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Topics addressed on June 11, 2008:
Adding a fraud security alert and opting out
How do I opt out online as I am an identity theft victim and am taking care of all this? I want to opt out immediately.
Because you are an identity theft victim, you should add a temporary security alert to your credit report. When you do, Experian will automatically opt you out of receiving preapproved credit offers.
You can add the alert online at:
At the same time, you can ask for a free copy of your credit report.
Experian will share the alert and the opt out information with the other national credit reporting companies.
The temporary security alert will remain on your credit report for 90 days. That gives you time to get your credit report, review for signs of credit fraud resulting from identity theft, and determine what actions to take next.
When you add the initial security alert, Experian will opt you out of mailing lists for six months.
If you discover fraudulent activity, you file a police report and with the police report add a victim statement to your credit report. The victim statement lasts for seven years and asks that lenders contact you before granting credit in your name.
Upon adding a victim statement, Experian will opt you out of mailing lists for five years.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), the same law that provided for a free credit report annually, also requires lenders to respond in a reasonable manner to fraud alerts. They cannot be ignored, which greatly strengthens their effectiveness.
Because Experian and the other credit reporting companies opt you out of preapproved mailing lists automatically, you also should see a reduction in the amount of offers your receive.
If you are not a victim of fraud, you can opt out of receiving preapproved credit offers by calling 1 888 5OPTOUT (1 888 567 8688) or by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.
You can opt out for five years or permanently. If you choose to opt out permanently, you must complete and return a request form, which will be provided.
When you opt out, you might not see an immediate reduction in the number of offers you receive. You will continue to receive offers that were already in the mailing process, which can take as long as six months. However, you should see a significant reduction within 90 days, if not sooner.
Don’t forget to opt back in after your identify theft issues are resolved. Doing so will enable you to take advantage of attractive new credit offers that you can use to your financial benefit.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team