Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Identity Theft: Part 1, Place Fraud Alert

What should you do if you have had you ID stolen? The following is Part 1 of a multi-part series on what you should do regarding ID theft.

PART 1. Place a Fraud Alert.

There are three national credit reporting companies keeping records of your credit history. If someone has misused your personal or financial information, call one (1) of the companies and ask for an initial fraud alert be placed on your credit report. The fraud alert is FREE. The credit reporting company will ask you to provide proof of your identity. This you must do. After reporting to the company you choose to call, that company must tell the other companies about your alert.

An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The initial fraud alert stays on your report for at least 90 days, and you can renew it after the 90 days has passed. It also allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies, even if you have received a free copy within the passed 12 months. Be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.

So, how do you do this?
Lets take it step by step.

  1. CONTACT one (1) credit reporting company.
           Report you are an identiy theft victim.
           Ask the company to put a fraud alert on your credit line.
           Confirm that the company you call will contact the other 2 companies.

  1. Update your files. Order a free credit report. The company you speak with will explain to you how you can do this. They should also explain to you some rights you have.
  2. Mark you calendar. The fraud alert is good for 90 days. You can renew it.
  3. Record the dates you made calls or sent letters.
  4. Keep a copy of ALL letters you send out.

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