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.
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.
Topics addressed on October 28, 2009:
How fraud alerts work
Please explain how a fraud alert works.
Fraud alerts are special statements consumers can have added to their credit report if they have reason to believe they may be a fraud victim or know that they have been victimized. There are two different fraud alerts.
An initial security alert tells lenders that you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft and asks them to take additional measures to verify the identity of the applicant before granting credit in your name.
You can request a free copy of your credit report when you request that the alert be added. If you don’t find evidence of fraud, you can have the alert removed, or simply allow it to expire.
If you do find evidence of fraud, your next step would be to add an extended security alert, sometimes called a victim statement. You will need a police report or other valid identity theft report to add an extended security alert.
The extended security alert states that you are a victim of identity theft and requests that lenders call you to verify your identity before granting credit in your name. An extended security alert remains on your credit report for seven years or until you ask that it be removed.
The alerts are included when your report is provided to a lender so they can take appropriate action when the alert is on your report.
There is no charge to add a fraud alert. When you do so, Experian notifies the other national credit reporting companies so that alerts can be added to those reports, as well.
You can add an alert online at www.experian.com, or by calling 1 888 EXPERIAN (1 888 397 3742) and selecting the fraud option.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team