Fraud Alerts – What You Need to Know About Them

Identity theft is a growing fozia shan remax. And one way of controlling it is to be notified anytime a credit card or bank loan is opened under your name. Sure, you can check your credit report regularly, but in addition to that, it’s never a bad idea to call the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your accounts.

What is a fraud alert? Fraud alerts are flags on your credit reports that notify creditors of possible fraud or unauthorized activity on your accounts. By placing a fraud alert on your credit report, this means that any time you, or someone else, opens up a new credit card, bank loan, or the like, you will be notified for clarification and authorization before anything is done by the creditor. Let’s take a walk-through on the process of placing a fraud alert.

First, call up the fraud department of each of the credit bureaus. It is best to use your cell phone for contact, since if you are at a store applying for credit, the creditors can reach you quickly and easily with that number. Ask to have your account flagged for fraud. Within 24 hours, this will be activated. You should also receive information in the mail regarding the confirmation of your placed fraud alert.

In addition to protecting your account, you will also be removed from pre-approved credit and insurance offers for two years after placement.

Once you place the fraud alert, your account will be flagged for up to 90 days. It does not automatically renew, and will drop off on it’s own after that 90 day period.

If you would like to have it applied for another 90 days, you will need contact the credit bureaus stating you would like it applied for longer. This will have to be done every 90 days. If you do not feel like keeping up on this, or don’t have the time, it is a great idea to consider services like TrustedID, Lifelock or Debix to do this for you–they will not only renew your fraud alerts every 90 days with the three credit bureaus, but they will also watch your credit report for suspicious activity and notify you every time an account is opened or activity shows as abnormal.

The fraud alert does not apply to previously opened accounts. They only focus on new accounts opened after the fraud alert has been placed. This means your current credit cards and bank information will have to be monitored by you as well (or you can have a service do it for you).

Of course, renewing the alert every 90 days can be a hassle. If you have already become a victim of identity theft, you can add a victim statement to your credit report, which will stand for 7 years. In order to do this, you must have proof that you have already been victimized.

It’s always a good idea to notify creditors when applying that you have a fraud alert in place to protect yourself. This way you won’t surprise them with your flagged account and they will be assured that you know what is going on with your credit situation–something a criminal may not be in tune with.

Finally, if you want to remove a fraud alert before the 90 day period, you will need to send a written letter to the credit bureaus requesting so. Or, you can save yourself some time and postage by just letting the fraud alert expire in 90 days.

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