#9 – CONSIDER AN EXTENDED FRAUD ALERT OR SECURITY FREEZE
An extended alert is exactly like the initial 90-day fraud alert, though it stays in place for seven years. To place an extended alert on your credit reports, the credit bureaus will require some documentation proving that you are a victim of identity theft. A copy of the Identity Theft Complaint you made through the FTC and a copy of your police report will most likely suffice.
You can also place a security freeze on your credit reports, which disallows anyone access to your credit file without your consent. Without access to your file, lenders and creditors will not open accounts in your name. Contact each bureau separately to place the credit freezes.
During a security freeze, your creditors cannot report any changes to your name, address, date of birth, or Social Security number. This further protects you from identity thieves attempting to edit your personal information.
A security freeze will most likely slow down the process when you apply for a new credit card or loan, but that may be worth the peace of mind knowing that an identity thief won’t be able to open up an account in your name.
Placing a security freeze is free if you can prove to the bureaus that you are a victim of identity theft by providing appropriate documentation. If you can’t pull together the proof that the bureaus request, you can still place a security freeze on your report for a small fee.
You can temporarily lift a security freeze if necessary. You can choose either a global lift (which lets any creditor to pull your file who has a legal right to do so) or a specific third party lift (in which you allow a single institution access to your credit report). A lift can last between one and 30 days.
You can remove security freezes and extended alerts through written request to the bureaus.