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Identity theft can cause tremendous financial damage. If you’re a victim of identity theft or even if you just think you might be, act quickly to protect yourself.
Place a fraud alert free of charge by contacting any of the three major credit-reporting agencies as soon as you believe your identity and information have been compromised.
Simply tell the credit agency representative that you’re a victim of identity theft – or suspect you could be soon - and that you need to put a fraud alert on your credit file.
Make sure to give the reporting agency your current phone number and email address so they can reach you, if necessary.
The agency you contact to place a fraud alert is required to tell the others to set up alerts as well, but it’s smart to request this specifically to ensure the additional alerts are activated.
A fraud alert makes it harder for criminals to open new credit in your name because a business will have to verify your identity before a new account is opened. The alert is in effect for 90 days, during which time you can receive free credit reports from each reporting agency so you can check for irregularities and financial red flags.
Use these reports to look for any unexpected credit applications in your name, or problems with bills, payments or personal information. Quickly report any problem you might notice so action can be taken.
After 90 days, you can extend the fraud alert, but you’ll need to file an official identity theft report will with the police or a federal agency, as well.
But it’s important to take the first step to protect yourself quickly. Place a fraud alert immediately. It’s easy and free, and the protection it provides is priceless.
Access more tips and information from UCBI about protecting your identity and finances.