Financial Fitness Zone

5 people who can wreck your credit

When it comes to your credit record, lots of folks can do damage to it if you’re not careful.

Here are five people you may not suspect of damaging to your credit until it’s too late.

Someone You Co-Signed for Who Stops Paying

If you’ve co-signed for a loan or credit card account for a friend or family member and that person runs up the bill or misses monthly payments, you’ll feel the heat on your credit record.

A Roommate Who Bails

Sharing an apartment is great. However, if a roommate fails to pay his or her share of expenses, causing bills — including that all-important rent check — to go unpaid or be paid late, you (with your name on the lease and the utility accounts) will take a credit hit.

An Identity Thief You Didn’t Suspect

A pal at work, an unscrupulous HR person, a loan officer swiping personal financial information on the side, a waiter at a restaurant, even a relative — all these folks can snatch your identity and do a whole bunch of damage to your credit record and your bank balance. You often don't know until the damage is done. That’s why it’s important to check your financial statements often, even daily, to look for unauthorized transactions, and immediately contact your bank if you see anything suspicious.

A Spouse Going Through Financial Troubles

If you have joint credit accounts with a current or former spouse, your credit will suffer if those accounts go unpaid for whatever reason. Divorcing spouses should make separating credit accounts a top priority.

An Authorized User Who Runs Up the Bill

Adding an authorized user to a credit card account is great way to introduce a young person to the credit world, but if an authorized user charges the credit card to its limit, you’ll be the one stuck paying the bill. And if you are unable to pay down that balance in a timely manner or can’t afford to make the payments, it will certainly impact your credit score.

Keep close tabs on your credit record by checking your credit reports at least once a year for errors or signs of fraud.  You can get your credit reports for free once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Monitoring your credit scores can also help you keep track of your credit health. You can check your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com. You’ll also receive customized tips from credit experts for improving your score.

More From Credit.com:

What’s a Bad Credit Score?

How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?

How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life