“My Account Just Got Hacked! What Do I Do?”
If you are asking this question, let me say I understand what you are going through. I have experienced it myself in the past and have helped many clients address the situation, when they experienced it. It won’t be fun, but things can be fixed.
The first thing to consider is taking steps to limit the opportunity for it to happen again, by adding a fraud alert or credit freeze to your credit report. I have gathered the bulk of this information directly from the FTC Consumer Information site for you. Here is some information about fraud alerts and credit freezes.
Fraud Alerts: There are three types of fraud alerts that you can place on your credit report to put your creditors on notice that you may be a victim of fraud: an initial alert, an extended alert and a Active Duty Military Alert. For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, this fraud alert lasts for one year.
Why Place an Initial Fraud Alert
An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit.
Three national credit reporting companies keep records of your credit history. If someone has misused your personal or financial information, call 1 of the companies and ask for an initial fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert is free. You must provide proof of your identity. The company you call must tell the other companies about your alert.
Because a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, when you have a fraud alert in place, it may try to contact you. So be sure the credit reporting companies have your current contact information so they can get in touch with you.
The initial alert stays on your report for at least 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days. It allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies.
How to Place an Initial Fraud Alert
Ask 1 of the 3 credit reporting companies to put a fraud alert on your credit report. They must tell the other 2 companies. Confirm with them they will be contacting the other two companies. An initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. The alert lasts 90 days but you can renew it for 90 day increments.
Extended Fraud Alert
An Extended fraud alert may be placed on your credit report if you have already been a victim of identity theft, with the appropriate documentary proof, which usually includes a police report. An extended fraud alert stays on your credit report for seven years.
If you’re concerned about identity theft, those reported mega-data breaches, or someone gaining access to your credit report without your permission, you might consider placing a credit freeze on your report.
Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your file, they may not extend the credit.
After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
A credit freeze does not affect your credit score, or keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. But if you’re doing any of these, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. The cost of adding a credit freeze is generally in the $5-$10 range, and the cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it’s best to check with the credit reporting company in advance.
A credit freeze will not prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts, if they can get access to them. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
So What is the difference between a fraud alert and a credit freeze?
A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity. Neither one is perfect, but they are great tools for helping protect your credit.
Contact Information for the Credit Reporting Companies
There is much more to consider, and if it seems to be complicated or time consuming, you can get help from professionals. A reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. You will reach your credit goals much faster and safer with the help of a professional, and you will have loan ready credit.
Call me for a free consultation to see if you need our help and how we might be able to help, if it is needed. Paul – 319-533-5236.
If you are a lender or realtor that has a client you might have to turn away due to credit problems, then let me see if Heartland Credit Restoration can help change that client into a approved client with loan ready credit.
You should never have to say “NO” to a client. We can help change those into a “YES”.
Call me for a free consultation. Paul – 319-533-5236.
Don’t forget to let me know what you think. I always welcome comments. And please do me a favor and share this with your contacts on social media. You will be surprised how many people welcome the information.
I’m looking forward to helping you.
Until then, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!