How to Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report

by Hank

My wife recently called me while I was at work and told me that she had lost her military identification card (ID card).  Besides the risk of people using the lost card to impersonate a Soldier’s family member, the more important issues that upset me was that my entire social security number is printed on the back of the card.  (Do not get me started on how unfair it is that it is my number on her card.)


I was really worried because my wife and I are applying for our first mortgage this winter.  So, I went onto TransUnion’s website and initiated a fraud alert.  A fraud alert will protect your credit report and credit score if you think that you have been the victim of identity theft or if there is a very real likelihood that you might have been exposed to a lost social security number like in my case.  Any lender who requests your credit report will then be informed of the alert, and they are supposed to contact you again to verify that you are the actual loan applicant.  The alert will stay on your credit bureau report for ninety (90) days or longer if you can submit a police report to the credit bureau.  Also, which ever credit bureau you alert will automatically let the other two, Equifax and Experian, know which will take an extra load off of your shoulders. 


If you are especially worried about identity theft, you can put a more restrictive credit freeze on your social security number and credit report or use a service such as Life Lock is a company that provides a service that prevents your identity from being stolen before it happens.  


The U.S. government has started to take notice of the potential danger facing its Servicemembers in situations like mine.  Starting this fall, the government will begin phasing out the use of full social security numbers on the back of military ID cards and start using only the last four digits of the number.


On a personal note (so I do not get yelled at): Right after I placed the fraud alert on my credit report, my wife found her purse and ID card.  Our two little boys tag teamed her and hid the purse earlier in the day….for safekeeping I’m sure.

{ 1 comment }

Matt September 10, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Thanks for writing about this. I just read another article on how being in the military makes you more suseptible to being a victim of ID Theft. There’s some great advice in that article over at too.

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