Q:  I just had a hard credit inquiry alert even though I did not apply for a line of credit. Any advice on what to do?

A: That’s unsettling. Are you sure this wasn’t something done by the lender for your practice? Assuming this is in connection with a new line of credit:

1. First contact the lender that pulled your credit to notify them that you did not apply for a Line of Credit with them. There should be a phone number available, or you can look up the lender online. Lenders take concerns about fraudulent activity very seriously.

2. Sign up for credit monitoring through one of the 3 credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Experian, Equifax. TIP – you might get your credit monitoring at a discounted price through AAA.

3. Lock the credit at the other two credit reporting agencies where you don’t have credit monitoring. NOTE – you’ll need to unlock the credit at all 3 agencies whenever a lender or anyone else needs to look at your credit. It’s a minor hassle, but worthwhile.

4. A good place for information on credit-related topics is www.annualcreditreport.com. This is a website that the 3 credit reporting agencies were required to set up to help out consumers. TIP: you can receive one free credit report from each agency annually.

5. Lastly, visit www.IdentityTheft.gov to report this potential identity theft and get a recovery plan.