Identity Theft

Victim of Identity Theft / ID Theft Image

A consumer now has the right to request that a fraud alert be placed on their credit report for 90 days if they suspect they have become the victim of identity theft. An extended fraud alert may be placed for an additional period of seven years. For this to occur, the consumer would need to provide an "identity theft report," which could include a Federal Trade Commission ID theft affidavit if one were filed with a law enforcement agency.

Users of reports and scores are required by law to honor fraud alerts. They cannot issue a new credit line, an extension of credit or credit card, nor can they respond to a request for an increased credit limit on an existing account, unless the consumer has been called or other reasonable steps have been taken to authenticate their identity.

Also, whenever a consumer files a claim of identity theft with one of the credit reporting agencies, that agency must inform other agencies that a fraud alert has been put in place. All consumers who place an alert are eligible to receive a free credit report. Persons who place an extended fraud alert may receive two free reports in the first year in which the claim was filed. If you suspect that you've become a victim of identity theft or fraud, you should contact the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060 or www.fraud.org. Along with valuable information on current fraud schemes, they can show you how to complete a single form that can be filed with all appropriate federal agencies.