Data breaches are happening at big name stores where you might like to shop — Target and Home Depot, to name a few – making it important for you to know about fraud alerts.
What is a fraud alert?
If you suspect or have confirmed your identity has been stolen, you need to place a Fraud Alert on your credit report. This lets creditors and lenders know your credit report may have been compromised. They can also take additional steps to protect you from future theft.
An initial fraud alert can be set up for 90 days making it difficult for anyone (including you) to obtain credit. If the attempt is made, the credit reporting agencies will contact you to verify the request and your identity.
An extended fraud alert is the same as the 90 day alert except that it lasts for seven (7) years and is a confirmed incidence of identity theft provable with a police report.Why set it up?
- It’s FREE. All you have to do is call one of the three credit reporting agencies and ask for the alert to be added. The agency is required to tell the other two agencies about the alert. You will need to provide proof of your identity.
- You’re protected. An initial fraud alert will prevent identity thieves from opening more accounts in your name giving you time to clear up the bad accounts.
How can you protect yourself from identity theft?
Many people don’t realize there are simple ways a thief can steal your credit including:
- Going through your garbage. SOLUTION: Shred anything with your name, address, and other personal information on it.
- Personal information from your wallet. SOLUTION: Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and never carry your social security card in your wallet or purse. Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
- Information gained from mail at a former address. SOLUTION: Complete a change of address form when you move.
- Acquisition of personal information over the internet. SOLUTION: Always use a secure internet connection when accessing your personal and financial information.
- Stolen personal records. SOLUTION: Lock up your personal documents in your home and office so there is limited or no access for a potential thief.
While you can’t be protected all the time, it’s good to know there are some preventative measures and cures for identity theft such as fraud alert.
If you are concerned your identity may have been stolen contact Go Clean Credit and we will send you a document with detailed instructions and steps to follow for your specific situation.
If you’re looking for ways to clean your credit, make an appointment for a free consultation with our team today!