Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

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Topic Author
OU812?
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:35 pm

Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by OU812? » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm

I have a well documented identity theft case (without known damages to this point) that I reported to all the right people including the FTC. Then I selected Equifax to file an Extended Fraud Alert with (really just because their form was the easiest to find and fill out). I mailed it in with the required documentation and never heard back. I mailed it again along with a letter and they replied a couple of weeks letter saying they couldn't find a credit report account for me (nonsense).

So I filed a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and shortly thereafter Equifax miraculously found a file on me, but they only opened a 1-year fraud alert and CFPB closed the case. So I opened another CFPB case, and Equifax replied that the consumer dispute had been resolved, using the same canned language in their mailing to me that they use when a consumer files a credit reporting dispute with information in their credit report.

I know there have been past threads on the forum in which folks have opined that fraud alerts are useless. That may or may not be true (yes I already have freezes at all 3 bureaus). But the fact is the FCRA requires the bureaus to set an extended fraud alert for 7-years when identity theft is documented. I'm inclined to seek a remedy with statutory damages by hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit against Equifax for willful violation of the FCRA, but I'd appreciate opinions. Should I first (or instead) write another letter to Equifax (no one will read it)? Try to call and speak with a human (unlikely to be successful)? File an Extended Fraud Alert request with Transunion or Experian? None of the above?

I don't think opening yet another case with CFPB will be useful, as I now believe no one actually reads them and Equifax could send a response that says "Mary had a little lamb" and CFPB's algorithm would close the case. I thought I was a fan of CFPB, having used them in the past with good results. But I now see that YMMV and the result depends mostly on the entity you're complaining about....

rich126
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by rich126 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:49 pm

Good luck. Credit companies are a pain to deal with. They clearly aren't there to serve the individual but instead to serve companies.

When it comes to credit stuff it is best to initiate a credit freeze although that can cause issues at times.

afan
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by afan » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:44 pm

Filing the fraud alert with the other two bureaus would be easy and cheap. Filing a lawsuit would be time consuming and would cost you a lot more than a postage stamp unless you could find a lawyer who would take it on contingency.
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gwe67
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by gwe67 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:54 pm

I wish you well. Equifax should be sued out of business, shut down, liquidated, shot at dawn....
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Katietsu
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by Katietsu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:59 pm

What is your goal? Is it a matter of principle and being annoyed at the incompetence of Equifax? Do you have extra time to pursue this? If your goal is just to get the extended alert put in place, I would just try with TransUnion or Experian. Then, come back and let us know how they did.

Topic Author
OU812?
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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:35 pm

Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by OU812? » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:39 pm

The primary objective is to get the extended fraud alert in place, though I would be less than honest if I didn't express my disgust for Equifax and their indifferent incompetence. You're probably right about the path of least resistance being to mail a request to Transunion so that Equifax has no choice but to set the extended alert....

afan
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by afan » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:51 am

On the other hand, you could keep filing CFPB complaints. Does not cost you anything and they MIGHT notice that Equifax is claiming something is resolved when it is not.
On the same lines, you could try contacting your Congressional representative. The federal bureaus have to respond when congressional staffers reach out. All this might accomplish nothing but it may satisfy your need to tell someone that Equifax is not following the law.
Equifax should be sued out of business, shut down, liquidated, shot at dawn....
Buried, dug up, shot again, then cremated and the ashes buried.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

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unclescrooge
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:05 pm

OU812? wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:39 pm
The primary objective is to get the extended fraud alert in place, though I would be less than honest if I didn't express my disgust for Equifax and their indifferent incompetence. You're probably right about the path of least resistance being to mail a request to Transunion so that Equifax has no choice but to set the extended alert....
Why can't you just freeze your credit until you need it?

Dealing with financial institutions is a pain. I had a cashier's check that was stolen, and fraudulently cashed. It took multiple visits to bank of America, several calls to both back of America and wells Fargo, 2 complaints to CFPB and 100 days before I was made whole.

afan
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by afan » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:30 am

I assume OU froze credit reports and wants ALSO to include a fraud alert.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

Topic Author
OU812?
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by OU812? » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:59 am

Yes, I stated in the OP that all three bureaus had credit freezes in place)....

mrc
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by mrc » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:06 pm

OU812? wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:59 am
Yes, I stated in the OP that all three bureaus had credit freezes in place)....
Isn't a fraud alert redundant with a credit freeze in place?
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Topic Author
OU812?
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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:35 pm

Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by OU812? » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:33 pm

That question has been discussed quite a bit on the forum, and most folks seem to feel it's pointless. The extended fraud alert does give you extra free credit reports, and also credit scores, but honestly I already get the credit scores from a couple of credit card issuers. In my mind it's just another red flag that calls attention to an identity that a lender or merchant really should be careful about doing business with, which is what I want. Whether lenders actually pay attention and comply with the law is another matter I suppose....

JonnyB
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Re: Cannot Initiate Extended Fraud Alert

Post by JonnyB » Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:00 pm

afan wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:51 am
Equifax should be sued out of business, shut down, liquidated, shot at dawn....
Buried, dug up, shot again, then cremated and the ashes buried.
Guess who the Social Security Administration chose as their "Identity Services Provider"?

You cannot create a Social Security account without going through Equifax to verify your identity. If Equifax has incorrect data, you are screwed and cannot create a Social Security account.

I went through this helping my mother. It turns out that Equifax somehow had an incorrect digit in my mother's SSN -- just Equifax, not the other credit agencies so it was their error alone.

It took months to correct. They required mailed physical documents to correct an error they created -- copy of social security card, drivers license etc. After several months it still had not been fixed so I called and they said they couldn't read the drivers license. I had sent them a perfectly legible copy of the drivers license but they claimed they couldn't read it. Turns out that they scanned the document at low resolution black and white and then immediately shredded the original -- and never let me know about the issue. Said there was nothing they could do about it. Meanwhile my mother is locked out of a Social Security account because of an error they created.

So, yes, this is a company that should not exist, be burned to the ground. They have great power over your lives but assume absolutely no responsibility for their own errors and make no effort to correct them.

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