Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

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OnTrack
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Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by OnTrack » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:03 pm

Today I tried to place an initial fraud alert on the Equifax web site. I filled out the form and at the end it asked me to enter a code (I think to verify that I'm not a robot), however there was no code visible. So the I tried to do it by phone and I got a message saying that the system to place a fraud alert was down.

CZjc1330
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by CZjc1330 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:20 pm

Hi I just set security freezes for my wife with all three companies via the internet. In my case there was a large pre-selected number on the Equifax page which I entered. It worked.. Keep trying.

wolf359
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by wolf359 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm

Fraud alert is different than a freeze. A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name. You do not have to be a victim of fraud to initiate an initial fraud alert; you can do so as a pre-emptive measure, regardless of whether or not your identity has been stolen. An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days (active duty military members have the option of a one-year application). If you are a victim of ID theft and have filed an identity theft report, you can extend the fraud report for up to seven years.

I'd recommend doing the freeze -- it lasts longer, and is more effective.

If you want the fraud alert and can't contact Equifax, do it at Experian and/or TransUnion. They will share the report with each other. (Freezes have to be done individually at each.) Link to a news site: http://www.kctv5.com/story/36408695/cre ... raud-alert

Rupert
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by Rupert » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm

wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.

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flamesabers
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by flamesabers » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm
wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.
If lenders/creditors do ignore your fraud alert, submit a complaint to the FTC.

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by neilpilot » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:20 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:15 pm
Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm
wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.
If lenders/creditors do ignore your fraud alert, submit a complaint to the FTC.
Your complaint may make you feel good, but will still not prevent fraud or make you whole. That's what a freeze can do.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:25 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:20 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:15 pm
Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm
wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.
If lenders/creditors do ignore your fraud alert, submit a complaint to the FTC.
Your complaint may make you feel good, but will still not prevent fraud or make you whole. That's what a freeze can do.
I agree that a freeze is the way to go - but reading the FTC site it does state a business "MUST" validate your identity (I doubt the FTC site is wrong). Sure sounds like a "requirement" I suppose anyone could ignore this requirement - its not clear to me what the penalty would be if they do.

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flamesabers
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by flamesabers » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:30 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:20 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:15 pm
Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm
wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.
If lenders/creditors do ignore your fraud alert, submit a complaint to the FTC.
Your complaint may make you feel good, but will still not prevent fraud or make you whole. That's what a freeze can do.
I didn't say a complaint to the FTC would prevent fraud. I said it in response to the possibility that lenders/creditors don't adhere to one's fraud alert.

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by neilpilot » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:54 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:30 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:20 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:15 pm
Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm
wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.
If lenders/creditors do ignore your fraud alert, submit a complaint to the FTC.
Your complaint may make you feel good, but will still not prevent fraud or make you whole. That's what a freeze can do.
I didn't say a complaint to the FTC would prevent fraud. I said it in response to the possibility that lenders/creditors don't adhere to one's fraud alert.
I know. But I'm saying that a Fraud Alert does very little to actually secure your information, whereas a freeze MAY actually help. While the FTC site says a CRA "MUST" validate your identity, their validation can be as simple as asking for your SS#, address and DOB. That should be easy for a criminal who has access to your Equifax data.

Rupert
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by Rupert » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:24 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:30 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:20 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:15 pm
Rupert wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:42 pm
wolf359 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:31 pm
A fraud alert requires that any lenders or creditors take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
A fraud alert doesn't "require" lenders or creditors to do anything. It just alerts them to the possibility that you've been the victim of identity theft. They can completely ignore the alert, and they often do.
If lenders/creditors do ignore your fraud alert, submit a complaint to the FTC.
Your complaint may make you feel good, but will still not prevent fraud or make you whole. That's what a freeze can do.
I didn't say a complaint to the FTC would prevent fraud. I said it in response to the possibility that lenders/creditors don't adhere to one's fraud alert.
The horse is out of the barn at that point, and the actual statute says that creditors need only take reasonable steps (or implement reasonable procedures -- something to that effect) to verify a person's identity. What does that mean? To stick with the farm analogy, it's a loophole the size of the broad side of a barn. My personal experience as an actual victim of identity theft is that nothing happens to the creditor.

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flamesabers
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by flamesabers » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:50 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:54 pm
I know. But I'm saying that a Fraud Alert does very little to actually secure your information, whereas a freeze MAY actually help. While the FTC site says a CRA "MUST" validate your identity, their validation can be as simple as asking for your SS#, address and DOB. That should be easy for a criminal who has access to your Equifax data.
My understanding is part of the fraud alert process to validate your identity is being required to send in documentation that proves you are who you say you are. Otherwise a fraud alert is completely pointless as identity thieves probably already know your SS#, address and DOB. The same can be said for unfreezing your credit report. The security of a freeze would be practically useless if all it took to unfreeze your credit report was a thief calling a credit bureau and saying something like "Can you unfreeze my credit report? I forget my PIN but I can give you my SS#, address and DOB."

retire57
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by retire57 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:00 pm

I was able to do that successfully yesterday afternoon, though I went through annualcreditreport.com

That portal establishes the 90-day alert for the 3 bureaus. (Or longer if you want to pay a fee).

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by neilpilot » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:30 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:50 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:54 pm
I know. But I'm saying that a Fraud Alert does very little to actually secure your information, whereas a freeze MAY actually help. While the FTC site says a CRA "MUST" validate your identity, their validation can be as simple as asking for your SS#, address and DOB. That should be easy for a criminal who has access to your Equifax data.
My understanding is part of the fraud alert process to validate your identity is being required to send in documentation that proves you are who you say you are. Otherwise a fraud alert is completely pointless as identity thieves probably already know your SS#, address and DOB. The same can be said for unfreezing your credit report. The security of a freeze would be practically useless if all it took to unfreeze your credit report was a thief calling a credit bureau and saying something like "Can you unfreeze my credit report? I forget my PIN but I can give you my SS#, address and DOB."
I assume you meant to type "The security of a freeze fraud alert would be practically useless". I do think the security of a fraud alert is just about useless.

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flamesabers
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by flamesabers » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:00 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:30 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:50 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:54 pm
I know. But I'm saying that a Fraud Alert does very little to actually secure your information, whereas a freeze MAY actually help. While the FTC site says a CRA "MUST" validate your identity, their validation can be as simple as asking for your SS#, address and DOB. That should be easy for a criminal who has access to your Equifax data.
My understanding is part of the fraud alert process to validate your identity is being required to send in documentation that proves you are who you say you are. Otherwise a fraud alert is completely pointless as identity thieves probably already know your SS#, address and DOB. The same can be said for unfreezing your credit report. The security of a freeze would be practically useless if all it took to unfreeze your credit report was a thief calling a credit bureau and saying something like "Can you unfreeze my credit report? I forget my PIN but I can give you my SS#, address and DOB."
I assume you meant to type "The security of a freeze fraud alert would be practically useless". I do think the security of a fraud alert is just about useless.
That wasn't a typo. The security of a fraud alert and credit freeze can be undermined if the involved agencies fail to execute reasonable security measures.

Consider this hypothetical example: one of the hackers steals your personal information from the Equifax leak. He quickly finds out your credit report is frozen with the three credit bureaus, so he calls them to unfreeze your credit report. Of course he doesn't know your PIN, so he fabricates a story of how he misplaced the PIN and he really needs to unfreeze his credit report ASAP. He gives them a long list of your personal information to convince the telephone rep that he's really you and it's okay to unfreeze your credit report. The telephone rep complies. With your credit report unfrozen (even if with just one credit bureau), the thief can do whatever damage imaginable to your credit report.

The intent of this hypothetical example is to illustrate an exploitable security flaw with credit freezes.
retire57 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:00 pm
I was able to do that successfully yesterday afternoon, though I went through annualcreditreport.com

That portal establishes the 90-day alert for the 3 bureaus. (Or longer if you want to pay a fee).
There's a fee for fraud alerts? I don't think there was a fee for fraud alerts, however, to get the extended fraud alert you have to provide evidence you've been the victim of identity thief.

neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by neilpilot » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:09 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:00 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:30 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:50 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:54 pm
I know. But I'm saying that a Fraud Alert does very little to actually secure your information, whereas a freeze MAY actually help. While the FTC site says a CRA "MUST" validate your identity, their validation can be as simple as asking for your SS#, address and DOB. That should be easy for a criminal who has access to your Equifax data.
My understanding is part of the fraud alert process to validate your identity is being required to send in documentation that proves you are who you say you are. Otherwise a fraud alert is completely pointless as identity thieves probably already know your SS#, address and DOB. The same can be said for unfreezing your credit report. The security of a freeze would be practically useless if all it took to unfreeze your credit report was a thief calling a credit bureau and saying something like "Can you unfreeze my credit report? I forget my PIN but I can give you my SS#, address and DOB."
I assume you meant to type "The security of a freeze fraud alert would be practically useless". I do think the security of a fraud alert is just about useless.
That wasn't a typo. The security of a fraud alert and credit freeze can be undermined if the involved agencies fail to execute reasonable security measures.

Consider this hypothetical example: one of the hackers steals your personal information from the Equifax leak. He quickly finds out your credit report is frozen with the three credit bureaus, so he calls them to unfreeze your credit report. Of course he doesn't know your PIN, so he fabricates a story of how he misplaced the PIN and he really needs to unfreeze his credit report ASAP. He gives them a long list of your personal information to convince the telephone rep that he's really you and it's okay to unfreeze your credit report. The telephone rep complies. With your credit report unfrozen (even if with just one credit bureau), the thief can do whatever damage imaginable to your credit report.

The intent of this hypothetical example is to illustrate an exploitable security flaw with credit freezes.
retire57 wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:00 pm
I was able to do that successfully yesterday afternoon, though I went through annualcreditreport.com

That portal establishes the 90-day alert for the 3 bureaus. (Or longer if you want to pay a fee).
There's a fee for fraud alerts? I don't think there was a fee for fraud alerts, however, to get the extended fraud alert you have to provide evidence you've been the victim of identity thief.
First, sorry for the lengthy copy above, but I wasn't sure where to cut.

OK, I do see your point. In fact someone just posted in another thread here that ChexSystems lifted their new freeze over the phone without a PIN. Edit - it was the bank that decided to IGNORE the freeze.

I accept that a freeze is far from perfect. However, in practice based both on the stories I've read and a brief personal experience with a Fraud Alert I placed in 2016, I think that the Fraud Alert is so flawed as to be effectively useless. While a freeze can also fail (as in my ChexSystems' example) it has a much better chance of succeeding.

In the end, I did place a Fraud Alter with Equifax a few weeks back when their systems were hopelessly overloaded, but that was simply a stopgap measure until I could place my Freeze (which is now in place).

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flamesabers
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Re: Can't place fraud alert at Equifax

Post by flamesabers » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:21 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:09 pm
First, sorry for the lengthy copy above, but I wasn't sure where to cut.

OK, I do see your point. In fact someone just posted in another thread here that ChexSystems lifted their new freeze over the phone without a PIN. Edit - it was the bank that decided to IGNORE the freeze.

I accept that a freeze is far from perfect. However, in practice based both on the stories I've read and a brief personal experience with a Fraud Alert I placed in 2016, I think that the Fraud Alert is so flawed as to be effectively useless. While a freeze can also fail (as in my ChexSystems' example) it has a much better chance of succeeding.

In the end, I did place a Fraud Alter with Equifax a few weeks back when their systems were hopelessly overloaded, but that was simply a stopgap measure until I could place my Freeze (which is now in place).
If banks can do that with Chexsystems, could they do the same with the credit bureaus? :confused

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