Have you ever received a letter in the mail from a store, service or bank that warned you that their security measures had been breached but they are sure that your information remained safe and secure? Did you take their word for it? Or maybe you did a cursory search of your credit or debit card statement immediately after receiving it just to make sure there were no unnecessary chargers. Checking for charges is good, but setting up a credit fraud alert may be even better, if not safer.
What is a credit fraud alert? A credit fraud alert can be set initially for 90 days. By providing a telephone number, during that time whenever someone tries to open a new account in your name or extend the credit limit to existing accounts you will be contacted. Don’t worry though, because you can put a code on the account which will lift the alert for legitimate requests that you, a business or a bank is making on your behalf. Extended alerts as well as alerts specifically designed for active duty military.
Extended alerts are recommended in the event that you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud. Those may last up to 7 years. You may also request an additional free credit report when placing an alert on your credit, with access to one free for the 90 alerts and two free available to you for the extended alerts.
Although they are crafted to last for 90 days to 7 years, you can modify or lift your alert prior to the scheduled end date.
Once your receive your credit reports be sure to look for:
- accounts you did not apply for or open
- information about current accounts that is incorrect (such as change of address or balance)
- unexplained outstanding balances, and;
- incorrect factual information such as your Social Security Number, names, address or employer.
You can place a credit fraud alert on your credit report by Continue reading When, where, why and how: Credit fraud alerts