Nobody likes to have their security compromised even more so to have one’s identity stolen. As much as we want to be exempted from identity theft, there is just no guarantee that we won’t be targeted by those culprits. This doesn’t mean that you should take the security of your identity lightly; on the contrary, you have to be even more alert and vigilant.
If a time will come that you think you may fall prey to credit card fraud or identity theft, don’t hesitate to take the necessary actions to prevent it from happening. For example, if you have lost your wallet with your credit cards and social security card in it, don’t delay in contacting your creditor and have the card cancelled. Then immediately have a fraud alert placed on your credit report to help prevent a possible identity theft.
The name itself explains it; fraud alert basically notifies businesses or anyone who would pull up your credit report that your information has been compromised. The entities that have pulled up your credit report would then have to take extra measures in verifying that the person applying for a loan or a credit card is indeed you.
Placing a fraud alert on your credit report is free and you can do it on your own. So there shouldn’t be a reason for you not to activate this feature, if your personal information gets compromised.
Types of Fraud Alert
There are two major types of fraud alert that you can utilize to help protect you from theft and fraud.
- Initial Fraud Alert – If you think that your personal information has been compromised for the first time and haven’t been a victim of identity theft, this type of fraud alert is what you would want to activate. The initial fraud alert lasts for Ninety (90) Days and can be renewed should you find it necessary.
- Extended Fraud Alert – This fraud alert is best for people who have been victimized by identity theft already and may still be clearing out fraudulent activities under their names. Although the function of the feature is the same as the initial fraud alert, It’s duration of seven (7) years is necessary and more convenient, instead of activating the former and keep renewing it every ninety days.
How to place a fraud alert
Get in touch with any of the three major credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) to have a fraud alert added to your credit report. You don’t need to contact all three of the bureaus, you just need to contact one. Whoever you have selected will be the one who will contact the other two bureaus to inform them of your request of fraud alert.
If you will just be placing an initial fraud alert, the three credit bureaus offer forms that you could just fill out and submit online, making the process quicker and hassle free. However if what you need is the extended fraud alert, the request will have to be in writing. This is also the case if you would request to have an alert removed from your credit report.