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Hard credit inquiries are for applications for an extension of credit. This can be construed to include cases such as a utility company is opening an account for you or an insurer that is considering insuring you as well as a borrow lending you money.

Thank you -- that made me think of something. My identity was stolen some time back and for a while I was going through the process of negating cards people were opening in my name. I thought that was all behind me, but maybe someone's still trying and that's causing the hits. (I locked down my credit later on.)
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