With about 143 million personal records stolen from Equifax, you may be subject to identity theft. This is also true for active users of smart phones, internet, and social media.
If you believe your identity has been stolen, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows a consumer to require all credit reporting agencies (CRA) to add a fraud alert to their file. Third party users of the report are then on notice of the potential fraud.
An identity theft victim may then place a second alert, referred to as an extended fraud alert. In order to register an extended fraud alert, a consumer must “1) file a qualifying identity theft report with a law enforcement agency and 2) provide the CRA with “appropriate proof of identity”.
The benefits of these alerts require notification that the consumer does not authorize new credit, an additional credit card on an existing account, or any increase in the credit limit of any open account.
Under the FCRA, victims may also require a block of theft-related debts from their files. To activate a block, consumers must provide the CRA with:
* Proof of their identity
* A copy of an identity theft report
* The consumer’s identification of the fraudulent information
* The consumer’s statement that the information does not relate to any transaction by the consumer
Two preventative steps to take regarding your credit: 1) secure your social security number, don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information; and 2) enable security features on your mobile devices and create complex passwords