Don't wait on notification from creditors
Self-detection, along with proactive identity theft protection, is the key to a quick recovery. If you wait for a bank or creditor to notify you of a problem, the damage is already done.
It’s important to frequently review your accounts and records for misuse or fraud. Victims who discovered fraud on their own experienced less damage than those who had been notified by a financial institution or government agency.
It’s also recommended to monitor accounts electronically. In fact, victims who discovered fraud through electronic monitoring detect the misuse 18 days sooner than when monitoring by paper.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you are a victim of identity theft, you’ve got to take the proper steps quickly.
1.Contact one of the three credit bureaus. Whichever bureau you contact is required by law to contact the other two. 1.Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 2.Experian: 1-888-397-3742 3.TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 2.Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can do this by going to www.ftc.gov or if your one of our Members call us at 1-877-871-5977 3.Contact any other government agencies affected. Agencies to consider: 1.Postal Inspection Services if you believe an identity thief has used a change of address form. 2.The Social Security Administration if an identity thief may be using your Social Security number. 3.The Internal Revenue Service if you think you may be a victim of tax or employment fraud. 4.Contact any businesses or accounts that may be involved: the location your items were stolen, accounts with fraudulent charges,
businesses that leaked your information, etc.
5.File a police report. You can turn to your local police department or file in the community where your identity was stolen.
Placing Fraud Alerts:
If you suspect that your identification information has been or could be used fraudulently, you can setup a fraud alert. A fraud alert inserts a statement on your credit report which instructs a lender to contact you to verify by telephone if someone tries to open a new car loan, credit card, or other account that requires credit in your name. The statement added to your credit report usually says that you, "may be a victim of fraud, please call me on my phone number before extending credit." If you are not reachable by phone, or you do not recognize the creditor, the account should not be opened. A fraud alert is NOT a cure-all because creditors could bypass contacting you and still open a new line of credit in your name. A credit freeze is an even stronger option to protect your identity than a fraud alert. Credit freezes are explained in the Credit Freeze section of your Command Center once you become a member.
How Long does a Fraud Alert Stay on my Credit Report?
A typical fraud alert is free and lasts 90 days. You can however, extend this temporary fraud alert as often as necessary without a fee. If you have been the victim of identity theft, and have a police report from a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency, you can extend your fraud alert for seven years. To activate a seven year fraud alert, you must send a request by certified mail along with a copy of a police report to each of the credit bureaus and their addresses listed below.
If you are an active-duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces you can activate your fraud alert for 1 year at no charge and without a police report.
How do I Setup a Fraud Alert?
To setup a fraud alert message on your credit report, you need to contact any one of the three major credit bureaus. Each credit bureau is required to report your fraud alert to all major credit report agencies. Ninety-day fraud alerts are free, but you must follow the procedure outlined by each credit bureau to successfully activate an alert. Equifax and Experian allow you to activate a fraud alert online, while TransUnion requires you to apply by mail or telephone. We recommend you use a cell phone or telephone you are likely to answer, in case a creditor contacts you using the statement from your fraud alert. A fraud alert is typically active within 24 hours of your telephone or online request
Equifax Experion Trans Union
Consumer Fraud Division Experian's National Fraud Victim Assistance Department
Phone: 800-525-6285 Consumer Assistance Phone: 800-680-7289
or 404-885-8000 Phone: 888-397-3742 Fax: 714-447-6034
Fax: 770-375-2821 P.O. Box 2104 P.O.Box 6790
P.O.Box 74041 Allen, TX 75013 Fullerton, CA 92634-6790
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Online Fraud Alert Signup: Apply by phone or mail
Online Fraud Alert Sign up: http://www.experian.com/fraud/
Any Drawbacks to Having Fraud Alerts?
If you routinely apply for new credit cards or special store savings that require viewing of your credit report, you won't be in and out of the store as quickly. Since fraud alerts ask the store or credit officer to contact you by phone number; if you don't have your cell phone handy, you may find yourself in a pinch.
How do I Remove a Fraud Alert?
A fraud alert can only be removed by requesting in writing to each of the credit bureaus using the addresses above. We recommend you send this request using certified mail, return receipt requested
Pulling Credit Reports:
You should pull your free credit report from annualcreditreport.com to review the accounts listed and make sure they are indeed yours. Pull one credit report from a different bureau every four months to access your credit reports all year long. To obtain your Free Credit Report, please follow the steps listed below:
1. Go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com
2. Choose your state from the drop down menu & click “Request Report”
3. Enter your personal information & click “Continue”
4. Select which credit bureau to receive your credit report from. Note: Federal legislation requires all three bureaus to provide you with one free credit report each year. We recommend that you get a report from one bureau every four months to get a more accurate view of your credit report over time.
5. Click “Next” & follow the directions
If you find fraudulent accounts, contact the merchant and let them know you have been a victim of identity theft. You may need to speak to someone in the company’s Risk Department to complete an identity theft affidavit and have the account closed. It may also be necessary and helpful to go into your local police station and file a police report stating that you have been a victim of identity theft.
ID Monitoring v. Credit Monitoring
According to an independent study conducted by the Gartner Group, "Identity scoring and monitoring is more effective than credit report monitoring to watch for potentially fraudulent activity. That's to be expected."Credit monitoring and identity monitoring are not the same. Both offer protection, however identity monitoring, as we offer it, is uniquely designed to alert consumers to unauthorized attempts to use their identity in the earliest stages of an identity assumption. This proactive approach helps customers avoid the devastating effects of financial and non-financial misuse of their identity. Credit monitoring was developed to help consumer's find errors in their credit report before applying for a loan. Studies show credit reports can have up to a 79% error rate. There are other differences between identity monitoring and credit monitoring. When protecting personal information, consumers need a secure, accurate, user friendly solution that doesn't increase the risk to their identity.
Identity Monitoring is Secure
Signing up for an identity monitoring service is simple and secure. You give us a call, provide your name, address and telephone number and we begin the process. You are not required to provide a Social Security Number. Any time you release your Social Security Number there is a risk of it being abused. Credit monitoring firms require this information. The credit bureaus that offer credit monitoring services profit by reselling the sensitive personal information (including Social Security Numbers) they gather from consumers for use in credit marketing campaigns. Once this sensitive information has been sold, the bureaus cannot guarantee its security.
Identity Monitoring is Accurate
The scope of credit monitoring is limited to financial activity. Twenty-two percent of identity theft victims report that their identity was used in some "non-financial" way such as commission of a crime or filing of false tax returns. Identity monitoring addresses both financial and nonfinancial misuse of personal information. According to the Public Interest Research Group, 79% of credit reports contain some type of error. This accuracy raises the issue of credit monitoring as a reliable solution for identity theft prevention. Identity monitoring with our solution, EarlyAlertT, combined with an AIG consumer Identity Theft insurance policy has resulted in a claim rate of less than 1 per 100,000.
Identity Monitoring is User Friendly
Credit monitoring firms offer primarily web based customer service. On-line service can be a challenge to a certain segment of the population and offers limited comfort during what can be a trying experience. Identity monitoring, as we offer it, provides customers with live telephone support. Postal service sold private data Government warns public on fake e-mails Related News Payment processor reports records theft Credit monitoring firms provide customers with actual credit reports via the Internet, which can be confusing and difficult to interpret. When there is an alert, our Customer Service Representatives call potential victims directly. They offer the necessary information and the appropriate steps required for the proper course of action.
Identity Monitoring - High Level Protection
Checking ones credit history prior to applying for a loan is important, but as a tool for protecting individuals from the costly, time consuming perils associated with identity theft in a secure, accurate user friendly way, credit monitoring offers the highest level of protection.
If your identity occupied by a criminal, we will aid in the recovery process in two ways. We can either assist you in the resolution process, or completely do it for you. If you simply want assistance, we provide a step-by- step instruction manual detailing the resolution process, including guidance for avoiding future complications, and a toll-free victim assistance number for access to specialists trained in identity theft recovery. This service allows you to correct identity theft problems themselves, without the assistance or expense of an attorney. You may also choose to have us assume and reorganize the recovery process on your behalf. In this case, we can further minimize the time and hassle involved.