Fraud Alerts Can Help Secure Your Credit Report
If you’ve ever been the victim of identity theft, then a fraud alert on your credit report is an excellent way to prevent future damage. Identity thieves will find it significantly more difficult and time-consuming to open new lines of credit in your name if they know there are already fraud alerts set to watch out for that very thing going on!
There are different types of alerts available from which you can choose when requesting one with whichever agency holds your file: warning, extended warning/reactivation/revocation, or closed (where creditors must call before opening any accounts). A personal security freeze may be possible too, but only under certain conditions.
When you set a fraud alert on your credit report, you will have to remove it before easily opening new lines of credit for yourself. In addition, if you have already had some fraud on your credit, you may have to dispute negative items on your credit report as well.
There Are Different Kinds Of Fraud Alerts
With a few options of what kind of fraud alerts you can take out, you will want to choose the one that works best for your specific situation.
The Initial Fraud Alert
If a person believes they’ve just become, or are about to become, a victim of fraud or identity theft, contact one of the three nationwide credit bureaus—Experian Equifax and TransUnion. The bureau you contact will alert the other two to place an initial fraud alert on their account to protect them from future fraudulent activity. This means that you will only have to contact one credit reporting bureau, not all three. Contacting all three could result in more difficulties in the future lifting fraud alerts on your credit report.
If you think your account has been compromised, it is important to take steps immediately. The initial fraud alert will stay on the account for one year before expiring. If you want a continued level of protection in case this happens again, placing another alarm after the expiration means that TransUnion’s security specialists will monitor any suspicious activity during those twelve months.
By placing an initial fraud alert on your account, you could be entitled to one free copy of your report from each major credit bureaus. This would entitle you to a total of three free copies per year in addition to the standard annual reports that are offered for free as well!
You’ll now be able to enjoy a newfound peace of mind by placing an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Once you do, all creditors will need to verify your identity before approving any applications submitted in the future. This is done by calling the phone number provided in your initial application and asking security questions like, “What was my first pet’s name?”
The first step towards protecting yourself from financial crimes like identity theft or fraudulent account openings without entering into full freeze mode is initiating a temporary fraud alert with either Equifax, Experian, or Transunion (or more than one). After this has been established on each company’s system, they must take reasonable steps when assessing whether someone should have access to their accounts, such as contacting them for verification.
These measures are important to ensure that nobody can steal your identity and open credit cards or other accounts in your name when you’re not looking.
Extended Fraud Alerts For Longer Protection
After having your identity stolen, an extended fraud alert is a next step to protect yourself. It will warn creditors that you are a victim of theft and prevent new accounts from being opened in your name for 7 years without you or law enforcement’s written consent.
To avoid identity theft when applying for loans, credit cards, or other services that require a credit check, you should only apply with a reputable organization. It is also important to stay alert by monitoring your bank statements regularly and checking your credit card statements monthly.
Identity theft happens every day, so staying vigilant can keep this crime from happening in your life too!
Companies won’t add your credit profile to marketing efforts for preapproved credit offers for the next seven years.
But when you add an extended fraud alert, you are eligible for two free reports from each nationwide company during that time period of 12 months after filing.
Let’s go back over the first two fraud alerts. Filing the initial report gives you an extra free copy of your credit report from all three reporting bureaus. Following up with an extended fraud alert means you are entitled to two more. So total free credit reports you are now eligible for is up to 4 from each of the three reports. This means you can get a free credit report every three months.
Active Duty Military Fraud Alerts
Active-duty fraud alerts help military members stay protected while on active duty. These fraud alerts last 12 months and are available to any Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy member. After 12 months, they will have to request a renewal from their account online as with other types of credit cards like an anti-fraud alert which requires creditors to take extra steps when verifying identification for new requests such as opening up a line of credit or increasing your limit on existing debt by making sure there are sufficient means to afford it prior before receiving approval.
When veterans are on active duty, they are serving their country and can’t be expected to have the time or resources to monitor themselves for identity fraud. Therefore, an “active duty” alert helps reduce this risk while protecting those who volunteer for duty in our nation’s service.
Fraud Alerts VS. Security Freezes
Do you want to ensure your credit is safe from identity theft?
Freezing and unfreezing your account with the three main credit bureaus is a great way to do so. When activated, creditors will not access or open any new accounts in that person’s name without permission until it has been “unfrozen.”
When taking out a security freeze, you must contact each bureau to take out a security freeze.
Some exceptions to security freezes include:
- Employment, job or insurance related checks may still occur
- Open credit accounts may still access your report
- Governemnt agencies will still be able to access your information
- Organizations that you have hired to help repair your credit
A fraud alert reduces your risk of identity theft or credit fraud, but it is not guaranteed. However, creditors only have to make enough effort to verify the customer’s identity before approving their application. Therefore, getting approval with a fraud alert on your account may stop future fraud from occurring.
With so many different kinds of credit you could apply for, if the potential thief has enough information, they may be able to surpass a fraud alert.
How to Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report
Identity theft is a serious issue that can result in financial and emotional hardship. Luckily, you can take measures to prevent it, such as setting up credit freezes or fraud alerts with the credit bureaus when signs of identity theft appear. These steps will help protect your hard-earned money from being tapped by someone else who has stolen personal information about you or even created an account using your name without authorization; be sure not to wait until after they have done any damage before taking action!
A critical step towards protecting yourself against those with malicious intent while reducing their ability to steal what’s rightfully yours (or for simply having erroneous charges on statements) is making use of “credit freezes” and/or “fraud alerts.” This way, if anyone tries to take advantage of you, you are ready for their attempt. Contact one of the credit bureaus
Step One: Contact One Of The Credit Bureaus
The first step is to contact any three nationwide credit bureaus for a fraud alert request under FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). You can also do this online or over the phone and specify what type you want – like an initial, extended, etc.
Equifax: Call (800) 465-7166
Experian: Call (888) 397 3742
TransUnion: Call (800) 663-9980
Step Two: Review Your Free Credit Report
When you file a fraud alert, you get another free credit report from each reporting agency. Going over them, look for any information that should not be there. Then dispute this information so that you can move forward with a fresh credit score.
Since you are filing a fraud alert, there should be something on your credit report to identify where the fraud is coming from.
Step Three: Remove Or Modify Your Fraud Alerts
At the expiration date, your fraud alert will be automatically removed from your credit report. If you want to remove it earlier, or if you no longer need an order of protection against a potential assailant, then contact one of the three major bureaus and request that they take down their flags on you. Of course, you’ll have to tell each bureau individually about this change in status, so make sure not to let any slip by!
Managing your fraud alerts is not very difficult. However, staying on top of your credit report is key to getting the best results when going through identity theft issues.