Is it a problem if I do not remove a fraud alert once I have confirmed that no breach occurred? Or do I have to remove the alert? I assume having the alert for one year is OK since I can prove who I am and do not expect to apply for any new credit.
You can remove a fraud alert yourself, but it's also OK to leave the temporary alert on file and allow it to expire automatically.
There are two main types of fraud or security alerts available to most consumers: initial alerts and extended alerts. Active-duty military service members also have a military alert or active-duty alert option.
An initial fraud alert remains on your credit report for one year. It lets potential creditors know that someone may be trying to apply for credit in your name and asks that they take extra precautions to verify your identity before granting credit. Anyone who thinks their information may have been compromised can add this alert.
An extended fraud alert is similar to an initial alert except that it remains on the credit report for seven years. To add an extended alert, a consumer must provide a copy of a police report or identity theft report showing that they have been a victim of identity theft.
What Happens if You Don't Remove a Fraud Alert?
If you don't remove a fraud alert, it will be automatically removed once it expires. While the alert remains on your credit report, you can expect lenders and service providers to require additional steps to verify your identity before credit is approved. However, there is no harm in leaving the alert until it expires, especially if you do not intend to apply for credit in that timeframe.
How to Remove a Fraud Alert or Victim Statement
To remove the alert online, you can upload the documentation verifying your identity along with your request to have the alert removed.
Experian verifies your identity to prevent potential identity thieves from removing the alert to fraudulently apply for new credit in your name.
To remove the alert by mail, send your written request to Experian along with copies of documentation verifying your identity. You can find a form to use for this request in Experian's Fraud Alert Center. Be sure to send copies (not original documents) of:
- A government-issued identification card
- Utility bill, bank statement or insurance statement
Send the written request to:
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
How Fraud Alerts Impact Credit
Having a fraud alert does not negatively impact your credit report or credit scores. A fraud alert also legally cannot cause your credit application to be declined, although it may make the approval process take a little longer and prevent you from being able to obtain credit instantly in a store. That's because lenders have to follow the procedures for verifying that the person applying for credit is you and not someone trying to commit identity theft against you.
Check Your Credit Report Often
Checking your credit report frequently can be a great way to stay on top of your credit history, and it can also help alert you to any potential fraud sooner. From now through April 2021, you can receive a free report weekly from each of the credit reporting agencies through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also get your free credit report and scores directly from Experian any time.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist