Business identity thieves often use the identity information (and credit) of the business owner or company officers to open new accounts, or as guarantors of fraudulent loans and lines of credit. In addition to taking actions to protect your business, it is also important to protect yourself as well. This section provides detailed explanations of seven important consumer credit protection tools that are available to help protect your personal credit from identity thieves.
The articles below explain what these tools are, how they work, and how to use them to help protect your personal credit.
Under an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you have the right to obtain a free copy of your personal credit report once every 12 months from each of the national credit reporting agencies.
About Business Identity Theft
If you have reason to suspect that you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, or may become a victim, you can place a free initial fraud alert on your credit file for 90 days in to alert prospective credit grantors and attempt to keep thieves from opening new credit accounts in your name.
The Active Duty Alert is a special fraud alert established under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) that is intended to provide protections for military service personnel who are called to active duty or deployed away from their normal duty station.
If you are a confirmed victim of identity theft, you can request that an extended fraud alert be placed on your credit file for a period of 7 years.
A security freeze (also commonly referred to as a credit freeze) can be a powerful tool to thwart credit-related identity theft. Once in place, it prevents potential creditors, insurers, and others with whom you do not have an existing account or business relationship from obtaining or accessing your personal credit file.
If you are a confirmed victim of fraud or identity theft, in addition to a fraud alert, you can also include a fraud victim statement, up to 100 words, in your personal credit file to alert potential credit grantors that something is wrong.
Credit monitoring services can potentially offer you some early notification of certain types of fraudulent credit-related activity. However, these services do have significant limitations which you should also be aware of before enrolling.