In the situation that someone accesses your personal information, how can you get the false account off your credit reports?
Thankfully the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides aggressive consumer protections regarding identity theft protection and fraud. The FCRA has an entire section that addresses fraud and identity theft. You have the right to the following at no cost:
One-call Fraud Alerts
You can place a fraud alert on your credit reports that will remain for 90 days. You only have to contact one of the credit bureaus to place the alert and they have to “refer” the information to the other credit reporting agencies.
A fraud alert asks new creditors to verify that you are, in fact, the person applying for credit in your name and makes it illegal for them to extend credit in your name without your authorization.
Extended Fraud Alerts
You can extend the 90-day fraud alert to remain for 7 years. You’ll have to submit something called an “identity theft report” to the credit bureaus.
An identity theft report is any fraud affidavit or police report filed with a law enforcement agency. This helps to separate the real victims of fraud from those who are crying fraud to get legitimate information removed from a credit report, as filing a false police report is a crime.
Correcting Credit Reports Containing Fraudulent Data
Despite the protections afforded under the FCRA, we all know that true name fraud happens. And, it can result in derogatory account and collection information appearing on your credit reports.
That’s bad news because now it’s likely harming your credit scores and you’re receiving calls and letters from collection agencies. If you have information on your credit reports that has been caused by fraud it’s not the end of the world because you have some fantastic protections under the FCRA.
Once you notify the credit bureaus that you have information on your reports caused by identify theft they have to block it from your credit reports, within 4 business days.
Every state in the country has a law that allows victims of fraud to place a security freeze on their credit reports for free. A security freeze (also called a “credit freeze”) prevents any new credit from being issued in your name.
The freeze essentially takes your credit reports out of circulation and no new lender can get access to it, or your credit scores.
How have you protected your personal identity? Leave us a comment below or on Facebook (click here)!