When a scammer strikes, they can leave your credit report suffering a massive blow back. Defaulted finance facilities are the worst possible news for credit reports, and they will almost certainly prevent you from getting credit successfully in the future. Hence, if you have been the victim of identity theft and fraud, a fraud alert is put on your credit report for all to see.
But what exactly is a fraud alert, and how does it work? Do different alerts offer different levels of protection and assistance? We take a look below.
These alerts are placed on a credit report when an individual thinks they have been the victim of identity theft, but cannot be sure. Basically, these alerts give information to potential creditors showing them that recent transactions – especially defaults – may not really be the work of the actual consumer named on the report.
In other words, it means that potential creditors need to consider the report in a different light as to how they would review a report which didn’t have an initial alert.
Getting an initial alert put on your credit report is relatively simple. All you need to do is follow these steps:
When you have identified that you have indeed been the victim of identity theft, and a fraudulent transaction turns up on your credit report, an extended alert is the next thing to be placed on your report. This alert stays in place for up to 7 years.
This alert is slightly more difficult to apply for, and you literally need to notify the credit reporting agency at the earliest possible time in order to get it. Additionally, you may be required to go out of your way to prove that the entry in dispute is indeed fraudulent.
One of the benefits of having this alert on your credit report is that you are able to access two free credit reports every 12 months. This is so that you can actively monitor your information to ensure that no other fraudulent entries are made as a result of the earlier identity theft.
If there are multiple fraud entries on your credit report, you might choose to put a complete credit freeze in place. This will essentially freeze your entire credit report, and not allow anyone to request or make changes to it. This is the ultimate level of protection – however you should be aware that you will not be able to apply for credit during this time, as the potential creditor would not be able to request and access your information.
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