Friday Credit Hack: Initiate a “Fraud Alert.”

by Alex Stenback on March 11, 2005

Idtheft_newspaperOn the heels of the Choicepoint ID theft, here’s a quick, practical credit hack. 

Rather than worrying about whether or not the latest data theft (or one you may not have heard about) will effect you, a Fraud Alert notifies potential credit grantors to verify your identification before extending credit in your name. Everything you need to initiate a Fraud Alert in less than three clicks after the jump [click below]

*[Welcome 'Lifehackers,' while you are here, look around a little bit.]

Initiate Fraud Alert Links
· Experian [experian.com] – Fill out an on-line form.
· Trans-Union [transunion.com] – Call 800-680-7289. No online form.
· Equifax [equifax.com] – Call 1-888-766-0008. No online form. *Do not pay for their "credit watch services." A fraud alert is free, and equifax pushes the pay programs hard.

Remember, a Fraud Alert is preventive medicine – if you know your identity has been stolen, you’ll need to do more than just initiate a fraud alert (cancel credit cards, etc.)

{ 2 trackbacks }

Lifehacker
March 14, 2005 at 10:17 am
Lifehacker
March 14, 2005 at 10:19 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter M March 14, 2005 at 4:03 pm

Is it really possible (legal?) to do this without suspecting an identity theft is going to happen? (e.g. the preemtive strike when there has not yet been a known cause of an identity theft).

Also, could you check the experian link. It appears to me as http://www.behindthemortgage.com/behind_the_mortgage/2005/03/Fraud%20alert%20messages%20notify%20potential%20credit%20grantors%20to%20verify%20your%20identification%20before%20extending%20credit%20in%20your%20name%20in%20case%20someone%20is%20using%20your%20information%20without%20your%20consent.

Alex Stenback March 14, 2005 at 4:24 pm

Wow – thanks – not sure what happened to that link – you were, surprisingly, the first to mention it.

As I understand it, as long as you “suspect” you “might” have been a victim of fraud, it is ok to initiate an alert. I think the language is sufficiently broad enough to cover just about any reason – of course if you call them up and say “I have no reason at all to suspect fraud but I want a ‘Fraud Alert’ anyway” they may very well tell you no.

Link fixed – thanks again, and my apologies to all for the slop.

dmg December 13, 2006 at 2:51 pm

This company has an interesting Mortgage Fraud Prevention/detection tool. —- http://www.fightmortgagefraud.blogspot.com

D RR January 9, 2008 at 9:20 pm

OLIVIA MUSE (READ RUSE) HOLLON-OSBORNE IS NOW TRAVELLING THE COUNTRY CLAIMING TO BE PREGNANT (WITH TWINS THOUGH STILL NOT SHOWING AFTER 6 MONTHS). AND TRYING TO BUY HOUSES… YES, HOUSES USING FRAUDULENT CHECKS!
I AM A HOME INSPECTOR, & ONE OF SEVERAL PEOPLE IN INDIANA, ALABAMA, & TEXAS TO BE RIPPED OFF BY A COUPLE NAMED CHRIS (M) & OLIVIA MUSE (F) HOLLON-OSBORNE, AND FRANK HOLLON JR. MY BAD CHECK WAS FOR $565.00. THEY HAVE BEEN PASSING CHECKS OFF OF DEAD BANK ACCTS FOR MONTHS NOW IN THESE STATES AND I’D LOVE TO SEE IT STOP. OLIVIA IS STILL ON PROBATION FROM A TEXAS PRISON FOR FRAUD RELATED CHARGES… OUR TRANSACTION TOOK PLACE IN INDIANAPOLIS, IN SEPTEMBER. THEIR LAST KNOWN LOCATION WAS (AGAIN) BUYING A HOME IN ALABAMA *THOSE DEFRAUDED HOMEOWNERS FOUND MY REPORT IN BELONGINGS LEFT BEHIND BY THE OSBORNES AND CALLED ME.
BE ALERT!!!! THEY ARE ALSO KNOWN TO BE ARMED! ALSO INCLUDED IN THE STUFF LEFT BEHIND IN AL. WAS AN ASSAULT RIFLE.
CAN YOU HELP?
THANK YOU
DAN R
INDY

smith February 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Her mother lives in Athens,Alabama; with her husband. Their names are William and Mary Davis.

Marcy March 17, 2008 at 10:35 am

Yes, this is perfectly legal, and also wise. A Fraud Alert lasts 90 days, and you only need file it with one of the Big Three reporting agencies; they must contact the other two and share the info. You do NOT need to be a victim of identity theft in order to do this. If there have been actual attempts to use your info (it will show in your credit reports), then you should extend it to the 7 year, or even file for a credit freeze (if you are sure your identity has been stolen).

Don’t be “that guy” who thinks that they are safe, just because. You’re NOT safe, but you can take simple steps to protect yourself. Placing a 90 day Fraud Alert on your info is just one of them.

Manny October 20, 2008 at 10:56 am

That little Olivia is a bad little girl…. did anyone ever catch her?

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