How To Place Credit Fraud Alerts Or Credit Flags?

How to Place Credit Fraud alerts Or Credit Flags?

You must have heard your elders say that even the walls have ears. Well, they’re mostly never wrong. And remember, with the age of Artificial Intelligence and other development in software, it seems like you are always being watched. In such a situation your personal information must be protected, considering which, your credit report is full of sensitive private details. And if such information lands in the wrong hands, it can be misused, which can prove very harmful to you. In today’s world, criminals are experts and hackers know every loophole, and hence, you are exposed to data breaches like never before. With numerous cases of theft and identity being stolen, you need to be proactive about the privacy of your credit. This is not optional but a downright necessity today. Because if not protected now, you may face theft anytime in the future. See, it is crucial to understand that you cannot keep your data 100% safe from data breaches and theft, that is practically not possible. However, it does not hurt to add layers of protection to your credit reports. It is only essential to safeguard them. A fraud alert offers you just that, an easy and free way for accomplishing that goal. Credit Bazaar wants its customers to become vigilant and here, we show you how you can place a credit fraud alert, by taking a few simple steps:

What are credit fraud alerts or credit flags?

Credit fraud alerts, also known as “credit flags”, are alerts that are placed with the credit reporting bureaus. These alerts inform those bureaus that you are currently experiencing, or maybe at risk of, credit fraud or identity theft. When you issue a fraud alert, the credit reporting agency will do two primary things, which are first, to notify the other credit reporting bureaus that there may be deceitful activity on your accounts. Secondly, inform the creditors that they may need to be extra cautious and might have to take extra steps before verifying and opening fresh new accounts under your name. You can place a fraud alert or credit flag with any credit reporting bureau for free. Moreover, you will also not be charged for the additional steps the creditors will take for verifying any new accounts.

If you doubt that you have been a victim of identity theft, you should alert any one of the three major credit rating bureaus right away. All the bureaus will accept fraud alerts as long as you give them the necessary information such as the Social Security Number and potentially other personally identifying details. Unfortunately, requesting something such as a fraud alert is only a part of the solution. Credit report flags only request the creditors to think about being more cautious and alert when allowing fresh new accounts to be opened under your name. If you are gravely worried about credit card fraud, the best option is to request a credit freeze instead and then sign up for a reliable credit monitoring service.

Fraud alerts make it more tricky for identity thieves to open accounts under your name. The lender checks your credit report whenever you apply for new credit. If you’ve put a fraud alert on your credit report, the lender will be informed when it pulls your credit. Primarily, a fraud alert is a notification on a consumer credit report for alerting a lender who is inspecting credit that the consumer may be a probable victim of identity theft. When a lender observes that a credit report has a fraud alert, it has to take extra steps to confirm the identity of the candidate before going along with the application process. There are a few prime times when you may want to think of setting up a fraud alert. One of those situations is when you’ve been victimized before as well. You should also consider a fraud alert if you’re concerned about identity theft due to losing significant financial documents, a recent data breach or other circumstances that could result in someone accessing your credit report devoid of your permission. Remember that placing a fraud alert on your credit reports doesn’t impact your credit score, except for restraining access by possible fraudsters who might damage it.

How To Put A Flag On Your Credit Report Or Social Security Number?

There are a few methods in which you can flag your social security number. The principal way of doing this is through a fraud alert, that will put extra protections established for people trying to use or access your social security number or other private account information linked with your credit.

To get a fraud alert or credit flag placed with any of the three credit agencies, you must do the following:

 How to Place Credit Fraud alerts Or Credit Flags?

Step 1: Contact The Credit Bureaus:

One thing identity criminals are known for is making use of stolen Social Security numbers and other personal details for opening credit accounts and bank loans in the names of other people. Generally, before opening a new account for you, the lender will check with at least one of the Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs), for determining if you’re a good credit risk depending on your credit history. Every CRA collects information about how you use credit, including whether a business has turned your debt over to a collections bureau and if you’ve filed for bankruptcy. These bureaus are primarily the gatekeepers for your credit activity, so it’s crucial to inform them if you doubt that your identity has been stolen. Contact one of the three credit reporting bureaus, such as Equifax, Experian, or Transunion. You can email or call, but we recommend you to use the online reporting alternative every service makes available. Whichever one you inform must alert the other two, but it doesn’t hurt to contact all three agencies instantly for ensuring the most immediate protection.

Step 2: Put Any one of Three Fraud Alerts On Your Credit Report:

These are the three kinds of fraud alerts that you can apply on your credit reports:

  • Initial (90-day) fraud alert
  • Active duty alert
  • Extended fraud alert

Initial fraud alert

Do you doubt that your wallet, credit card number or any financial information is lost or has been stolen? Then, you can immediately ask for an initial fraud alert to be put on your credit file. A general initial fraud alert lasts 90 days. During that time, it should be more tricky for an identity thief to open accounts in your name because the alert requires a business to confirm your identity before a new line of credit is accepted. You can apply for an initial fraud alert by mail, phone, or online, using the contact information given. Calling? The fraud alert hotline for every CRA is automated, so you will not speak to an actual person. You’ll be asked to provide your birth date, Social Security number, and the numbers in your mailing address. The CRA websites will take you to where you can mail a written fraud alert letter or can submit an online request. Remember that though the initial fraud alerts last only 90 days, however, they can be renewed. You just have to remind yourself of doing the same. Or else, they’ll expire.  Furthermore, requesting such an alert also permits you to order one free credit report from every credit reporting bureau.

Active duty alert

If you’re a service member and about to be deployed, you can put an active duty alert on your credit report that is valid for one year and can be renewed for the span of your deployment. This can be very useful in protecting your identity while deployed because a business will have to take additional steps before providing credit in your name. For receiving such a type of protection, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity with a driver’s license, passport, government-issued ID card, or birth certificate. The credit reporting bureaus also will remove your name from their marketing list for pre-screened credit cards for two years, which can offer an additional layer of protection.

Extended fraud alert

So, done? That is all? Am I protected now? Not really! If your Social Security number has been out in the open, you’ll probably need longer protection. This is because your Social Security number might not be utilized immediately. Criminals may wait, using it to perform identity theft months or even years later on. In that situation, the initial 90-day alert probably wouldn’t help or provide enough protection. And you can’t replace your Social Security number as easily as you can attain a new credit card number. The safest option in this situation is to put an extended fraud alert, which is free to place and remove—and is valid for seven years. An extended fraud alert allows you to access your credit report only when companies take steps to confirm your identity. It’s obtainable only by mail and only for identity theft victims who prove their identity has been stolen. What this means is you must give your statement about the ID theft and an identity theft report in the form of a police report.

An extended fraud alert requires more details and information, so every agency has paperwork for you to fill out:

  • Experian provides a letter for the extended alerts, initial alerts, and fraud alert removals that you can mail to the given address along with a copy of a government-issued ID card and one copy of bank statement, utility bill, etc.
  • TransUnion provides an extended alert form that you must print and mail to the address given.
  • Equifax also provides an extended alert form that you must mail or fax along with appropriate documents.

Step 3: Removal of the fraud alert from your credit report

Once you put any of these three fraud alerts on your credit file, you can simply let them expire or remove them. If you choose the removal of a fraud alert before its expiration, you’ll need to submit a request to the suitable credit reporting bureau. There are reference letters available online that can also be used for the removal of a fraud alert or you can put a written request with certain forms of documentation sent to the address they mention on their websites. However, if you’ve activated the credit agency’s automatic fraud alert as a part of a product subscription and want to deactivate earlier, you’ll have to contact the bureau in writing. Generally, for some agencies, you can remove a fraud alert whenever you want by logging in online. The primary thing to remember when dealing with the disclosure of your personal information or stealing your identity is to act instantly. If you can act in response before the identity thieves do, it’ll assist you to stay a step in front of the criminals. Finally, update your details with every CRA for ensuring that they contact you in case anything comes up or the alert prompts strange activity.

CONCLUSION: Fraud alerts are also known as one-call alerts in the world of credit. Even though the three major credit agencies are completely distinct credit reporting companies, you just need to request a fraud alert from any one of them for getting the job done. Since every type of fraud alert mentioned above lasts for a particular period, you must mark your calendar for reminding you about the expiry of your alert. Such steps taken are effective techniques for protecting you from becoming a fraud victim. Just ramp up your protection based on the possible risk of fraud. Credit Bazaar aims at providing complete credit assistance to its customers by offering various services es such as Theft Protection Solutions, so you do not have to worry about any identity theft or data breaches, for that matter. Security of your credit information is our priority and we aim at giving complete assistance for the same so that you can be relaxed about the safety of your credit information.

For any queries regarding Credit Score improvement or Loan contact Credit Bazaar CR Arcade 2nd Floor, Opposite Delta Garden, Next to Shree Mahalaxmi Restaurant, Mira Road East, Thane: 401107

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *