You can request for a fraud alert to be included on your credit report or file. This is a means of protecting you from unscrupulous individuals who may try to obtain credit by using your identity. When a fraud alert is on a credit report, the lender has to verify that you authorized a request for new credit, a new credit card or an increase in your credit limit on a valid account.
Initially, a fraud alert lasts for 90 days. An extension of the fraud alert can be requested if there is a need. However, an extended fraud alert requires additional paper work which may include a police report stating that the credit report owner is an identity theft victim.
To undo a fraud alert on your credit report, you need to do the following.
- Contact a consumer credit-reporting agency. There are three major agencies that deal with consumer credit-reporting. These are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can find information on their respective websites regarding the procedure for removing the fraud alert from your credit report.
- Send a letter of request. For all three agencies, a written request is necessary for these agencies to remove the fraud alert on your credit report. Send the written request to Equifax: PO Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348-5069; Experian: PO Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013; or TransUnion: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834.
- Include necessary documents and information. Make sure to indicate your full name, date of birth, current address, previous address, contact numbers, and social security number in the request. You will also need to send a copy of any one of the following: driver’s license, ID card issued by your state, military ID card or any other government issued ID card. A current copy of your bank statement, insurance statement or utility bill issued under your name may also be required. The copies you provide should be clear and legible. If necessary, enlarge the copy of the documents so that your full name, current address and the statement date are seen clearly. Never send originals.
- Request for confirmation. After sending the necessary paperwork to your chosen consumer credit-reporting agency, ask for a written confirmation of the status of your request. You should also request for a new credit report. These documents serve as proofs that the fraud alert has been removed. Take note that this process may take a few weeks time.
- Reminder: The consumer credit reporting agencies may not be able to accept voided checks, credit card statements, magazine subscriptions, postal service forwarding instructions or lease agreements as proof. If you are not sure which proof of identity is accepted, call the consumer credit-reporting agency of your choice for verification. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; Experian: 1-888-397-3742; TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289.
A fraud alert is a means of protecting your identity. The credit bureau, upon your request, will indicate a fraud alert on your credit file or report so that potential creditors will have to require further information before giving additional credit to anyone using your identity. After 90 days, the fraud alert will expire. This can be extended upon request. If you feel the need to remove the fraud alerts, follow the instructions above. Once the necessary forms have been accomplished and the required documents submitted, it is only a matter of time before the fraud alert is taken off you credit report.