Posts Tagged ‘Protection’

How to Prevent Credit Report Fraud

While trying to seek your credit report there are a number of ways that unscrupulous thieves can take advantage of you. They will find any way to steal your identity and one way would be for them to offer fake “free credit report” opportunities.

The main way they get you is to require a credit card even if it is supposed to be a free trial. However, sometimes they try to cancel and put additional charges on top of the ones you already made.

They also then try to make it difficult for you to cancel your free trial. Then you are stuck paying probably for additional services you no longer even want.

Prevention Tips

Make sure you go to a recommended source to obtain a free credit report. Annual Credit Report.com is probably your best choice, but any comparable to this that are reputable would be fine.

If you must use a credit card because you think the additional credit monitoring services may help you then keep the following in mind:

  • Never sign up unless you know the server is secure. This will prevent third-party fraud.
  • Never give your credit card number to a company that you do not recognize. This will reduce risk of later becoming the victim of unauthorized charges.
  • Make sure you verify the name of the company providing credit report monitoring services. Verisign seal information is one way to do this, or you could check with the Better Business Bureau if you have any doubts.
  • Only fill out the information that is required. Be very careful about to whom you give your social security card, driver’s license, birth date, and other information.
  • Do not pay for any services you could get for free. For instance, you can have free fraud alerts placed on your annual credit report.

F.A.Q.’s of Free Credit Reports Fraud Alerts

Fraud alerts and free credit reports are requested all the time. Consumers who are in search of them now may have questions about these services offered to people.

What is the purpose of a free credit report?

People request them for a number of reasons. One of the main ones is to make sure they have no unauthorized purchases on their account. Another would be simply to monitor payment histories and to analyze in order to create a debt repayment plan.

How do I get a free credit report?

It can be obtained online at websites such as Annual Credit Report.com. It can also be requested by phone or by mail.

How long does it take to get a copy of my credit report?

You can usually get it almost instantly online. If you request it by phone or mail it takes up to 14 days to receive it.

What is a fraud alert?

It is a notice that is placed on your credit report to alert those to whom you owe money. This lets them as well as credit bureaus know that there may be unauthorized charges or unauthorized usage of your account.

How to I place a fraud alert on my credit report?

You can call one of three credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) by telephone. You can also go to the websites of each one of these major credit bureaus.

Should I get an initial fraud alert or an extended fraud alert?

It depends upon the seriousness of your situation. The initial fraud alert stays on your file for 90 days and the extended fraud alert stays on your file for seven years.

What are my rights as a consumer seeking a free credit report or a fraud alert?

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report at least once every 12 months. Information is provided by Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. More info about this can be found at Annual Credit Report.com, the FTC website, and within Fair Credit Reporting Act documentation.

This of course is only a very small list of the concerns associated with protecting your identity and analyzing your financial history. You can seek answers to further questions if you call the appropriate customer service hotlines.

Furthermore, more detailed instructions are provided by more than one public service or legal service entity. This is to ensure your rights as a consumer are protected in case you notice a problem.

Online Shopping Tips, Credit Reports, and Identity Protection

This is a general article with tips for people related to all aspects of online shopping. Part of this includes the safe retrieve of credit reports instantly, as well as protecting your identity while you shop online.

Basic online shopping tips for consumers include the following:

  • If you do not want to reveal your financial information such as bank account numbers or major credit card account there are ways to shop without it. For instance, some people shop with temporary gift cards or debit cards that have on it only a limited amount of money.
  • If you are going to check your credit report online be careful which portal you use. It is very easy to get free credit reports these days but it also is very easy to get your identity stolen. There have been some fraudulent sites posing as “free credit report” services so watch out.
  • You can find a legitimate way to keep tabs on your credit at all time. This is important in the event someone may somehow have stolen some of your financial information and personal records. Keeping track of your credit history can make you instantly aware of any unauthorized activity.
  • Obtaining a free credit report or monitoring your financial records on a regular basis can save you quite a bit of headache. For one it will protect you in the event you later try to apply for a home or car loan or if you want to acquire postpaid telephone service.
  • While you shop online and make decisions that may possibly be recorded on your credit report understand your rights and responsibilities. When you apply online for loans and other financial assistance make sure you do so on safe sites and study the application terms and conditions.
  • It is important that you understand your Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rights and responsibilities. This set of consumer guidelines tells you how to handle potential fraudulent activity that takes place on your account.
  • Remember that according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are able to receive up to two credit reports a year (12 months). Usually you get one a year for initial alerts and two a year for extended alerts.
  • You are reminded that not all credit reports online are entirely free. Some of them are offered on a trial basis for which you may eventually have to pay. The payment usually comes when you want to continue receiving alerts when there has been chances made in your records.