Fraud Alert


FRAUD ALERTS
 
 
WHO CAN REQUEST A FRAUD ALERT:
 
1.     A consumer or their representative
2.     Who in good faith believes
3.     they are about to become the victim of fraud or identity theft
[Fair Credit Reporting Act § 605A]
 
WHAT THE CREDIT AGENCIES ARE REQUIRED TO DO:
 
Time in effect. Credit reporting agencies must keep the fraud alert open for 90 days unless the consumer requests it be removed with appropriate proof of identity.
 
Refer to the other agencies. The credit reporting agency must refer the information regarding the fraud alert to the other credit reporting agencies.
 
Disclose to the consumer they are entitled to a free copy of a credit report. A consumer may request two free copies of their credit report during a 12 month period.
 
Refrain from opening new credit accounts. May not open new credit accounts unless they have taken steps to insure they have a reasonable belief they have established the identity of the person making the request.
 
Telephone verification.   Credit agencies are required to either use the number provided by the consumer to verify identity or another reasonable means.
[Fair Credit Reporting Act § 605A]
 
PROBLEMS WITH FRAUD ALERTS:  
 
Delays. As creditors will be required to either contact you by phone or take other reasonable steps to verify your identity, credit requests may be delayed.
To reduce possible delay, provide the credit bureaus with an updated cell phone number.
 
Verification process may not be a phone call. As the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not require credit agencies to verify the credit requester’s identity by phone, you might not receive a phone call when someone requests credit on your behalf.
 
Existing lines of credit are not protected. A fraud alert will not protect you froman identity thief who has access to your existing credit cards or other accounts.
 
Accounts that do not require a credit check are not protected.  A fraud alert will not prevent an identity thief from opening new accounts in your name that do not require a credit check – such as a telephone, wireless, or bank account.
 
 
Based on these limitations, do not only rely on phone calls from creditors to stop fraudulent accounts being opened in your name. Monitor your credit report so if new lines, or lines of credit not requiring a credit check are opened in your name, you can close the accounts. Carefully review your monthly credit card statements.  


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