What is LifeLock?

LifeLock is the service that offers protection against identity theft. The CEO of LifeLock is a person called Todd Davis.

What is LifeLock is in essence is provide you with a few services and guarantees. It automatically orders your three free credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com every year. It automatically opts you’re from free credit card offers prevents mail thieves from stealing information from your mailbox. This also reduces the amount of mail that you receive in your mailbox.

LifeLock is a fraud alert on your credit report as long as you are enrolled in the program. It renews this fraud alert every 90 days when it expires. LifeLock can no longer send a fraud alert to Experian owing to a lawsuit that experience filed against LifeLock. Experian claimed in their lawsuit that this repeated filing of a fraud alert for every single customer of their own is time-consuming and cost them money. They also claims that the facility of racing a fraud alert is meant for consumers who genuinely are facing the threat of identity theft or who have been made a victim of identity theft and should not be abused by a Corporation sending these requests in bulk. According to Experian the fraud alert service is meant to be used by a consumer on an individual basis and not for a commercial purpose.

LifeLock’s other services include helping retrieve the contents of a stolen or lost wallet, change of address alerts to prevent mail identity theft, online patrolling to catch the sale of your personal information and $1 million guarantee to offset the cost of identity theft if you become a victim while you’re enrolled in LifeLock program and the theft is due to a defect or failure in their service.

Advantages of the LifeLock program are that it orders your credit reports automatically and renews a fraud alert so that you do not have to do these yourself. It makes sure that there is a fraud alert on your credit report in case you forget to renew the alert in time.

There are, however, several drawbacks of the LifeLock service as well.

Placing constant fraud alerts on your credit report may be detrimental to your credit approval assess. Creditors and banks will need to go through an additional verification process for your credit information that might delay or even deny your credit application.

You may be unable to access certain online management services due to the presence of fraud alert.

LifeLock orders the free annual credit reports from the three credit bureaus all at once. This means that you will be able to check your credit reports from the three credit bureaus only once a year. The usual advice is to stagger checking your credit report once every quarter so that you can be more up to date with the information being reported on your credit file to three different credit bureaus.

The most important point to note about LifeLock services is that, most of the services that they offer to do for you, you can do it yourself a free. You can place a fraud alert on your credit report at no cost as sell as excess your personal free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com for free from each of the three national credit bureaus.

Is there is a cost involved in using LifeLock which is either $10 per month or $110 per year which you can pay either through a credit card or PayPal.

You can sign up online but cannot discontinue your subscription online. In other cancel your subscription you will need to call the customer service on 1-800-LIFELOCK.

Using the LifeLock services may or may not make sense for you. If you’re contemplating a credit monitoring service or a LifeLock service, then you need to look at two basic things. LifeLock offers prevention of identity theft rather than post-identity theft alerts watches what a credit monitoring service does. However you can always place the security alert on your credit files yourself for free as long as you can remember to update the request every 90 days. Secondly, a credit monitoring service will allow you to view your credit reports as frequently as you wish whereas the LifeLock services will get you your credit report only once a year from the three national credit bureaus. These credit reports are available to you for free anyway and you can excess yourself from www.annualcreditreport.com. In case you are repairing your credit and need to monitor your credit report or have been a victim of identity theft and is need to check your credit report frequently for fraudulent transactions, a credit monitoring service makes much more sense since it will allow you constant credit report monitoring as well as alerts to unusual activity on your credit file.

Fighting Identity Theft with Fraud Alert

What Is a Fraud Alert?

When a person suspects that his personal information has been compromised or has been a victim of identity theft he can place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert on the credit report is notification to any creditor accessing your credit report that he needs to a fight identity of the person applying for credit. A fraud alert is a notification that requires a creditor by law to take extra measures to check the identity of the person which may involve asking for additional proof of identity and calling the consumer.

Two Major Types of Fraud Alerts

The primary fraud alert can be placed by person who suspects that his identity has been stolen and can be used to commit fraud. This kind of an alert can be placed by writing to the credit bureaus by mail or over the telephone and lasts for a period of 90 days. The second kind of a fraud alert is an extended fraud alert and is applicable to the consumer who has been made a victim of identity theft. A person who has been a victim of identity theft will need to send an application for a fraud alert in written and provide a report of identity theft which could be a police report, identity theft report or DMV report. The extended fraud alert lasts for a period of seven years to the time that the person removes the fraud alert from the credit report.

While a fraud alert is helpful in preventing identity theft it is not 100% foolproof. First of all a fraud alert will not prevent you from identity theft. If you have place an initial fraud alert a cluster period of 90 days and the thief might try to steal your identity and open a new account after the alert has subsided. An identity thief could also use the stolen information to open accounts or you services that do not require a credit check such as telephone or utility services. In these cases a fraud alert on your credit report will not prevent fraudulent transactions being made based on a stolen financial information.

The effectiveness of a fraud alert on a credit report is dependent upon a business or a creditor doing a proper check to confirm the identity. Human error could result in the thief getting away even though the fraud alert on the credit report is in place.

Another alternative to a fraud alert is putting a security freeze on your credit report which will prevent creditor from checking your credit report and new accounts from being opened is that require the creditor to check your credit report from either of the three main credit bureaus. However even a security freeze is not foolproof percent recent that’s the thief can still open accounts and try and you services in your name that don’t require a credit check.

How to Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report

If you suspect that your personal information has been stolen and can be used to make fraudulent transactions to open new accounts for seeing your name than you may place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. There are two kinds of fraud alerts that can be placed on the credit report. There is an initial fraud alert which typically lasts for a period of 90 days. For overseas military personnel a fraud alert lasts repeated one year. The second and a fraud alert is when you have been a victim of identity theft. This fraud alert will last for a period of seven years off to the time that you remove it from your credit report depending upon the laws prevent in your state.

In order to place a fraud alert on your credit reports you’ll need to contact each of the credit bureaus over the telephone or in writing. Many place a fraud alert with one credit bureau it is required to notify the other two credit bureaus as well.

In order to place a fraud alert on your credit report you need to send a request in writing or call them on the phone number provided below providing your account number, name, address, social security number, identity proof and an identity theft report in case you have been a victim.

These are the addresses for sending in a request for fraud alert on your credit report to the three national credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Equifax

By phone: 18005256285

By mail: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GAA 30374-0241

Experian

By phone: 1883973742

By mail: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, Texas 75013

TransUnion

By phone: 18006807289

By mail: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790.

Many place a fraud alert on your credit report when you have been a victim of identity theft it is known as an extended fraud alert. This will lasts repeated seven years or until the time that you remove the fraud alert. All credit bureaus require that the extended alert be requested in writing by mail.

Ways to Prevent And Fight Identity Theft

It can take months and even years to clear your identity once a thief has stolen it. This process can include getting your credit reports filing affidavits and proving the theft. The time and effort required to caring an identity theft depends upon the civility of the debt and the duration of which it has gone unnoticed. The fact of the matter is that you cannot creditors have completely and 100% from identity theft. What you can do is to reduce the chances greatly of identity theft happening and reducing the collateral damage of an identity theft to minimum of falling certain that lines and acting quickly.

Placing a Security Freeze On the Credit Report

You can place a security freeze on your credit report by contacting one or all three of the credit bureaus. A security freeze will prevent creditors from accessing your credit report and be a limitation to an identity thief who is trying to open new accounts with creditors will need to check your credit report before approving an account.

Place a Fraud Alert On Your Credit Report

If can place a fraud alert on your credit report. You can place an initial fraud alert which last for 90 days or a seven years if you can prove that you have been a become of identity theft. A fraud alert for overseas military personnel lasts a period of one year. A fraud alert on a credit report compels the creditor to check and verify the identity of the person applying for a new account. It also requires them to make a call to the applicant and confront identity. A fraud alert requires that an applicant presents additional documents to prove is identity before a new credit accounts can be approved in his name.

Check Your Credit Report

You should check your credit report at least once a year from each of the three credit bureaus. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus once every year. You can access your free personal credit report from www.andwillcreditreport.com. Checking your credit report frequently will make sure that you are aware of information being reported on your credit file and are quickly made aware of any suspicious activity such as unsolicited accounts being opened in your name.

Purchase Additional Credit Reports

if you have exhausted your three free credit reports from the three credit bureaus you may purchase a credit report for as low as $11 from Equifax or from all three credit bureaus for as low as $15 from true credit.com. You can also use credit monitoring to get your free credit report if the credit monitoring service offers a trial offer. Be sure to cancel your subscription will in the trial offer or your credit card will get charged for the monthly fee of the credit monitoring service.

Keep Your Social Security Number Safe

Keep your financial information such as social security number and credit card numbers safely. Keep your credit cards in a safe place. Only carry the credit cards that you intend to use anti-trust at home.

Use Credit Monitoring Service

Using a credit monitoring services not all is recommended as it involves a cost. A credit monitoring service is not a completely effective tool in preventing identity theft but can be used to monitor your credit file if you have already become a victim of identity theft. You can use a credit monitoring service to frequently view your credit report after an identity theft to check whether any fraudulent activity or new accounts are being opened in your name. The price of various credit monitoring service differs. Shop around so that you can find the one that you can afford and suits your needs the best.

Shred Credit Card and Important Documents before Throwing Them Away

If for you throw away unused credit cards or the preapproved credit cards that your receipt in you may be sure that you destroy them adequately so that no information can be stolen from them. Follow the same rule before discarding your credit card bills and other paperwork that contains sensitive financial information such as checking account numbers.

Pay Your Bills Online

Instead of sending cheques for utility payments via mail or dropping them in a check box, customer making your payments online through the websites of your creditors. Many creditors and utility service providers now offer the option of making a payment online through secure websites using a credit card or your bank account. This is usually safer as it is an automated process and does not involve the human element. Whenever you make your payments online through secure websites your information is processed by a secure server and sent directly to your credit card or banking institution.

Does Credit Monitoring Prevent Identity Theft?

Using a credit monitoring service can lull people into a false sense of security that they are protected against identity theft. This is not necessarily true. What a credit monitoring service this is that at a crisis you fairly early when suspicious charges and fraudulent activities appear on your credit report. People have become more interested in a credit monitoring service since instances of identity theft are becoming more frequent. A credit monitoring service will only let you know something out of the ordinary or unusual has already happened on your credit file.

For this reason it is not prevention against identity theft but only lets you take quick action.

There are instances in which a credit monitoring service might not help you notice an identity theft at all. If an identity theft results in an account are opened with a bank that doesn’t report to the three main credit goes you may not find out about the account at all to the time that you get an application from a debt collection agency. Even a three in one credit monitoring services is not foolproof as either a thief can open an account with an institution that does not require credit check or uses another credit report which is not from the three national credit bureaus. You may also not get notified if you thief uses only of social security number with a different name. The credit bureaus do not link together accounts with the same social security number and different names.

The promptness of the alerts from a credit monitoring service may also be affected by the delay in the account being reported by a business to the credit bureau.

Another factor to consider is the cost of credit monitoring service. These services range from $50-$180 a year depending on the service you use and the number of reports are being monitored.

There are certain instances in which using a credit monitoring service doesn’t make sense. In case you are in the process of repairing your credit using credit monitoring service to view your credit report frequently might be cheaper than ordering your credit report every time that you need to check it. Credit monitoring services usually allow unlimited access to credit report for yourself and even for the rest of the family. You can use a free trial of a credit monitoring service to access your credit report for a limited period of time. These travel offers last from seven days to 30 days. However you must remember to cancel your free trial offer before the trial offers over otherwise your credit card will get charged for the amount.

Using a credit monitoring service may also make sense in the instance where your identity has been stolen. Using a credit monitoring service will help you monitor your credit report for future fraudulent transactions if your Social Security number or your credit card information has been stolen. You may also stop a moment to consider other less expensive and free alternatives to credit monitoring such as placing a security freeze or a fraud alert on your credit report.

How to Freeze Your Credit Report

A security freeze on a credit report prevents creditors and lenders from accessing your credit report freely. When you put a security freeze on your credit report you are provided with a password or pin number from the credit bureau that you can use to lift the freeze temporarily or completely when you are shopping for new credit and needs to lenders to be able to view your credit report.

In order to freeze your credit report you will have to send in a request in writing to each of the three credit bureaus. There is no centralized way to place a security freeze on all three credit reports at the three national credit bureaus in one go. The three national credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are the ones that provide the facility of a credit freeze. When you write them you need to provide your name address date of birth, Social Security number and other documents to your identification such as valid ID, proof of address etc. Placing a security freeze is not a free service and costs anything up to $5-$20. The same fees applicable many temporarily lift the security freeze on your credit report. Payment to the credit bureaus the purpose of placing a security freeze can be made with a check or a credit card.

No Fee To Freeze Credit Report for Victims of Identity Theft

There is usually no fee for racing a security freeze on a credit report if you have been a victim of identity theft. Most states allow this as well as a waiver of the fee if the person happens to be a senior-citizen beyond a certain age. In order to demonstrate to the credit bureaus that you have been a victim of identity theft you may need to provide the proof of the theft such as a copy of a police report, identity theft report or a DNV report.

You should send in a request to the credit bureau via certified mail with return receipt requested so that you can be sure that you request has been received the credit bureau. After receiving your requests the credit bureau will put a freeze on your credit report and provides you with a pin number or password that you will need to use whenever you need to temporarily unfreeze or permanently remove the freeze on your credit report.

State Laws about Security Freezes

Most of the states have federal law requiring the credit bureaus to allow security freeze on the credit reports. This applies to the three main national credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. However nine states of Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia do not have these laws in effect. However in all the states the credit bureaus provide the service of putting a credit freeze on the credit report voluntarily.

Another thing to consider when putting a security freeze on your credit report is a fee involved. The fee for putting a security freeze on your credit report can range from $5 to $20. This fee is certain cable if you temporary lift the freeze or remove the fee or need to replace your pin number. Usually there is no fee to put a security freeze credit report if you have been a victim of identity theft. Some states also waive the fees for senior citizens over a certain age. You can contact the credit bureaus to get further information on the rules applicable for putting and removing a security freeze on your credit report.

Should You Freeze Your Credit Report

You can conserve freezing your credit report if you have been a victim of identity theft or your credit card has been stolen. In any instance where you suspect that your financial information has been compromised so that a person can use your identity to make fraudulent transactions or open new fraudulent account you can use credit report freeze to prevent such activities from acting. Having an identity stolen is a very inconvenient business. It can take months and years to try and repair your identity. It can be in the frustrating as you have possibly done nothing wrong and yet have to pay for the consequences for a long period of time.

What a security freeze does is that it does not allow access to your credit report by creditors and lenders still the time that you lift the security freeze. Since most lenders and creditors use a credit report in order to verify the creditworthiness and risk of a consumer before opening a credit account, an identity thief will not be able to use your credit report to open new accounts since your report is frozen and not accessible to the creditor.

Credit freeze on a credit report are not foolproof method in preventing fraudulent transactions to identity theft. If a creditor or lender does not require a credit check or can bypass the credit check an identity thief can still open accounts in your name.

There are kinds of identity theft that do not involve opening new accounts. If the identity thief can use your existing credit card information and checking account information, putting a security freeze on your credit report will not prevent it. Security freeze works with the three main national credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If the creditor happens to use a lesser known credit bureau then security freeze on your credit report with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion may be of no consequence.

Social Security number and birth date is not enough to Access Credit Report

Circumstances arise when a person’s personal details such as name and address and even the Social Security number can get compromised. The most common scenario is when the wallet or the purse of a consumer gets stolen. However, you should know that having the name, Social Security number, birth date and address is not really sufficient information for someone to gain access to your credit report illegally.

Usually a person who will try to gain access to your credit report by using this information will do it online. Credit bureaus employ a stringent identity check for the online procedure so as to ensure that the person with the correct identity is trying to access the report. Providing the name, address and the Social Security number is just the first step towards identifying you as right person trying to access the credit report. The next remaining steps ask for information that should only be privately and best known to you. This can have information includes account numbers, the amount of loan taken, details of your mortgage payments etc. For this reason it will be extremely hard for a person to access your credit report just by knowing your name, address and Social Security number. Using multiple identifiers to verify the identity of the consumer makes it very difficult for somebody else to view your credit report online.

If a request is made by mail to send the credit report then the credit report will be mailed to the address listed on the credit report which is likely to be your rightful address. Even then the consumer is requested to send in required documents to prove the identity of the person before the report is sent.

If you are unsure whether or not your credit report has been illegally accessed by any other person other than you then you can order a copy of your personal credit report and see if prior requests are present on the record which have not been made by you.

Change of Information on a Frozen Credit Report

Even if you have placed a security freeze on your credit report it is possible that you may get a notification of a change of information on your credit report.  In most cases you do not need to panic on getting such a notification because it is most likely to have come from one of your existing lenders.  It is more than possible that during the course of sending updated information about the credit account on a few lenders may have made the typographical error such as misspelling your name, transposing digits in a Social Security number or getting your street address wrong.  No new information can come from a new lender as no new lender can you your credit report because of the security freeze.
In case you suspect identity theft and fraud, you should understand that it could be possible almost certainly if the person who was trying to deliberately change information on your credit account was an employee of one of your creditors.  That way they would have access to records to change your account.  Another way could be if someone had enough resources to produce extremely accurate and convincing identifying documents good enough to convince the credit bureau that they were dealing with the owner of the credit report and verify that it was in fact you who was requesting the change in the information.
Even if the credit report is under a security freeze the credit bureau will usually send a notification to the person whenever a request for a change in the information is made.  If the change required is a change in the address when security qualification is sent to both the prior address on record with the credit bureau as well as the new address. The credit bureau makes it a point to note to send any sensitive information in this security alert so even if this letter finds its way to the new address reported which is not right one, you do not stand at the risk of someone stealing your identity.
If you have not requested any personal change in the information on your credit report you should order a copy of your credit history. On receiving your credit report you can review the changes made on it and the sources from where they have come from.