Credit fraud is one of the most difficult crimes to prevent because it can take months to detect. If you want to stop criminals in their tracks, you need to take proactive fraud prevention measures. Monitoring your credit is one of the best ways to catch credit fraud before a great deal of damage has been done.
While it's difficult to prevent fraud, you can significantly reduce the chances of it happening again. Placing a security alert on your credit report lets potential lenders know you've been the victim of fraud. Before granting credit to a consumer, creditors must verify the identity of new customers.
Adding a victim statement to your credit report is another way to deter criminals from opening new accounts in your name. This statement stays on your record for seven years, and it requires potential creditors to call you directly before granting credit in your name.
If you've been the victim of credit fraud, the Fair Credit Reporting Act states that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. It's important to review your credit report carefully. You'll need to make a list of all the creditors and lines of credit that have been affected by fraudulent activity. Many credit monitoring services will send you e-mail alerts when changes to your credit file occur. These alerts inform you any time new accounts are opened, addresses are changed, late payments are noted, and bankruptcies are reported to credit card companies.