A fraud alert is a statement on a credit bureau report to help consumers who may have been a victim of identity theft.
- A fraud alert is intended to stop an identity thief from using your personal information to open fraudulent credit accounts in your name.
- When a creditor or business reviews a credit report in which a fraud alert has been placed, they verify the applicant’s identity and may contact you. Make sure your contact information is current on your credit report.
An initial fraud alert, which covers 90 days, is appropriate if your wallet has been stolen or if you suspect your identity has been or will be compromised.
- You will be entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus.
An extended fraud alert, which lasts seven years, is for a consumer who knows that he or she is a victim of identity theft.
- You will be required to provide the credit bureau with a copy of an identity theft report, such as a police report, and appropriate proof of your identity.
- You will be entitled to two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the credit bureaus.
- The consumer reporting companies will remove your name from marketing lists for prescreened credit offers for five years unless you ask to add your name back.
Any person, whether victim of identity theft or not, may place a security freeze to prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your authorization.
It is intended to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent.
Using a security freeze may delay or prevent prompt approval of subsequent applications regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, government service or payment, rental housing, employment, investment, license, phone, utilities, digital signature, internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit.
When you place a security freeze, you will be given a personal identification number or password.
To remove the security freeze or authorize the release of your credit report, contact the credit bureau and provide:
- Personal identification number or password
- Proper identification to verify your identity
- Time period for which the credit report shall be available
The national credit bureau must authorize the release of your credit report for a period of time within 15 minutes or as soon as practical if good cause exists for the delay and must remove a security freeze no later than three business days after receiving all of the above items by any method the consumer reporting agency allows.
A security freeze does not stop all access to your credit report. Companies with which you have an existing account or collection agencies acting on behalf of such companies may request information from your credit report.
- Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.
- You have the right to bring a civil action against anyone including a national credit bureau that willfully or negligently fails to comply with any requirement of the Arkansas Consumer Report Security Freeze Act.
A credit bureau can charge you up to $5 to place, temporarily lift or remove a security freeze.
- However, you should not be charged if you are 65 or older or if you are a victim of identity theft and have submitted, in conjunction with the security freeze, a copy of a valid investigative or incident report.