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Fraud Alerts Don’t Work

One of the first things you’ll be told to do after a data breach or an instance of ID theft is to put a fraud alert on your credit reports. Learn what that actually does and why it’s almost always a waste of your time.

This page is part of my Goodbye Identity Theft course and is restricted to members.
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Goodbye Identity Theft

It turns out that awareness is the most powerful defense. So far, you’ve likely been given incomplete or bad advice for how to respond to ID Theft risks, but that changes today. In my “Goodbye Identity Thert” course, I will give you the bottom-line basics you need to understand the problem with special focus on what tools and techniques you can use to prevent and block ID Theft. Most importantly, I teach you what you need to make informed decisions. What defenses actually work and which are just snake oil pitched by ID Theft profiteers.

This page is part of my Goodbye Identity Theft course and is restricted to members.
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TJX/TJ Maxx Data Breach Hits Home

No security, no accountability. TJ Maxx
(Image is in the Public Domain)

So today my wife received a letter from our bank saying that her card was included in the data breach. They were very pleasant and helpful (as credit unions tend to be), but one thing caught my attention:

If at any time you suspect you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft, you may place a fraud alert on your credit file with one of the three major credit-reporting [companies]. A fraud alert will require any company or creditor to contact you to authorize any new accounts or loans.

For the record, fraud alerts are required, but can be ignored. The problem is that it's the issuing company's responsibility to check for the fraud alert and act accordingly. Since it hurts their business to do so, it's far more likely that they will "miss" the flag (especially when they're on commission). That means that it may help and it may not.

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