When you look into your personal finances and see that you have been a victim of identity fraud, you should do what you can to fix the problem as soon as possible. Chances are, you probably already know about doing the following things:
- Notify creditor of identity theft
- File a report with the proper law enforcement authorities
- Let the credit bureaus know about the problem
But these are not the only things you can do to further protect your financial wellbeing when you are the victim of identity fraud. One of the best things you can do is put a fraud alert on your credit report.
90 day fraud alert
When you want to place a fraud alert on your credit report, all you have to do is call one of the credit bureaus. The credit bureau will then let the other two know of your fraud alert, and it will be placed on your credit histories with all of the major credit bureaus. The fraud alert requires creditors to verify your identity before they issue credit in your name. When you fill out a credit application by mail or by Internet, you may be called to verify the information, and that you are, indeed, setting up an account.
Extend Fraud Alert
If you are still insecure about your credit report, and possible identity fraud, it is possible to have an extended alert put on your credit history. If you have endured a full-fledged attack on your identity, this is probably what you should do. An extended fraud alert remains for seven years on your credit report. For five of those years, your name is removed from any lists for prescreened credit offers. This means that it is more difficult for others to obtain such offers from your mail, or misdirected mail. You can ask to have this feature removed before the five years, however, while still maintaining the fraud alert on your credit report.
When you have been the victim of identity theft, make sure that you take the appropriate steps to remedy the problem. Realize that after your identity fraud has been reported, you get a free credit report from each of the bureaus, even if you have already received your free annual report. Additionally, if you have an extended identity fraud alert on your credit report, you are entitled to two free credit reports from each bureau within 12 months of putting the alert on your credit report. This helps you verify that the proper action has been taken to remedy the problem, and to better monitor your report in the wake of identity theft.