I'd like to know if a person fills out an application for a card and they list a joint applicant, does the joint applicant get notified by the bank/ credit card company? And do both cards go to the person who is applying address?
I think my cousin may be using me as a joint applicant for some credit cards as I saw inquiries on my report for credit cards that I did not make. Thank you.
Oh no, I'm sorry to hear about this potentially serious situation.
One best case scenario to keep in mind is that the inquiries you saw and didn't recognize may simply be soft inquiries rather than hard inquiries. Soft inquiries occur when creditors check your credit to see if you qualify for something like a pre-approval offer. Your current creditors may also do soft inquiries just to stay abreast of your credit situation and make sure they don't need to take any adverse action like reducing your credit limit or closing the account. These soft inquiries don't affect your credit at all or bring down your score. Hard inquiries occur when you actually do make a credit application.
If they are hard inquiries then you definitely need to check the accounts section of your report carefully (well you should anyway
) and see if any of these inquiries have turned into actual accounts that you didn't open. A hard inquiry you didn't make is bad enough, and dispute it if there are any, but the much more serious problem would of course be if someone actually opened an account in your name that you don't know about. You would need to get those disputed and closed immediately. So make sure you can identify every open account on your report.
Regarding whether or not you'd have been notified about an application...well I think this is going to vary significantly depending on the circumstances. Chances are anyone who applied in your name and didn't want you to know about it would have used their contact info, or just generally false info, rather than your contact info. So instead of your phone number, email address, and mailing address they probably listed their own or something false. Obviously it would have given them away right away if you'd started receiving statements and letters/emails/calls.
If you're concerned about identify theft you can also place a freeze on your credit, which will prevent anyone, including you, from opening any accounts. You would need to unfreeze your credit prior to making an application. If you're interested in doing that contact the credit reporting agencies.
Is there any particular reason you suspect your cousin? Obviously that would be a personal family matter that no outsider is really in a position to comment on. However, for what it's worth, my advice would be to first determine definitively if actual hard inquiries have been made, and if so, to confront your cousin in a polite, but firm way. Try not to make her/him defensive and maybe approach it from the angle of, "I saw these inquiries on my credit report and I'm just at a loss for what's going on. Would you know anything about that? Because if so I'm sure you're not trying to cause any problems and maybe didn't realize how serious it is, but I definitely need to know if someone applies for something in my name because it affects my credit and future."
Anyway, best of luck!