If you have any suspicion of an outsider tampering with your credit, the first thing you can do is activate fraud alert. It should be treated as a preliminary step in response to fraudulent activity; other steps include credit freeze which is a stronger option that freezes credit access. Fraud alert is a flag that is attached to your credit report by credit bureaus. It warns anyone who checks your credit report that you were or may have been a victim of identity theft. In the event anyone wishes to extend you credit, they are encouraged but not obligated by law to verify the transaction with you via a phone call.
How do I activate Fraud Alert?
To activate fraud alert, contact the fraud department of the credit bureau and ask them to flag your account suspected of unauthorized access. A cell phone number is recommended as your primary contact to facilitate calls from your creditor.
Fraud alert can also be activated online through websites such as Experian and Equifax.
What happens when Fraud Alert is activated?
After fraud alert is activated, the flag should be placed within 24 hours. You should receive a confirmation by mail within a week or two. Your name will be removed from pre-approved credit and/or insurance offers for two years. Fraud alert will only remain in place for 90 days. If you have further need of the service, fraud alert needs to be reactivated.
Fraud Alert for minors
If you suspect that your child’s credit is being tampered with, contact the credit bureau directly and report. You will need to supply them with your child’s name, address, date of birth, a copy of your child’s birth certificate, a copy of his or her social security card, a copy of your own identification, and a utility bill that verifies your address.
How do I deactivate Fraud Alert?
Either you can wait for it to expire in 90 days, or request for deactivation directly by mail sent to the credit bureau.
Nielson, Dave. “Fraud Alert: Learn How.” Fight Identity Theft. Web. 10 Sep 2009. <http://www.fightidentitytheft.com/flag.html>.
See also, Freezing your Credit: The Emergency Stop Button
From an early age, I've always imagined myself in a role that served people in need. My sole satisfaction would be the knowledge that lives were better off thanks to my services. These musings didn't stem from careful deliberation nor obedience to a certain philosophy. Of course, there clearly was naivete within these musings. My service needed to be acknowledged and appreciated and for such service to be worthy of appreciation it needed to be grandiose in scale. Adoring crowds seemed to be the main purpose seemingly as the ultimate goal. As I spent most of my younger years in a small town, Macon, GA, these musings remained musings as I conveniently reasoned that there was a lack of an appreciable crowd. Yet, the unquestioning urge to serve still remained through high school. I became interested in volunteering for the less fortunate. I avidly participated in an organization called Meals on Wheels which home-delivered meals to senior citizens and the invalid. Through this experience, I was exposed to a vast clientele with diverse backgrounds. The clients that struck me most were those burdened both physically and financially by illness. While weaving through the clutter of life-sustaining equipment in a cramped apartment, I still can't forget the smile the bedridden gentleman gave as I delivered his dinner. Safe to say, from then on, I started to understand and appreciate the significance of such seemingly small and trivial acts in people's lives. I have been committed ever since. I'm currently a junior majoring in Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill and still strive to serve the less fortunate in small but significant ways. I am currently volunteering as staff in the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. I also volunteer as a companion with the non-profit group A Helping Hand. A Helping Hand is a companionship service for senior citizens and temporarily or permanently disabled citizens. When I don't muse about the various differences I could and should be making in people's lives, I enjoy hiking and playing tennis. I am deeply interested in the current health care reform debate and hope to pursue a career in medicine. I also wish to continue writing about the evolution of health care and its socioeconomic impact on the lives of everyday Americans.
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