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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Catching Fraud: The Importance of a Layered Defense

Nov 27

Catching Fraud The Importance of a Layered Defense

It is usually suggested that the following actions be taken when identity theft has been committed.  File an identity theft police report, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, contact all creditors, and place a 90 day fraud alert on all three credit bureau reports.  Most of these steps are necessary to resolve a fraud issue or to possibly prevent future fraud.

However, one woman did follow these steps after having her identity stolen and she felt confident the fraud would not happen again.  She was so sure her problems were over because she had placed the 90 day fraud alert with all three credit bureaus.  To her surprise, she did become a fraud victim once the 90 alert had expired.  What had happened is the same suspect who committed the original fraud was smart enough to realize she had placed the alerts and estimated when they would be removed.  This is how aggressive and smart fraudsters are becoming.

The drawback with placing the fraud alert is that it’s only effective for 90 days and once the 90 days is up, it is no longer reflected on your credit reports. Additionally, with the extra alert security features in place, it could make it difficult to open new lines of credit. Let’s face it, with the clever tactics identity thieves are using these days, fraud alerts are not a surefire way to safeguard against identity theft. 

Lesson Learned: If this ever happens to you and you place the 90 day fraud alert with all three credit bureaus, it’s also a good idea to monitor your identity and credit with a product like  Not only will your credit reports be monitored 24 hours a day, the product scans the Internet to help you make sure no one is using your Social Security number, bank accounts, credit and debit card numbers without your knowledge. This type of layered defense is a smart way to safeguard against original or repeat fraud.

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