Being a victim of identity theft is stressful. Fraud alerts can sound scary, but they are meant to be an added layer of protection for you. A fraud alert on credit report lets people know you may have been a victim of fraud. Lenders will need to take extra steps before you can receive a new line of credit or a loan, so they can verify.
Essentially, a fraud alert is a roadblock in the credit approval process to make sure it’s actually you applying for it. While a fraud alert can be a good thing, you probably have some questions about what they are and how they work on your credit report.
What Is A Fraud Alert On Credit Report?
To start, a fraud alert is defined as a notice placed on your credit report. It’s sent to all of the credit reporting bureaus notifying them that your identity may have been stolen. The notifications are typically sent out when a new line of credit is being opened in your name.
The good news is that a credit report fraud alert can stop someone else from opening a new line of credit or taking out a loan in your name. If you are the one taking out the credit, fraud alert can slow down the process since you’ll need to verify your identity. There are three types of fraud alerts:
- Initial Fraud Alert
This type of fraud alert is only valid for 90 days, it can then be renewed for another 90 days
- Extended Fraud Alert
Extended alerts are valid for 7 years. You must submit a police report and report identity theft to the credit bureaus
- Active Military Alert
Active military is for those enlisted in the military who may be at risk of a data breach while deployed. It will remain valid for one year.
How To Place A Fraud Alert
Being a victim of identity theft can be overwhelming. The first thing you should do is place your fraud alert to stop any further damage. Depending on the issue, make sure you have all proper documentation such as:
- State-issued identification such as a driver’s license
- Proof of address such as a utility bill
- Identity-theft report if you’re looking at an extended fraud alert
How Long Does A Fraud Alert Remain On Credit Report?
How long a fraud alert stays on your credit report depends on what type you file. The maximum amount of time a fraud alert will stay on your credit report is 7 years.
If you’re concerned about the fraud alert affecting your credit, it won’t. It’s in place to protect you, not hurt you. You can place a fraud alert as a precautionary measure, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to hop online and get instant approval for credit cards. It’s best to only place a fraud alert when necessary, because later on you’ll have to remove a fraud alert on credit report.
How To Clear Fraud Alert On Credit Report
You can remove a fraud alert from your credit report before it expires. This can usually be done over the phone as long as you have the right documentation. You can also do so by mail or online, but you will need to send information to each credit bureau.
Experian Fraud Alert Removal
Contact Experian or log into your online account. You can upload documents directly to their fraud center here. Mail can be sent to:
- Experian, PO Box 9554, Allen, TX, 75013
Transunion Fraud Removal
You can remove your Transunion fraud alert in the online portal, or call them at: 888-909-8872.
Equifax Fraud Removal
To remove your fraud alert through Equifax, log into your online account or call 800-525-6285. You can also mail it in here:
- Equifax Information Services LLC, PO Box 105069
In almost every case, these agencies have a strict time limit to resolve the issues. Keep in mind that clearing a fraud alert on your credit report does not restore any damage that may have been done to your credit score. You may have to request additional support from a team of experienced Consumer Attorneys for more help when you report identity theft to credit bureaus.
Who Placed A Fraud Alert On My Credit Report?
The only person who can place a fraud alert on your account is you. Anyone else who tries to do so won’t be able to, and if you see this as an issue that’s what a fraud alert is for.
What Happens If I Put A Fraud Alert On My Credit Report?
Once the fraud alert is in place, all of the credit bureaus will be notified. It won’t freeze your accounts, but you won’t be able to apply for an online loan or credit card and be approved without verifying who you are.
Placing a fraud alert on your account will signify to credit bureaus that you have been a victim of identity theft. If you have more questions, please contact Consumer Attorneys.