Many people wonder, "How do I add a fraud alert to my credit report?" For many people, this layer of protection is what is necessary to provide peace of mind. Not everyone needs this type of alert, but when it is necessary, it can be one of the best tools to fighting identity theft.
About Fraud Alerts
Anyone can add a fraud alert message to a credit report to help protect credit information contained in that report. Each of the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States provides fraud alert protection. These organizations allow individuals to place a statement on a credit file indicating to potential credit grantors that the credit grantor must verify information prior to extending credit. This type of alert allows the consumer to ensure credit grantors only issue credit when the consumer requests it. It helps to stop others from using your personal information to obtain credit without your consent.
This type of fraud alert is critical for anyone who had credit or identity problems in the past, and for those who believe they have a high risk of being victimized in the future. Those who believe inaccurate information is present on their credit report should file a complaint with the credit reporting agency directly. This fraud alert will only warn credit grantors to verify your identity before granting credit by contacting you.
How Do I Add a Fraud Alert to My Credit Report?
There are three different methods for putting a fraud alert on your credit file.
Initial Security Alert
The first step is to obtain an Initial Security Alert. The consumer is able to request this at any time. Consumers who believe their personal information has been compromised or could be used in a fraudulent manner can obtain this type of alert. The Initial Security Alert remains on your credit file for up to 90 days. To add this type of alert, contact each of the credit bureaus and request it. You can do so online at:
In most cases, you do not have to go through additional verification of data to receive this fraud alert.
Extended Fraud Victim Alert
In situations where there is a greater risk of fraudulent activity, the use of the Extended Fraud Victim Alert may be necessary. This alert remains on a credit file for up to seven years. In order to obtain it, you must contact each of the credit bureaus directly and request it. You will need to submit a copy of a valid identity theft report from your local, state or federal law enforcement agency verifying the existence of fraudulent activity. This type of alert warns potential credit grantors of the fraudulent activity that has already occurred and directs those organizations to take additional steps before granting credit to you.
Active Duty Alert
An Active Duty Alert is an alert added to the credit file of an active duty military member. You may add this fraud alert yourself if you qualify. This protects your credit while you are overseas or otherwise unable to protect your report. This type of fraud alert will remain on your credit file for up to one year. It alerts potential lenders that you are unlikely to be requesting credit at this time.
Determining Your Need
When you ask, how do I add a fraud alert to my credit report, it indicates that you are concerned about your identity or credit information. If this is the case, consider obtaining credit monitoring services and working with law enforcement and each of the credit bureaus to verify the information contained on your file. Check your report frequently, and check your child's report, to ensure no fraudulent data appears and report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.