What Do I Do If I’ve Been A Victim Of Identity Theft?

You can add a fraud warning or security freeze to your credit report by getting in touch with international credit reporting organizations. Additionally, you can ask them to stop or eliminate bogus debts.

When a fraud warning is in place, creditors who examine your credit report are obligated to take further measures to confirm your identity before authorizing the creation of a new account, issuing a new card, or raising the credit limit on an already-existing account at the request of the customer. One of the three national credit reporting organizations is required to alert the others when you file a fraud alert on your credit report with them.

Initial and extended alerts are the two primary forms of fraud alerts. An active duty alert is another choice available to service members.

First Fraud Warnings

If you think you have been or are likely to be a victim of fraud or identity theft, you have the option to place a preliminary fraud alert on your credit report. For a year, credit reporting agencies will maintain that notice on your records. The initial fraud alert will expire and be removed after a year. At that point, you have the choice to issue another fraud notice.

When you issue an initial fraud alert, creditors are required to take reasonable measures to verify your identity before approving any additional credit requests made in your name. If you supply a phone number, the lender is required to contact you or take other reasonable measures to confirm that you are the person requesting credit before approving the loan.

Free Credit Report

You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the national credit reporting organizations when you initially place a fraud alert on your file. These free reports are not included in the annual free report you are entitled to from each credit reporting agency.

After your identity has been stolen and you have reported it, you can also set an extended alert on your credit report.

You have the right to request two free copies of your credit report from each national credit reporting firm over the course of a year when you set an extended fraud alert on your file.

A prolonged warning is valid for seven years. Before granting new credit, the creditor must make contact with you either in person, via the phone number you provide, or by another method you specify in order to confirm that you are the one making the credit request.

According to federal law, you are entitled to free freeze and unfreeze credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, the three major national credit reporting agencies. Until you release the freeze, a security freeze, also known as a credit freeze, prevents potential creditors from seeing your credit reports and others from creating accounts in your name. An individual who seeks your credit report for insurance, job, or tenant screening purposes is not covered by federal legislation that mandates free security freezes.

When you impose a security freeze with one credit reporting agency, they won’t let the other credit reporting agencies know—unlike with fraud alerts. If you want to put a security freeze on each of the three national credit reporting agencies, you must contact them separately.

A freeze can prevent identity thieves from creating new accounts in your name because the majority of companies won’t open credit accounts without reviewing your credit record. Be aware that a freeze won’t stop identity thieves from using stolen information to open new accounts.

Active duty alerts, which offer security to service members while they are on active duty and assigned to duties away from their customary duty station, are another option offered to military personnel, including those in the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. These warnings are valid for a year.

Before opening a new account, issuing a second credit card on an existing account, or raising the credit limit on an existing account after you post an active duty alert on your credit report, creditors must make a reasonable effort to verify that the person making the request is truly you. Additionally, the national credit reporting companies will take your name off their pre-screen marketing lists for insurance and credit offers for a period of two years.

The removal of fake information and debts from your credit report, known as blocking, is another option available to you if you’ve been the victim of identity theft. You must accomplish this by sending the following to the credit reporting companies:

A report of identity theft, which can be made at IdentityTheft.gov

Identification Documentation

A letter detailing your credit report’s details and false debts

You can obtain a sample letter to send to credit reporting agencies through IdentityTheft.gov. Keep in mind that you can only utilize identity theft reports for debts brought on by the crime. If you make a materially false statement about being a victim of identity theft or if you received goods, services, or money as a result of the prohibited transaction, credit reporting organizations may refuse to block or rescind a block.

The credit reporting organization must remove the data from your credit report within four business days of receiving your request. Additionally, they must report identity theft to the businesses that supplied the information. Once contacted, creditors are unable to pass over debts associated with identity theft to debt collectors.

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