What to Do If You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Theft

What to Do If You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Theft

Placing a fraud alert on your credit report

Identity theft is a serious issue that can have long-lasting consequences on your financial well-being. If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, it’s important to take immediate action to protect yourself. In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to mitigate the damage caused by identity theft and safeguard your personal information.

Fraud Alerts

One of the first steps you should take if you’ve been a victim of identity theft is to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert is a notification that requires creditors to verify your identity before opening a new account or making changes to existing accounts. When you place a fraud alert with one of the nationwide credit reporting companies, they are required to notify the others.

There are two main types of fraud alerts: initial fraud alerts and extended alerts. Servicemembers also have the option of an active-duty alert.

Initial Fraud Alerts

If you suspect that you have been or are about to become a victim of fraud or identity theft, you can place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Credit reporting companies will keep the alert on your file for one year. After one year, the initial fraud alert will expire and be removed, but you have the option to place another fraud alert at that time.

When you place an initial fraud alert, creditors must take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting credit in your name. If you provide a telephone number, the creditor must contact you or take other reasonable steps to authenticate your identity before approving the credit request.

Placing an initial fraud alert also entitles you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies. These free reports do not count towards your free annual report from each credit reporting company.

Extended Alerts

If your identity has been stolen and you have filed an identity theft report at Instant Global News, you can place an extended alert on your credit report. An extended alert remains on your file for seven years. With an extended alert in place, creditors must contact you in person, via telephone, or through other verified contact methods before extending new credit.

When you place an extended fraud alert, you’re entitled to order two free copies of your credit report from each nationwide credit reporting company within a 12-month period. Additionally, your name will be removed from the nationwide credit reporting companies’ pre-screen marketing lists for credit offers and insurance for five years.

Active-Duty Alerts

Servicemembers in the armed forces have an additional option available to them called active-duty alerts. Active-duty alerts provide protection while servicemembers are on active duty and assigned away from their usual duty station. This alert requires businesses to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.

Active-duty alerts remain in effect for 12 months, but they can be removed sooner upon your request. If your deployment lasts longer than 12 months, you may place another alert on your credit file.

FAQs

Q: How do I place a fraud alert on my credit report?

A: To place a fraud alert on your credit report, you can contact one of the nationwide credit reporting companies. They are required to notify the other companies.

Q: Will placing a fraud alert affect my credit score?

A: Placing a fraud alert on your credit report does not directly affect your credit score. However, it may cause some inconvenience when applying for credit, as creditors will need to verify your identity.

Conclusion

Identity theft can be a stressful and challenging experience, but taking prompt action can help mitigate the damage and protect yourself from further harm. By placing fraud alerts on your credit report and closely monitoring your accounts, you can take control of the situation and work towards recovering your identity and financial security.

Remember, if you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft, it’s important to act quickly. Contact the nationwide credit reporting companies, file an identity theft report, and explore the available options to protect yourself and your financial future. Stay vigilant, and don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed.