In the case of identity theft, the victim should take quick actions and seek advice from some credit repair specialist. You have maintained a good credit record, and you need no credit card repair. However, after identity theft, you might have to repair credit fast. First of all, you need to protect your identity. A criminal with your identity in hand can open fraudulent credit accounts and damage your credit history. You can avoid these dire happenings by placing fraud alarms.
Let’s see what you should do if identity theft occurs.
Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian are the main credit reporting agencies in the country collecting information related to your credit debts or bankruptcy. So, if your identity is stolen, first of all, notify these agencies. This will prevent abuse of your credit.
What is a fraud alert
You can request any of these three credit reporting agencies to place an initial fraud alert for you. This alert is placed on your credit file. You simply have to contact one agency, and that agency will notify the other two agencies. However, if you want, you can notify all three agencies yourself.
The initial fraud alert is for 90 days. It is extremely difficult for someone to misuse your identity during these 90 days. No business can issue a credit to someone without proper identity verification.
You can again renew your 90s fraud alert after 90 days. There are three ways you can apply for this 90 days initial fraud alert. However, you must keep in mind that this 90 days initial fraud alert may not be that useful option if your SSN (social security number) is exposed. It might take years to misuse SSN to commit identity theft. It is not easy to replace your social security number.
There is a 7-year alert as well. However, you can avail this alert by mail only. And, if you are an identity theft victim and you want to apply for this alert, you will have to produce a copy of your identity theft report. You can get this report from a law enforcement agency which might be a federal, state or local agency.
How to apply for a fraud alert
Find the contact details of the three credit report agencies and request for placing a fraud alert on your credit.
Applying for a fraud alert by phone
You just need to make a call to apply for this 90-days initial alert. However, you cannot apply for a 7-years fraud alert by phone. And when you call, you are not going to speak to a person. This call will be handled by an automated system. You will have to provide some information including social security number, birth date, and mailing address. The mailing address should be the address where you receive your bills.
Applying for a fraud alert by online
Visit the website of any of the three credit reporting agencies. You can find a dedicated web page to help identity theft victims.
On the website of Experian, you will find online tools for adding and removing a fraud alert, information for responding to identity theft and a reviewing credit report.
On the website of Equifax, you can fill out initial alerts. You can also download and print fraud alert request form. Fill out the fraud alert request form and mail or fax it.
On the website of TransUnion, you can fill out an online form.
Applying for a fraud alert by mail
If you want to apply for an alert by mail, you should send proof of identity and a cover letter outlining your fraud alert request.
You can also consider blocking new lines of credit by freezing your credit.