Credit Advice

The effect of fraud security alerts on credit scores

Have a question?

Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.

Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.

Our policies
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.

Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.

Credit Advice

The effect of fraud security alerts on credit scores

Dear Experian,

I was recently notified by a college that I attended that the admissions office computer files had been hacked into and that I should notify all three major credit bureaus to flag my credit history in case of identity theft. Does this "flagging " of my credit affect my FICO score?

- LBS

Dear LBS,

The “flag” your college refers to is an initial fraud security alert. The alert will warn potential new lenders that you are at an increased risk of fraud and give you an opportunity to review your credit history for signs of fraudulent activity. An initial security alert expires in 90 days. If there is evidence of fraud you can, after filing a police report or other valid identity theft report, add a victim statement, which will last for seven years. Experian alerts businesses to the fraud statements every time your credit report is requested. Businesses are required by federal law to take reasonable action in response to the alerts. That reasonable response could take several different forms. The alerts do not affect credit scores, including those created by Fair, Isaac Corporation, which are known as FICO scores. However, the alerts could cause your application to be declined before a score is calculated, or despite the score you receive, as described in the response to ITR in this column. Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

  • © 2014 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.