According to the United States Department of Justice, identity theft and fraud are “all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”
If I’m the victim of identity theft, should I set a fraud alert with the credit bureaus?
Yes. You have the right to ask the credit bureaus to place fraud alerts in your file, letting potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures that protect you.
Are there different types of fraud alerts?
There are two types of alerts: initial and extended. An initial fraud alert stays in your file for 90 days. An extended alert stays in your file for seven years. If you ask for an extended alert, you will have to provide an identity theft report, which includes a copy of a report you have filed with a federal, state or local law enforcement agency.
How do I set a fraud alert?
You can call any of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert:
Equifax: (800) 525-6285 Experian: (888) 397-3742 TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
To place an initial or extended fraud alert, the credit bureaus will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number.
If I’m enrolled in Identity Theft Protection Services, can I still become a victim of identity theft?
Identity protection services reduce your risk of identity theft; however, you may still become a victim of identity theft. Because you are subscribed to our monitoring services, you will receive an early warning about the theft and be able to start the recovery process faster. In addition, your service includes Identity Theft Insurance and Restoration services to help alleviate some of the financial burden of identity theft and guide you through the process.