How Does A Credit Bureau Handle Fraud Alerts?

If you’ve been a victim of identify fraud, placing a credit bureau fraud alert on your credit files is important. You can place the fraud alerts on the accounts even if you haven’t been a victim to help protect you from future crime. Here’s how it works:

Opening New Accounts
Anytime a request is made to open a new credit account, the credit reporting bureau will display a set of basic applicant questions. These questions are based on information that is not readily available in public records. They could ask about a balance on a loan, an interest rate on a credit card, or other credit related information. These questions change with each inquiry, and you may not even you what they will be. If the questions aren’t answered correctly, then the new account will not be opened and you will be notified of the attempt to open the account. This can be a hassle if you are the one trying to open a new account, but it will protect you from further fraudulent activity.

Pre-Approved Credit Offers
As soon as you activate a credit bureau fraud alert, you are automatically removed from all pre-approved offers. Both credit and insurance companies will not send you preapproved offers for at least two years because it is the most common type of fraud. Pre-approved offers are often tossed, and thieves take the information for their own personal use. Therefore, removal from these lists is a vital factor in protecting your identity.

Security Freeze
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to place a credit freeze on your accounts. The freeze will limit creditors from accessing your information. You will have to set up a personal identification number for the accounts and be available to call the credit bureau to authorize any inquires on your credit report. This can pose a problem if you are planning on obtaining new credit. If you are looking at getting a new mortgage or other large ticket item on credit you will need to let the broker know ahead of time so they can be prepared for this. You can also lift the freeze at any time you wish by placing a request in writing.

A fraud alert can give you peace of mind in knowing that your personal and credit information won’t be abused. With identity theft being one of the fastest growing crimes in America, having an alert placed with the credit bureaus is a smart idea for anyone. You don’t have to be a victim to take advantage of this protection, and you don’t have to pay a dime for it. You simply request this service directly through the credit bureaus.

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