I recently found out that I had a collection agency put a derogatory statement in all three of my credit reports. I notified Experian of this and disputed the item. Experian performed their investigation and found that the item is to remain on my credit report. The problem is that I have never seen this item before, never recieved any bill or any written notification of a collection either. The amount listed on the item is only $468 and is listed as Macy's as the originator of the debt and I have never shopped at a Macy's ever in my life. So my question to the community is this a form of identity theft since it is clearly an item I have never seen and in a store I've never entered? Should I involve myFico's identity Theft service or is this something that I should contact the collection agency directly in writing? All input welcome. Thanks.
Disputes that assert information in a credit report to have resulted from use by another of the consumer's identity in obtaining the credit (i.e., "identity theft") often do not resolve the issue of removal from the consumer's credit report.
The primary problem is the issue of what is required by a creditor or a CRA in their investigation/reinvestigation of the accuracy of reported information. They will normally have documents showing use of the consumer's name/identity in opening and making transactions on the account. Are they required, in reliance on those documents, to conduct detailed analysis of, for example, handwriting in order to determine the source of the signatures? Relevant case law, both precedential (affirmed on appeal) and non-precedential (issued only by a trial court) are all over the place in their legal interpretation of what is or is not a reasonable investigation of a dispute relating to identity theft.
You can, after receiving the results of the investigation/reinvestigation of a dispute, bring your own civil action under FCRA 623(c) asserting that either the creditor or the CRA failed to conduct a reasonable investigation, and thus that the account must be deleted, but you are rolling the dice in such civil actions, as the case law does not establish clear precedent.
If you wish to view examples of prior decisions and the contradictory results for interpretation of reasonableness of an investigation of identity theft information, I suggest reviewing Cornock v. Trans Union, Cortez v. Trans Union, and Viamonte v. Chase.
As a result of the clear problems and burden of pursuing removal of alleged identity theft information from consumer reports by use of the FCRA dispute process, the FCRA was amended to provide a new identity theft process under FCRA 605B.
The section 605B process has the advantage of requring no verification by either the creditor or CRA of the accuracy of the information, and relies only upon an assertion by the consumer that they did not authorize the account/transactions. However, to deal with spurious assertions, the consumer is requried to present their assertion of identity theft within a sworn police report, which carries criminal penalties for knowingly false statements. For details on the FCRA identity theft process, see the sticky post at the top section of the General Credit Topics section of this forum.
In summary, you can pursue the dispute outcome via bringing civil action for an unreasonable investigation of your dispute, which carries a heavy burden of proof and uncertain case law precedent and interpretation.
However, you can simply pursue block of the information from your credit report by filing a police report and sending a copy to the CRA, thus using the alternate identity theft process provided under FCRA 605B.
I would recommend, regardless of whether you decide to pursue civil action for lack of reasonable investigation of your prior dispute,that you immediately avail yourself of the identity theft process and get the information blocked from further credit reports. by following the identity theft procedure outlined in FCRA 605B.