Protect Yourself From Credit Fraud With A Fraud Alert

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Stop Fraud! So after getting my Yahoo password phished, my wife reminded me that we should put a fraud alert on our credit file. I first heard about this from my friend Walter a while ago, but we never got around to it.

This is a flag that the major credit bureaus (experian, equifax, and TransUnion) attach to your credit report. If someone (including yourself) tries to open up a new credit account, the lender is supposed to (though not required by law) to contact you by phone to make sure that you really do want to open a new account.

Keep in mind that this applies to applying for a new credit card, obtaining a car loan, purchasing a cell phone, etc…

Setting up a fraud alert is pretty easy. There are three major credit bureaus you can call, but I prefer to do these things online. If you go to https://www.experian.com/fraud/, you can apply for the initial security alert (90 days) via the internet. They will forward the alert to the other two credit bureaus so you shouldn’s have to call them. One other benefit is that they let you print out your credit history online for free.

If you live in California, the protections are much better. According to California Law SB 168, you have the right to freeze your credit record at each bureau. This makes it impossible to issue credit in your name, even for someone armed with your name, address, Social Security Number, etc… To do this, you do need to contact each bureau in writing and send in $10.

For instructions on the benefits of a credit freeze and how to contact each credit bureau, check out this page on the Fight Identity Theft website.

Apparently similar laws apply to the following states at the time of this writing (CT, IL, LA, ME, NV, NC, TX, VT, WA).

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3 responses

  1. Avatar for Jack Franz
    Jack Franz May 22nd, 2006

    We just heard on the TV that about 93000 records have been stolen from the Veterans Administration, of which I could be one of them. I would like to have a fraud alert put on my credit report to avoid identity theft, I am retired and can not afford to have identity theft. If you need more information please contract me at the above website. I understand that you will contact the other two credit reporting agencies, is that correct? Thank you.

  2. Avatar for Frank William Burks, Sr.
    Frank William Burks, Sr. June 12th, 2006

    I am a veteran and have been notified by the VA that my records may have been stolen and are now in the hands of someone who may try to use my identity. I therefore request that I be furnished a free copy of my credit report and a fraud alert be placed on my credit report. I am retired and cannot afford involvement with identity theft. It is my understanding that you will also notify the the other two credit reporting agencies. If additional information is needed, please e-mail me at jfburks3@cox.net .
    Thanks very much for your assistance.

  3. Avatar for tina
    tina September 4th, 2007

    carry on the necessary items in your wallet. one credit card max. one atm card.
    do not carry your social security card.
    period.
    utilize the fraud alert if you are even slightly afraid that something has been compromised.
    ask me. i know.