Ask Amy: What to look for on your credit report, canceling subscription services

Our KPRC 2 Investigates team is always working to help people in our community. Part of that involves getting answers to your questions. Each week our team will bring us answers to some of the emails we are getting.

This week’s “Ask Amy” starts with questions from a recent KPRC 2 Investigation.

Protecting your personal information

KPRC 2 Investigates introduced you to Craig Kooken whose stolen social security number was used to open seven electric accounts. It’s taken months to sort out the mess - and it’s true if he knew earlier this was happening he would have probably been able to stop some of the damage. Many of you asked Investigator Amy Davis about how to prevent this from happening to you.

Q: How would you know if someone opened an account in your name? (or using your information?)

A: Check your credit score consistently and look if there is an account you did not open. On your credit score, look for “credit inquiries.”

Other red flags someone is using your social security number:

  • You get bills for accounts you didn’t open.
  • You see “test charges” on your bank or credit card accounts.
  • Creditors start calling you about missed payments.
  • You start getting mail or ads for expensive items like boats or trips.

Once a year, anyone can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the national consumer reporting companies. The big companies to check are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You do not need to contact each of them individually. These companies have a centralized website and phone number so you can order your annual reports in one place.

The Federal Trade Commission notes this is ONLY website - annual credit reports dot com - authorized to fill orders for the free credit reports you are entitled to under the law.


Canceling a Subscription Services

Q: Deanne is one of several people who has asked about canceling a subscription service she signed up for, like a craft kit box or a monthly vitamin delivery. Some companies make it very hard to figure out how to cancel.

A: First, of course, try calling and emailing the company’s customer service. If you can’t get help there it’s time to take away their option to charge you. Next - you can remove your billing method from your account. If you do this, contact your bank or credit card company to let them know.

Also, if you contacted the company about canceling and have not heard back and then were charged again, you can then start disputing the charges with your credit card company. You can also complain to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.

We’ve seen people get a resolution after reaching out on social media and posting problems there. It’s a public way of getting help, but for some companies, it’s often the only way they will listen.

Do you have a question you need to be answered?

Email us at askamy@kprc.com and we will work to get an answer for you.


About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.