Experian Alerts

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David A. Szwak

Experian Alerts

Postby David A. Szwak » Thu Nov 17, 2005 8:41 pm

Technical
http://www.experian.com/compliance/factact/technical/index.html

Alerts
Consumer fraud statement text

Experian clients and vendors must code for the additional consumer fraud statement messages to comply with the FCRA.
Statement type 06 now indicates the presence of the Extended Fraud Victim Alert.
Clients must be able to accept the additional seven (7) new messages, numbers 26 to 31, by Oct. 15, 2004.

The following consumer fraud statements will appear in the following locations:
TTY reports: in the Consumer Statement Band
ARF version 6 & 7: in the 365 segment
ARF version 8: in the 3600 segment

Statement type Consumer Statement Text

06
Extended Fraud Victim Alert: (with phone number) ID Fraud Victim Alert: Fraudulent applications may be submitted in my name or my identity may have been used without my consent to fraudulently obtain goods or services. Do not extend credit without first contacting me personally and verifying all application information at DAY XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX or Evening XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX. This victim alert will be maintained for seven years beginning MM-DD-YY.

26
Initial Security Alert: (without phone number) ID Security Alert: Fraudulent applications may be submitted in my name or my identity may have been used without my consent to fraudulently obtain goods or services. Do not extend credit without first verifying the identity of the applicant. This Security Alert will be maintained for 90 days beginning MM-DD-YY.

27
Initial Security Alert: (with phone number) ID Security Alert: Fraudulent applications may be submitted in my name or my identity may have been used without my consent to fraudulently obtain goods or services. Do not extend credit without first verifying the identity of the applicant. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX. This Security Alert will be maintained for 90 days beginning MM-DD-YY.

28
Credit Reporting Agency Alert CRA Alert: Experian has learned that information about this consumer may have been obtained without authorization, which may result in fraud. Further authentication of this consumer is recommended. This alert will be maintained on file for 180 days beginning MM-DD-YY.

29
Active Duty Alert: (with phone number) Active Duty Alert: I am currently on active military duty. Do not extend credit without first verifying the identity of the applicant. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX. This alert will be maintained on file for 1 year beginning MM-DD-YY.

30
Extended Fraud Victim Alert/ Active Duty Alert: (with phone number) ID Fraud Victim Alert: Fraudulent applications may be submitted in my name or my identity may have been used without my consent to fraudulently obtain goods or services. Do not extend credit without first contacting me personally and verifying all application information at 'DAY XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX' or 'Evening XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX'. This victim alert will be maintained for seven years beginning MM-DD-YY.

Active Duty Alert: I am currently on active military duty. Do not extend credit without first verifying the identity of the applicant. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX. This alert will be maintained on file for 1 year beginning MM-DD-YY.

31
Initial Security Alert/ Active Duty Alert: Initial Security Alert/ Active Duty Alert: (with phone number) ID Security Alert/ Active Duty Alert: Fraudulent applications may be submitted in my name or my identity may have been used without my consent to fraudulently obtain goods or services. I am currently on active military duty, do not extend credit without first verifying the identity of the applicant. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXXEXTXXXXX. This alert will be maintained on file for 1 year beginning MM-DD-YY.

David A. Szwak

Postby David A. Szwak » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:28 pm

Fraud alerts won't stop use of existing account numbers


Dear Max,
Somehow someone got one of our credit card numbers and used it to purchase airline tickets. We have canceled the credit card number, etc. I called Experian to add a fraud alert, which the automated message assures me will be forwarded to the other two credit reporting firms. I requested the fraud alert based on my Social Security number. Do I also need to request another alert based on my wife's Social Security number?

- JMO

Dear JMO,
Actually, the alert isn't applied to your Social Security number. Instead, the alert is added to your credit history using all of your identifying information. An alert isn't automatically added to your wife's credit report because marriage doesn't link your credit histories. Instead, everyone has his or her own, individual credit history. If you feel your wife needs the alert, you would request it specifically for her.


Experian automatically shares the alerts with the other national credit reporting agencies. The initial security alert you requested is temporary. Upon reviewing your report you will be able to verify if any other fraud has occurred and decide whether to take the steps necessary to add a permanent victim statement.


To add a victim statement, you will need to provide a police report or other valid identity theft report and identity verification documents. Your credit report will include contact information to answer any questions and to obtain instructions for adding the victim statement.


I personally had a similar experience, so can understand how you feel. However, it's quite likely that neither you nor your wife need initial security alerts or victim statements added to your credit reports. Adding the statement will not prevent the type of credit fraud you describe.


Most likely the criminal stole just one account number, not your entire identity, and used it only to purchase the airline tickets. Your credit report is not involved when your card is used for purchases, so a fraud alert would not stop this particular crime. Fraud alerts and victim statements can only help when someone steals your identity to open new accounts, requiring the lender to check your credit history as part of the application process.


On the brighter side, in cases like yours, the problem is usually solved when you cancel the card and the credit card provider removes the charges. The exception would be if the thief has access to more than one of your account numbers, by stealing your wallet or purse, for example.


They wouldn't get account numbers from your personal credit report because Experian truncates the numbers to protect you when the report is delivered, either by mail or online.


Typically, an account number thief is someone who has processed a transaction for you, such as a waiter or cashier, which is what happened to me.


You might find having a temporary alert on both your report and your wife's will give you some peace of mind until you've checked your credit histories, but I wouldn't recommend adding a victim statement.


Thanks for asking.

[[ask maxine sweet]]

David A. Szwak

Postby David A. Szwak » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:37 pm

The unforeseen consequences of adding a fraud alert when you are not a victim


Dear Max,
I put a security/fraud alert on as a preemptive measure and have had nothing but difficulty since. I have a credit score over 750 yet have twice been denied credit. The credit card company said it could only process my application if I knew the month and year I added the alert, yet I can't reach a live operator at Experian. How do I unlock this thing or find out that date info? I feel paralyzed by my own doing.

- GLE

Dear GLE,

Fraud alerts are not intended to be preemptive tools for the reasons you describe. In order to protect you and them, lenders are required to take additional steps to verify your identity before granting credit. That sounds pretty innocuous, but it isn't.


Credit card companies usually employ automated application review processes. As a result, there may be no way to conduct a manual review, which is necessary when a fraud alert is present. Therefore, your application may simply be declined because it cannot be processed.


In your instance, it sounds like the application was reviewed, and the lender needs more information from you about the alert. In order to get your credit report, you will need to request it in writing. That is because by adding the statement you claimed to be a fraud victim. As a result, Experian needs to verify in writing and with copies of appropriate documentation that you, and not an identity thief, are asking for the information.


Mailing documentation back and forth is necessary to protect victims. However, it will dramatically slow the lender's application process, or stop it completely. Such delays can have serious implications. For instance, inability to replace a broken cell phone can be a major frustration. Similarly, slowing a mortgage application to verify your identity because of a fraud alert could result in a higher interest rate. That can cost thousands of dollars over the term of the loan.


When you are truly a victim, such delays and inconveniences are acceptable to the alternative of further fraud. True victims also tend to be better informed about the implications of such alerts before adding them and do so with an understanding of the problems the alerts may create.


Non-victims, such as yourself, often add the alerts without being fully informed about the consequences. Today there are far better tools to alert you to potential fraud without falsely claiming to be a victim.


The most obvious is that you can get your credit reports free once every 12 months. If you have no reason to believe you might be a victim, that may be sufficient. If you are extremely concerned about fraud, as you seem to be, a credit monitoring service is a better alternative. With a service, such as Credit Expert, you will get immediate notice when something new is added to your credit history, including a simple inquiry. Neither option will have any impact on your ability to get credit.


You will need to submit your request to remove the alert in writing along with copies of identifying documents. Again, Experian needs to verify you are making the request, not an identity thief who wants access to your credit report.


Thanks for asking.



[[ask Maxine Sweet]]

David A. Szwak

Postby David A. Szwak » Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:46 pm

http://www.experian.com/ask_max/fraud_identity_theft.html

Fraud and identity theft

Experian adds fraud alert and fraud victim statements to the credit histories of people who have reason to believe or who know they are fraud victims. The statements tell lenders to take extra precautions when considering an application because there is a risk that fraud is being perpetrated. A fraud victim statement asks the lender to call you at a telephone number you specify before granting credit in your name.
The fraud alert and fraud victim statements are to be used only be people who are or truly believe they may be fraud victims. The statements tell lenders that there is significant risk in approving an application in the person's name, so they become much more stringent. In fact, they often won't approve the application at all, particularly preapproved offers or applications for instant credit.

Some lenders today even automatically freeze your existing accounts for a period of time as soon as they see the fraud alert statement. Their intent is to prevent an identity thief from making charges on your accounts. That means you can't charge anything either.

For true fraud victims, not being able to get credit is a significant but bearable inconvenience. For those who aren't truly victims, not being able to get the credit you need is more than just an inconvenience.

If you have reason to believe you may be a fraud or identity theft victim, you can have a security alert added to your credit history by calling 1 888 397 3742 and selecting the fraud option. A report will be sent to you. If upon reviewing the report you find evidence of fraud or identity theft, you can have a victim statement added by calling the telephone number on the report and asking a representative for assistance.

[[ASK MAXINE SWEET]]


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