago in regards to someone attempting to open up an account in his name, but because his reports were frozen,  they were not successful, but he was able to initiate an alert free of charge.  You will need to contact the bureaus in regards to the specific rules in your state.  It is important to show positive payment activity, but I'm a bit concerned about the continuing late payments that you mentioned. Which accounts are currently showing late payment?   TIA for your response. 

Gardening till December 2019
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Message 3 of 6
Super Contributor

Re: Brand new here - would love help!


@Babygabesmom wrote:
First so have no collections or anything on my account. The only negatives are that I am often late on payments. (Either pay the lawyer - divorce- or pay the bills). I always pay and am current on everything, I'm just often 40 days late.

I am trying real hard to raise my credit score. I am going to do my best to pay on time. I opened another credit card.

1. If I have open credit cards but don't use them does that hurt me?

No that doesn't hurt you

Is it better to use them and pay them off each month?

It doesn't matter if you use them much. The main thing to optimize your credit scores is to let one card report a small balance, and let the others report zero balance.

2. I am concerned someone has my social security # and is using it. Sprint contacted me due to fraud on 6/20 and I just last night saw an inquiry show up on my account for a business that's not even offered in my area. Is there a way to freeze your account for free?

I was told I'd need to contact all 3 credit bureaus separately and pay $ to each monthly to keep the freeze. ($10/month foof Equifax). Is there a way to find out who may have my ssn?

Thanks! I appreciate any and all help.

 


Total revolving limits 639500 (558000 reporting)
Message 4 of 6
Regular Contributor

Re: Brand new here - would love help!

If the open cards don't get used, they will close after a period of time. Which will then hurt the utilization. How does this not hurt? Am I missing something I don't know about?

Message 5 of 6
Super Contributor

Re: Brand new here - would love help!


@joesef wrote:

If the open cards don't get used, they will close after a period of time. Which will then hurt the utilization. How does this not hurt? Am I missing something I don't know about?


Hi Joesef!  The full context of the OP's question was this:


1. If I have open credit cards but don't use them does that hurt me? Is it better to use them and pay them off each month?

 

The OP is asking if there could be a scoring penalty that comes from allowing a card to be unused for a few months in a row.  (In contrast with an imagined need to use the card every month.)

 

It is to this question that SouthJ is replying when he says "No that doesn't hurt you."  I.e. there is no scoring penalty associated with an open card being unused for 2, 3, 4 months in a row.

 

But sure, if you leave a card unused for a very long time (typically over 13 months) then an issuer might close it.  Then it would cease to be an open card (which is what the OP asks about) and the closure might hurt the score.  Or it might not.

Message 6 of 6
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