Credit Reports and Identity Theft

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I recently received the following inquiry from a reader:

I know you can get free credit reports, but I’ve already done that in the last 12 months. I’m pretty sure someone has opened credit cards in my name and I want to reorder, any ideas on where to get credit reports cheaply?

This is a great question, and something that I’ve written a bit about in the past. If it were me, the first thing that I would do would be to place a fraud alert on my credit report. This should stop (or at least hamper) and further fraudulent activity.

In addition, placing a fraud alert entitles you to a free hard copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus within a few days. This will allow you to check for fraudulent activity.

If your credit report confirms your suspicions, then you should (at the very least) extend your alert by placing a seven year “victim statement” on your report. If you want to do one better, you could freeze your credit record, which stops all credit-related activity in its tracks. Beyond that, I’d recommending filing a complaint with the FTC and then contacting your local police.

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