Okay so you're feeling smug and savvy because you know all about Fraud Alerts. Despite the fact you accomplished it for free and only had to actually contact one of the major credit reporting agencies you want everyone to know who to call. You tell them the following places need to be called to put a Fraud Alert on your credit report; Equifax at number 1-800-525-6285, Experian at their number 1-888-397-3742 and the final place, TransUnion at number 1-800-680-7289. You further explain that these initial 90 day fraud alerts entitle them to free copies of their credit reports.
All your friends should be sure to check those credit reports for debts on their accounts that are unexplainable, company inquiries from businesses they haven't actually contacted and/or accounts they haven't actually opened. That's good proactive initiative. Did you happen to mention that fraud alerts aren't actually the solution to every possible means of identity theft? Did you know that a Fraud Alert does nothing to detour an identity thief from opening new credit accounts in someone else's name that don't require a credit check? You know, things like a wireless telephone account, wall mounted phone or even a bank account! Are you beginning to realize that too little information can be dangerous? Additionally, an ID Thief can still use someone's existing credit cards or other accounts. Not only that, if there is an identity crime already happening when a fraud alert is placed, this alert alone does nothing to stop the crime. You can however take solace in the fact that you were partially correct as fraud alerts are in fact useful in thwarting the thief in opening a new line of credit.
The initial fraud alert stays on a credit report for only 90 days and if someone remembers, they have to renew this alert every three months. It is good to place this type of alert on one's credit if they suspect they are (or are about to be) a victim of identity theft. These alerts are a good course of action should one say, realize they are a victim of a "Phishing" scam or their wallet or purse has been stolen.
This is basically an alert to creditors while considering someone for credit for the business to enforce reasonably policies that implement procedures that require identity verification prior to issuing credit in a person's name. Businesses may make an effort to verify however, their reports aren't always a guarantee that applicant sitting before them is who they say they are. A person has the option as well to place an extended fraud alert of their credit report that actually remains in place for a period of seven years. This can be done if you are a victim of identity theft.
You must however supply the consumer reporting agency an identity theft report. The report procedure is the subject of another article as it is a lengthy process. Anyway, this extended alert requires potential or pending creditors to actually contact you or, meet with you face-to-face before they actually approve the credit request.
Yes, this can cause delays when you are trying to get credit but to enhance the processing requirements one can simply provide a current and viable cell phone number to be reached at easily in their efforts to have their identity verified. When a person undertakes the initiation of an extended fraud alert, they are entitled to two free credit reports annually from each of the three national consumer credit reporting agencies. These companies will at the same time remove a person's name from pre-screened credit offers that marketing lists maintain. The credit reporting agencies will make sure a name stays off marketing lists for a period not less than five years unless, a person specifically requests to be put back onto marketing offer listings.
I'd just like to say initial or extended fraud alerts are great measures in anyone's effort to wage war against the identity thief but, are just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to efforts needed to combat this ever increasing crime. Don't get over confident with too little information. Consider looking into the professional services of a credit watch service. A credit watch service has the whole picture of what it takes to catch a thief and protect your good name and/or credit. Some are better than others so do what the Federal Trade Commission recommends on all contracts for a service or product: read the small print.
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