What to Do About Unauthorized Hard Inquiries on Your Credit Report

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What to Do About Unauthorized Hard Inquiries on Your Credit Report

Picture this: You're checking your credit report and notice a hard inquiry was made, but you don't recognize it. Sound familiar? This could've happened for a few reasons: The inquiry could have actually come from an authorized lender, could be a reporting error or could be a sign of possible identity theft. Here's what you should know about each scenario.

Authorized Lender

Hard inquiries should only be made on your credit report with your permission. However, there are situations that can make this confusing. For example, shopping for auto financing can result in several inquiries if one dealer reaches out to multiple lenders. So while you may have thought that authorizing one dealer meant one hard inquiry, you could end up with several.

The good news is that many credit score models take these shopping windows into account when calculating your score. For example, VantageScore considers all inquiries that happen within 14 days of each other as just one inquiry. This gives you time to shop around without worrying about a significant decrease in your score due to multiple hard inquiries.

Reporting Error

If you didn't authorize the hard inquiry, you can call the creditor to check on why your credit was run. The creditor's name should be listed under the hard inquiry section of your credit report.

You may have to do some searching online to get their contact information, or you could call the credit bureau to get more detailed information from them. If the mistake was a reporting error, they should be able to help you. If not, you can file a dispute by calling the bureau or mailing a letter.

Sign of Possible Identity Theft

If you didn't authorize the hard inquiry, have called the company to check on why your credit was run, and find out you supposedly did authorize it, it's possible your identity was compromised.

Find out as much as you can (such as the account contact details, when the account was opened and how much has been charged) from the company and ask them to help deal with any fraudulent activity that has already occurred. They should have protocols in place to assist you.

If there is account information that has already shown up on your credit report, you'll need to contact the credit bureaus. You may also want to check out IdentityTheft.gov, a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) site dedicated to helping consumers figure out what to do about identity theft.

There are additional steps you can take after you've resolved the initial fraudulent issues. You can contact the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file, meaning additional steps would need to be taken to verify your identification before extending a new line of credit.

Or, you could place a security freeze on your file, meaning your file can't be accessed at all to extend new credit unless you temporarily unfreeze it.

You also have the option of reporting the fraud to the FTC or filing a report with your local police department.

Bottom Line

Understanding hard inquiries can help you put them into context, resolve a possible error or be alerted to possible signs of identity theft. If you're a Credit Karma member, you can get free credit monitoring on your TransUnion credit report, meaning we'll alert you after significant changes are made, such as when a hard inquiry appears on your report. Stay on top of your credit health by checking your credit reports on a regular basis.

About the Author: Jennifer Micieli, CFP® is Credit Karma's Financial Expert. She worked as a financial planner for five years before joining Credit Karma in 2014. Jennifer works with the content and product teams to help members learn how to better manage their finances.

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All Comments

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1 Contribution
93 People Helped

Helpful to 93 out of 105 people

CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO SKIP ALL THE HOW TO AND GO DIRECTLY TO THE DISPUTE PAGE WITHOUT HAVING TO READ PAGE AFTER PAGE ON HOW TO?

Reply by
CrimsonClover

1 Contribution
30 People Helped
Helpful to 30 out of 41 people

Each credit bureau has their own website.  you must go to each site to enter the dispute if they offer it online.  If not, then you must mail a letter of the dispute to the credit bureau.  they do not talk to one another so you must enteract with all three bureaus sepertely.  it takes time but worth it in the end to get things straight on your credit reports.  xperian offers the most online options for moniroing and changing items online not sure about the other two bureaus right this moment.

Reply by
Raven955

2 Contributions
14 People Helped
Helpful to 14 out of 20 people

I went to buy a car. I told the dealership not to blast out to finance companies and they did anyway. I got turned down for a credit card. All my credit scores are in the 800's. They held the inquries against. They were all made on the same day. I got my Experian report and then I called and was told they couldn't be disputed. I was told by the dealership they wouldn't be held against me, but they were. Not sure what I can do now.

Reply by
hrhsar

4 Contributions
6 People Helped
Helpful to 5 out of 6 people

Go to the FTC.gov site or the 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau consumerfinance.gov (855) 411-CFPB (2372)

both help whenever there is a problem they can help with all without contacting each one.

1 Contribution
39 People Helped

Helpful to 39 out of 40 people

I  ran into the same issue, auto dealers pulling my credit when im simply shopping for a vehicle, and now I have 45 inquiries on my credit all from Auto dealerships, I think this is wrong how so many companies depend on these bureaus but no one knows how their scoring algorithms work and they affect our lives so greatly. I think the only course of action is a class action lawsuit for punitive damages against the bureaus. Shopping for credit should not effect your credit score that is a stupid concept. My score was lowered by 54 points all due to inquiries. What does that really say i dont have good credit because i wanted to purchase a vehicle. We all need to speak up and get these bureaus regulated a little more closely!

Reply by
rosek17

1 Contribution
6 People Helped
Helpful to 6 out of 7 people

I actually had the same problem, but I was told it was a law that it wouldnt affect my score and the inquires would all be turned into one after 30 days. So, i disputed them and then was told that companies do not count them because they understand it was all for one purchase, the same purchase. 

I am waiting to see what happens, it hasnt been 30 days yet,so Ill let you know. good luck.

Reply by
Maslink

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 4 people

Enter Your Replyhow did they get your so number????

Reply by
PrivateCitizen

1 Contribution
3 People Helped
Helpful to 3 out of 7 people

Any evil car dealer can abuse you by running creidt many times, as it did to the man above your post...supposedly having so many checks in a 2 week period is supposed to be understood by creditors as it is CLEAR you are shopping..but I simply d not give this info NO SS#, even adderss to them.

Calling dealership management to complain, posting a  YELP negative experience, using Craigs list and other  newspaper speak out platforms also helps to TELL others how they behaved.

I  was so difficult with 2 different  auto dealers owned by brothers that I ended up blasting the CREDIT UNION they ALL use here to NOT reveal they GIVE 2-4%  of your car loan rate as a REWARD to teh dealer..meaning they get paid for th elif of th loan on YOUR back...dealers will never reveal this, they cll it "stayig in business, and good will" from the CC..NOT AT ALL it is collusion, when not revealed to teh buyer.  the CC gets 1.9% or  a but more and THEY get the rest, that is the way it workd here, so teh used card *******s get many % points of your hard loan in ADDITION to the money made on sale of the car.

For those with bad credit the shark loans of 19% are a different story,and worse but bad credit is no where near the same as hard checks on us.

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

I found this out recently. If your in the market to get a new car, they are not suposed to count all the credit checks if they happened with in one week time. Apparently the credit burrors have a hart (i am still doubting that) and understand looking are around takes time. When i went out to get my car they shot guned it to way to many companies and it droped my score 100 points. After i got my car (came to find out the only time my company reports to a credit place is if i am late on my payment) i went and checked it about 3 weeks later and my score had come up about 50 points. Its a BS system and it is faulty!

Reply by
jeffmccoy0522

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

I AGREE 100%, IT seems if you shop around for a good deal it hurts your credit, thats not right. It is our right to shop for the best deal possiable and not get penalized for on our credit score. Class action law suite. I'M in!

Reply by
Amberdawn524

2 Contributions
2 People Helped

i havent even submitted my ssn to any dealerships and just looked because i totaled my car last week need new one and i have a ton on there just from opening websites and looking at cars without submitting info wtf?!?! this is such crap im with ya, but wth can we do???

1 Contribution
34 People Helped

Helpful to 34 out of 35 people

the article just gives you the run around and never the how to do it. very missleading and a waste of time

1 Contribution
14 People Helped
Helpful to 14 out of 14 people

I totally agree with you, where is "How to"?

1 Contribution
33 People Helped

Helpful to 33 out of 37 people

Not helpful.  Don't tell me the why.  Tell me the how and where to send in my disputed hard Inquiry. 

Reply by
swain123

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 7 people

Enter Your Reply

1 Contribution
19 People Helped

Helpful to 19 out of 20 people

So irritating that Credit Karma has created two pages of click bait and not told you how to actually dispute the inquiry. Makes me lose confidence in the service. 

3 Contributions
20 People Helped

Helpful to 19 out of 23 people

When we were looking to buy a truck the dealership wanted to do a credit check. I told them we are just looking. He insisted it would just be a soft check and wouldn't affect our scores. Now I see they did 12 hard checks all the same day. How do I dispute this? 

4 Contributions
6 People Helped

Helpful to 6 out of 7 people

I didn not authorize R & H TOYOTA, EXETRE FIN, DARCARS TOYO, CPS, nor, COAF. to do a credit check on me.  I told the one (and only one)car dealer I was going to get my car using my credit union. This was done on June 24 2015. Now I see all of these inquires. 

Reply by
Bashl

4 Contributions
7 People Helped
Helpful to 5 out of 7 people

After reading thru the blah blah, you must go to each credit reporting companies website for file a dispute on hard inquiries.

1 Contribution
3 People Helped

Helpful to 3 out of 4 people

i would like for you guys to remove those in my credit report

1 Contribution
2 People Helped

Helpful to 2 out of 3 people

My husband died and needed to refinance and because I shopped around for mortgage I get all hard Inquiries on my credit report .it makes me so mad

Reply by
Bashl

4 Contributions
7 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 5 people

After reading thru the blah blah, you must go to each credit reporting companies website for file a dispute on hard inquiries.

Reply by
chasedaron

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

I know, I believe its high time we fix this system somehow.  Its not fair to a 30 year old like me to be riddled with debt before I barely got a start. No one wanted to lend to me when I was younger and I got into bad medical debt that killed my score.  I was up to over 35 and 2 tax liens but now I have 0.  Problem is, my score never really recovered my entire life I've been in the 580's-620's and I just want to buy a cheap house and redo it for a really fair price.

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped

Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

STEINMART clerk said there would be no hard check on my credit, but he lied.  I did not want a card from Steinmart.

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