A few months ago, I started getting emails about my Capital One credit card. It was overdue, but the company could help me with payments. This raised two flags.
- I never carry a balance on my credit cards.
- I don't have a Capital One credit card.
I get a lot of misdirected emails (most recently, it was someone else's medical information, which probably opens that company up to litigation), so I figured that's what this was as well.
After the second or third message, however, I got a little nervous. What if someone did somehow open a credit card in my name and with my email address. So I called Capital One. They couldn't have been nicer and confirmed that there were no accounts linked to my social security number.
Still, the emails kept coming.
Just to be sure, I did what I should have done earlier. I checked my credit report. I make a point to check all three reports annually using AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only site where you can get free, legitimate credit reports with no strings attached. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the three credit reporting sites to give you a free copy of your credit report every single year. So if you haven't used this site, get over there and get your credit reports!
I have been using Credit Karma to track my credit score and hadn't seen any major drops, so I figured all was well. I'm not sure how accurate Credit Karma is, of course, but it's better than nothing.
Not surprisingly, when I got my free credit report, I discovered that there were no new credit cards opened in my name. Everything was exactly as it should be.
What was surprising was that my credit score is much higher than I thought. Much higher than even Credit Karma indicated. I'm well seated in the "Excellent" category and that's where I plan to stay. Of course, right now, my credit rating doesn't mean much. I don't plan to open any new accounts and I don't plan to refinance my mortgage anytime soon (I'm locked in at a fabulous rate). I suppose I may be taking out a car loan at some point, depending on what the offers are. (I'm not planning to get a new car, but my car is almost 11 years old, so anything's possible.)
To the person who likely shares my name (based on the fact that my email address is my name), start paying your credit card! You are five months behind and they are going to send you to collections! I don't know what that's like, but it certainly sounds scary.
And to the rest of you, go look at your credit reports. I'm sure there are no surprises there, but I always find them interesting to read.