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.

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.

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.

The Difference between a Fraud Alert and a Security Freeze

Sometimes people confuse matters between a fraud alert on their credit report and a security freeze.  A fraud alert is an alert that you put on your credit report when you suspect that you might be a victim of identity theft and subsequently credit fraud.  And extended fraud alert also known as a fraud victims statement can be attached to the credit report after you provide proof of your identity and evidence of being a victim of identity theft which is usually a copy of a police report or any other valid identity theft report.  The initial security alert on your credit report lasts for a period of 90 days after which you can place the extended fraud alert which lasts for a period of seven years on your credit report.  The statement appears on your credit report every time a lender requests to view it.  It requires the lender to take measures and precautions to verify the identity of the applicant before granting credit in your name.  In order to remove the alert from your credit report you need to provide the request in writing along with documents that verify your identity.  These documents are required to ensure that an identity chief is not trying to remove the statement from a credit report.

A security freeze is allowed by certain states to be put on the credit report.  Unlike a fraud alert the security freeze restricts reviewing of your credit history by the lenders.  On the you and perhaps your existing lenders will be able to view your credit report.  Existing lenders are allowed access to the credit report for the purpose of updating and maintaining the credit accounts that you already have the time.  A security freeze will in no way and affair with your credit rating or with accessing your own personal copy of the credit report.  Our security freeze basically takes you of the credit market where no new lender or creditor can you hear credit report.  This includes preapproved credit of those such as credit cards and loans.  In order to remove the security freeze you will require a pin number that will be provided to you during the time of peace in the security freeze.  You should remember to unfreeze your credit history before applying for any credit a service that may require to access your credit report before approving your application.  This situation includes opening a new mobile phone account of applying for a job.  If you do not unfreeze your credit report in advance the business will be unable to check your credit history and thus be unable to approve your application.

What Happens When Someone Tries to Access Frozen Credit Report

Whenever a lender tries to access the credit report that is frozen he is informed that he cannot be the credit report point to the fact that it is a Security freeze on that particular credit report. In case an identity thief is trying to use a credit report in order to open a new credit account the transaction will probably not go through because the lender will not be able to see the credit report. However, no direct communication occurs between the credit bureau and the person applying for credit.

The credit bureau only informs the lender that the credit file is frozen. It does not directly deny the credit as a credit bureau does not approve a decline credit applications. That is the decision of the lender and the lender alone.

The lender in turn may tell the identity thief of the person which try to make the application that he cannot precede further because the credit file is frozen. He may then ask the person to unfreeze the credit file before proceeding any further thinking that the person making the application is you. In this manner that he would learn that the credit file is frozen.

Security and fraud alerts on credit reports also in a similar manner in order to stop identity keeps from committing credit fraud. Lenders receive information that the owner of the credit report could be a victim of identity theft and hence they should follow certain steps to verify the identity of the application and even contacting the person directly before opening a new credit account.

The fair and accurate credit transactions act has made it mandatory for all lenders to take appropriate action when they find a fraud alert on the credit report. Ignoring a fraud alert and not taking any action is illegal and a punishable crime by the federal law. The initial fraud alert lasts for a period of 90 days and if you do not find any evidence of credit fraud being committed you may choose to cancel the alert by letting a collapse. If however you to find evidence that your identity has been stolen and used to commit fraud you can file a statement with the police and then subsequently filed a fraud victim’s statement with the credit bureaus. Putting a fraud alert and a fraud victims statement on the requires you to follow the process with one credit bureau. It is automatically shared with the remaining credit reporting agencies. Once a fraud alert victim is added on your credit report it remains on the report for a period of seven years.

In most circumstances you should not face any particular problem in getting approved for credit in spite of having a fraud at the statement attached to your credit report. You will however find a certain delay in application process as the lender will be required to verify your identity. You may also not got approved first at an automated preapproved credit offers such as an instant credit approval during time off a purchase at a department store. You should you be not that the banking regulatory authorities have not by banks that they cannot refuse credit to a person simply because he has a security alert on his credit report.

Another step that you can take is putting a Security freeze on your credit card. Putting a Security freeze stops lenders from access to your credit report completely. It takes you of the credit market and does not allow you to be screened for any kind of preapproved offers as well. In order to apply for any kind of new credit where the lender will need to review your credit report, you will have to be freeze your credit report by using a special pin number that would have been provided to you during the time of putting the Security freeze.

Credit reports used for race purposes such as by mobile phone companies to prevent fraud, landlords and some employers to evaluate applications and to prevent fraud in general. In case you come face to face with a situation where you need someone to access your credit report in order to verify your credentials you may find it inconvenient to have the Security freeze in place as you will need to have the pin number in order to remove the Security freeze and even then it may take a couple of days still this is accomplished.

You should understand that identity theft and credit fraud different things. Putting a security alert on your credit report or putting a freeze on it may safeguard your best credit fraud but does not safeguard you against identity theft which may subsequently be used to commit other kinds of fraud such as an government benefits fraud, insurance fraud and employment fraud.

You Can Get a Free Annual credit report In Spite Of a Security Freeze

Putting a Security freeze on a credit report does not stop you from requesting your own personal credit report from the credit bureaus. It only stops from new creditors and lenders from viewing your credit report without the permission and without lifting the freeze first by using the special pin number issued to you during the time of implementing the Security freeze. The same holds true for any credit monitoring service that you might be using. A credit monitoring service is recognized by the credit reporting system as being equal to the individual requesting their own credit report. It is also important to note that your existing creditors may also be able to view your credit report in spite of the Security freeze in order to update and maintain your credit account with them.

Is Freezing A Credit Report The Right Thing To Do?

You must give careful thought to the process of freezing a credit report. It is an action that you will need to take with each different credit bureau separately and usually involves a fee. When you place your credit report under a freeze you are restricting all new creditors from being able to view it. This may have various ramifications.

You have essentially taken yourself out of the creditors view and they will not be able to view your credit report till you remove the credit freeze using the PIN number and requesting the release of the security freeze with the credit bureau.

You will not be able to receive offers that involve automated credit approvals such as preapproved car or home loans. If you have not lifted the freeze on your credit report before applying for credit, it can cause delays in freeze having to be lifted. Similarly alerts also require the creditor to check the details of the applicant manually often requiring physical examination of additional documents to verify identity of the person.

If you forget or misplace the PIN for the security freeze, it can take time before the procedure for issuing of the new PIN can be completed. For this reason you should not place a security freeze of you are going to be Appling for a loan in the near future. Loans like home loans and automobile loans usually result in multiple enquiries on a credit report. Presence of a security freeze or a security alert can slow down the approval process.

Placing and removing a freeze with all the three credit bureaus can cost you money. Freezing a credit file is usually a good option for someone who is facing repeated problems with or is stand a huge risk of credit fraud. It is not a good solution for someone and should not be viewed as a measure against credit fraud. So think carefully before placing a security freeze on your credit report.

What is the effect of a credit report freeze on a mortgage application

A security freeze blocks access to all creditors. The only exception is your existing creditors who may still be able to view your report for the purpose of updating your credit information with them.

When you make an application for a mortgage loan, very often multiple enquiries are made in to your credit report. If you go through a mortgage broker, then he might make various enquiries for the purpose finding the best deal for you. Even individuals shop around for the purpose of finding the best deal.

Now if you have a security freeze on your credit report then you will have to have the freeze lifted so that the mortgage lenders can view your credit report for approval. For this purpose you will need the PIN number that you were provided during the time of putting the freeze. You will also require to release the freeze individually with each credit bureau if you have placed a security freeze with them as well. Because there is usually a fee involved with putting a security freeze, one credit bureau does not automatically inform the others of the security alert. You need to place and remove the freeze individually with each bureau.

Having a security freeze can slow down the proceedings if you have not removed the freeze well in time. Any urgent application will not go through. It is advisable to remove the security freeze at least one month in advance because sometimes you may be required to provide additional documents and information to verify that you are the correct individual to request the removal.