EFFECTIVE DEC. 1, 2004–THE FACT ACT CREATES NEW RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT
YOU CAN FILE A FRAUD ALERT
You can establish a fraud alert for your accounts by contacting the consumer credit reporting agencies. There is no federal law applying to fraud alerts filed before December 1, 2004. Starting December 1, 2004, the extended fraud alerts must be heeded. See below for more information on how and where to file a fraud alert. There are two types of fraud alerts you can file:
If you suspect that you are or may become the victim of fraud, you can request an “initial fraud alert” that will last for 90 days. Once you activate an initial fraud alert, the consumer credit reporting agency must include the alert in your file and provide the alert along with any credit score generated using your file. The reporting agency receiving your initial fraud alert must have reasonable procedures in place to protect you from identity theft but is not required to call you in order to authorize new loans or activity related to your credit. You are entitled to one free copy of your consumer credit report when you file an initial alert and the consumer credit reporting agency must tell you about this right. When you request your file, the consumer credit reporting agency must provide you with it within 3 business days of your request.
Extended Fraud Alert
If you are already a victim of identity theft, you can file a more serious alert called an “extended alert” with the consumer credit reporting agencies. The consumer credit reporting agencies are required to give you more protections with an extended alert. These protections include:
- Include the alert in your consumer file and provide the alert along with any credit score generated by that file during a 7 year period from the date of your requests, unless you ask that the consumer credit reporting agency remove the alert sooner;
- For 5 years from the date you initiate an extended alert, the consumer credit reporting agency must exclude you from any consumer lists it prepares and give to any third party to offer credit or insurance;
- The consumer credit reporting agency you alert must notify the other nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies that you have filed an extended fraud alert.
- You are entitled to two free reports in the year after you file an extended alert. The consumer credit reporting agency must tell you that you may request up to 2 free copies of your file during the 12 month period beginning on the date on which the consumer credit reporting agency included the extended fraud alert in your file. The consumer credit reporting agency must provide you with your file not more than 3 business days after you make your request.
Creditors are required to call or contact you in the manner you designate before authorizing a new credit account.
YOU CAN BLOCK INFORMATION RESULTING FROM IDENTITY THEFT FROM BEING INCLUDED IN YOUR CONSUMER CREDIT REPORT
If you are the victim of identity theft you can block consumer credit reporting agencies from using or reporting to others any information that is in your file resulting from identity theft. You must identify such items and notify the consumer credit reporting agency about them before you can block the use and/or reporting of such items.
To properly notify the consumer credit reporting agency, you must provide the consumer credit reporting agency with:
- Proof of your identity. They may require you to give your social security number;
- a copy of an identity theft report;
- the identification of information resulting from identity theft; and
- a statement by you that the information resulting from identity theft is not information relating to any transaction by you.
The consumer credit reporting agency you notify must block the information you identify within 4 business days after it receives the information from you.
The consumer credit reporting agency must promptly notify the furnisher of the disputed information that:
- the information you identified may be the result of identity theft;
- you filed an identity theft report with the consumer credit reporting agency;
- you requested a block; and
- the effective dates of the block.
The consumer credit reporting agency has the authority to decline or rescind a block under certain circumstances. These circumstances include:
- an error;
- a material misrepresentation by you; or
- proof that you obtained goods, services, or money as a result of the blocked transaction.
How to Set Up Fraud Alerts and Blocks
Call: Consumer Fraud Division 1-800-766-0088
Or Write: Equifax Consumer Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Call: 1 888 397-3742
Or Write: Experian
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, Texas 75013
Call: TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance 800-680-7289
Or Write: TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
A request to a creditor to stop reporting erroneous information is not a request for a block. You must ask a consumer credit reporting agency for a block.
EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 2004-MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY ON ACTIVE DUTY MAY FILE “ACTIVE DUTY” ALERTS
If you are a member of the military and are on active duty, you or a personal representative acting on your behalf can file an active duty alert with any of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies. The nationwide consumer reporting agency you notify is required to notify the other nationwide consumer reporting agencies. The active duty alert if good for 12 months and can be renewed as necessary. The active duty alert will appear on your credit file whenever it is requested by another.
EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 2004–YOU CAN GET A FREE REPORT FROM “NATIONWIDE SPECIALTY CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES”
The FACT Act entitles you to one free report from “nationwide specialty consumer credit reporting agencies” which are agencies that compile your history on employment, check writing, insurance, medical records and housing rental history. These reports are important because their contents can impact your eligibility for services and opportunities.