No. of Recommendations: 1

I made the mistake of applying for a Providian account once. They reopen it periodically. I believe they do this intentionally to improve their number of open accounts in good standing. In other words, they do it as accounting fraud -- something they think they're getting past their shareholders.

Your situation actually sounds like fraud though -- specifically an attempt at identity theft. Someone else apparently has opened an account in your name. You need to send Providian a letter explaining the situation and demanding that any an all accounts in your name be removed -- put the explaination in writing and get a return receipt. Also call all three credit bureaus and have a fraud alert place on your reports. This will prevent new accounts from being opened.

You can get a credit report freebie from once; but you must cancel their service within 30 days or they'll charge your credit card. Don't keep their service though. The credit bureaus will require you to buy a copy of your credit report to file a dispute, so paying these guys is redundant at best. This freebie will only give you the Equifax report. The others you'll have to buy directly or use one of these "consolidated" reporting services.

Place the fraud alert immediately. You might give Providian a few weeks to correct anything that they might have reported on your credit report. However you might also want to pull the freebie report immediately just in case this is an attempt at identity fraud because the report will list credit inquiries and new accounts that will tip you off for fraud.

- Joel
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