Introduction: When Should You Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports
Should You Place a Fraud Report?
Do you think you might have been a victim of identity theft recently? Are you serving in the military and are about to be called into an active duty tour for the next year? Or are you certain that you have become a victim of identity theft and you have already filed a report regarding the incident with your local authorities? If you can answer “yes” to any of these three questions, then you will find that a fraud alert on your credit report can be a very useful tool to deter fraud happening under the auspices of your identity. The good news is that placing a fraud alert on your credit report is super easy to do and will only take a few moments of your time today.
The Different Kinds of Fraud Alerts
There are three different kinds of fraud alerts that you can put on your credit report:
Initial Fraud Alert. This is perfect for those who believe they may have become victims of identity theft, know they have had their identity stolen and are just starting the recovery process, or there is the potential of having an identity stolen because of a lost wallet, purse, credit card, other identification materials, or financial information. This fraud alert lasts for 90 days.
Active Military Fraud Alert. If you know that you are going to be shipping overseas for the next year for an active duty tour, you can request this fraud alert. This lasts on your credit report for 1 year and is intended to minimize your risks of identity theft while deployed.
Extended Fraud Alert. If you have a confirmed case of identity theft and an active report with your local authorities, you may wish to take advantage of this fraud alert. It stays active on your credit report for 7 years.
Fraud alerts are convenient as well, because a simple request not only puts them on your credit report, but it also takes them off.
Is a Fraud Alert Right for Me?
Fraud alerts are free to put on and free to take off, and because a fraud alert requires a potential lender to verify your identification, it can be a very useful tool to deter many identity thieves who are looking for an easy mark. To place a fraud alert, you simply contact one of the credit reporting agencies and that agency will then contact the other two. A fraud alert, in many instances, also entitles you to 1 or more free credit reports that will help you potentially prevent other theft incidents.
Only you can really determine if it is right for you… but the only “inconvenience” is providing adequate identification if you want a new line of credit. Is that something you can live with in order to stop identity thieves?
Learn more about how to place a fraud alert on your credit bureaus and what steps you should take if you've been a victim of identity theft.